Here are the best travel insurance companies

Barbara Goldsmith and her husband are planning a trip of a lifetime to Alaska this year. The couple, both in their 70s, are “healthy and active” — but they’re also worried. What if something goes wrong while they’re away?

“I’m wondering if it would be wise to purchase trip insurance?” she asks. “It’s certainly possible that health, weather, or other situations could pose a problem that would interfere with our plans at that time.”

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance. The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Yes, that’s true.

“If you do recommend travel insurance, are there some companies you’re aware of that are better than others to contact?” she wonders.

That’s a difficult question to answer. As a consumer advocate, I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences with almost every major travel insurance company. And there’s even more going on behind the scenes, since insurance is often underwritten by another company, and sold by yet another. Plus, insurance policies can vary based on where you live and your age.

For that reason, I’ve always been reluctant to say, “Use this company.”

My readers have no such qualms. So when I asked them to name the best travel insurance company, they didn’t hesitate. (And actually, they’ve been doing it for a while, thanks to our Readers’ Choice Awards.)

Based on this year’s results, here are the companies from which you should consider buying a policy:

Allianz Global Assistance
The largest travel insurance company, with more than 25 million customers a year, Allianz promises to help travelers anytime, anywhere. It’s owned by Allianz SE, the world’s largest diversified insurance company. Allianz’ says bigger is better: Thanks to the scale of its parent company, it can offer better insurance at a lower rate. (Disclosure: Allianz sponsored this year’s customer service award.) The company typically works fast on claims and resolves most complaints quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction. Just in case it doesn’t, I publish the name of its customer service executives on my advocacy site.

Amex Assurance
Maybe it’s the American Express name, or maybe it’s the product (I’ve received virtually no complaints about it) that made Amex Assurance a recommended travel insurance company. Amex offers all kinds of protection and insurance policies, and you don’t have to be a cardmember to qualify for coverage. If you run into problems, I always publish the Amex executive contacts on my advocacy site, too.

Generali Global Assistance (formerly CSA Travel Protection)
Although Generali may sound like the new kid on the block, it isn’t. CSA Travel Protection, its predecessor, has long been a recognized name in travel insurance. And Generali’s parent company, The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, has been around since 1963. Generali says its success is “built on the foundation of trust that clients have placed in our ability to provide assistance in the most difficult of circumstances.” Based on the few cases we receive on my consumer advocacy site, and the speed of their resolution, they live up to their promises. (And just in case they don’t, here are Generali’s executive contacts.) Generali also sponsored this year’s customer service award.

Seven Corners
Seven Corners is privately held and headquartered in Carmel, Ind., and a review of my records shows we’ve received fewer than seven complaints about its insurance — ever. There may be a reason for it. This low-key specialty benefit management company specializes in doing business with agencies of the U.S. government, foreign governments and corporations. Their cases tend to get resolved quickly and with a minimum of publicity. Here are the Seven Corners executive contacts, in the unlikely case you’re the exception to the rule.

Travel Guard
If you’ve never heard of Travel Guard, maybe you know AIG, its parent company. Like the other insurance companies on this list, it has a good reputation for delivering insurance coverage to travelers. There are complaints, which are inevitable when you write as many policies as it does, but they’re handled quickly. Here are the Travel Guard executive contacts.

So what’s my advice to Goldsmith and others like her? Although I can’t recommend a travel insurance company, my readers can — and they did in our latest Readers’ Choice Awards. The same formula applies to specific policies. I’ll have more on that in an upcoming story.

10 thoughts on “Here are the best travel insurance companies

  1. Sometimes the decision comes down to the details in the policies offered by each company. For example, some companies will cover all pre-existing conditions if the policy is purchased within 10 or 14 days of booking travel. That coverage can be a major factor in the insurance decision. For example, if a traveler has diabetes and is seriously concerned about a flareup of the symptoms causing a change in plans or requiring medical treatment while on the trip, he or she should find one of the better insurers that offers waiver of pre-existing conditions.

