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How to choose a travel insurance plan

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There are many reasons to consider buying travel insurance, especially if you're planning to travel abroad. Getty Images

The last thing you want to worry about when planning a much-needed vacation is something going wrong. But the unfortunate reality is that things may not always go as planned.

That's why it's important to have a backup plan — or travel insurance at the very least. By having a travel insurance policy, you're ensuring that you stay protected from losing most (if not all) of the money you invested in your trip. For example, if there's an issue with your air travel, car rental or a pricey tour booked in advance. 

You simply have to keep track of your receipts and related paperwork to file a claim to be reimbursed by the insurance provider (just make sure you carefully read the full list of covered reasons if there's a cancellation). 

If you're looking to protect your vacation and your wallet, get travel insurance for your next trip!

3 things to look for when choosing travel insurance

After spending weeks (if not months) of research on the vacation of your dreams, you're probably not thrilled to think about spending additional time scanning insurance policies. 

However, there are many reasons to consider buying travel insurance, especially if you're planning to travel abroad. So, as you peruse policies online, here are some things to look out for.

  1. The cost
  2. Types of coverage
  3. The reputation

The cost

Given the current state of the economy with stubborn inflation, chances are you're going to want to look for the most cost-effective and comprehensive plan. 

Travel insurance is typically a small percentage of your total trip costs – around 4% to 8%, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association. However, those percentages could fluctuate depending on the specific details of your trip (if it includes pricey tours, amenities, etc.).

The best way to find these types of plans is by using an online marketplace like Squaremouth to compare multiple providers and policies at once. Simply head to Squaremouth's site, insert your travel information (dates, destination, etc.), and with the click of a button you can view dozens of options. Get started now!

You can sort prices from low to high if you have a specific number in mind.

Comprehensive travel insurance is typically a popular pick, covering a variety of situations such as trip cancellation, interruption and more. "Popular benefits on a policy include coverage for trip expenses, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage," travel insurance company Squaremouth says.

Types of coverage

Again, most travelers will probably opt for comprehensive coverage to cover a variety of potential issues from emergencies or unexpected occurrences. But there are instances where you should boost your coverage. Just remember to factor in the additional cost of add-ons or upgrades if you deem them necessary.

For example, if you're traveling abroad, the U.S. advises you to consider getting travel health insurance and medical evacuation insurance in the event of an emergency since Medicare and Medicaid likely won't cover your medical bills in a different