  2. For those who are members of USAA, they have a commercial agreement with Travel Insured International, offering special rates to USAA members. I have found that they pay claims promptly and efficiently and that their rates for USAA members are quite competitive.

    1. I also belong to USAA and have used Travel Insured International before I knew that USAA had an agreement with it. One who is a USAA member and goes through the USAA website to Travel Insured International saves the “fee” that is normally charged for issuing the policy. I can’t remember how much that is; something like $7 or $8 dollars. One does not have to belong to USAA in order to purchase plans from this company. They just have to pay the $7 or $8 fee for the policy issuance. Everything else is the same. The company usually offers three or four levels of its plans; from the most expensive; Cancel for any reason, which is most comprehensive to the next lower level which covers everything, including “pre-existing waiver” (less cancel for any reason) and on down to just a very basic plan. Medical coverage depends on which plan one purchases and with some where it is “secondary”, it can be upgraded to “primary” for an additional charge.
      The key is, as with any policy one is considering, read through the provisions and know what is covered and what is not.
      I have had to claim with them a couple of times over the past 5 years and when I have submitted the required information, it usually takes them less than three weeks to process and pay the claim. I claimed once under the “cancel for any reason” because I did not feel good enough to travel and the claims representative actually called me and asked why I did not claim under the illness provision which could reimburse up to 100% of the claim (how many companies would do that?). It did reimburse me at 75% of the claimed amount for canceling for any reason.
      Yes, I am speaking out about this company as it has always treated me right and because I know that if USAA members who use it were not happy, USAA would pull the agreement with them.
      That said, I am certain there are other travel insurance companies out there that provide excellent service and handle claims quickly and properly; otherwise they would soon fail for the lack of business.

      1. We are USAA members and have purchased many policies over the years with Travel Insured. We have often called PRIOR to purchase to ask specific questions about the differences each policy offers under various scenarios. We have found the CS reps to be knowledgeable, courteous and patient with their explanations. We always note their name and time/date of our call. And we always repeat what we hear. So far. No problems.

  3. We had great service from TravelGaurd when we had a claim. (I’m not affiliated). Once the paperwork was submitted we to reimbursed for hospital co-pay, extra hotel and flight costs due to illness on vacation.

  4. Travel Insured is also an excellent company and has the highest medical and emergency evacuation coverage of any of the companies I’ve seen.

  5. I recently learned there is a significant limitation in “pre-existing” conditions coverage. What is well publicized is that you need to be able to travel on the day you purchase the insurance for a pre-existing condition to be covered. What is much less well known is that you must also be medically stable (or, as some companies put it, any deterioration in your pre-existing condition must be unexpected). Bottom line: Many people with pre-existing conditions are de facto uninsurable. (For those people, many domestic Road Scholar trips are good choices, because the cancellation fees are much less draconian than with most other outfitters.)

  6. I typically purchase trip insurance from Allianz, primarily because it is recommended by the airlines I use. I have had to make only one claim, and I was completely satisfied with the service and speed of the response provided by Allianz.

  7. In addition to standard travel ins. everyone should get MedJet Assist. It provide s excellent evacuation coverage for a very reasonable fee on an annual basis (one use per 12 months) or shorter periods and family rates. They have a domestic and global plans.It does not have to be a strict medical emergency either. Say for example, you are looking at period of rehab or recovery far from home and can’t travel by car or commercial air. MedJet will fly you to a facility in your hometown area. I know, I used it once. They also have a good AARP discount rate

  8. I have been using Travelex for the past 7 years and never have had a problem. AND I have had problems, like a fractured humerus in Brussels and a fractured femur in Japan. I once investigated Travel Guard when I was going from Tucson to Chicago and on to Montreal a few days later. Being on Medicare I did not need coverage in the states. Travel Guard makes you insure yourself from the day you leave home until you return home. If you don’t need it is the states, why pay more for it?

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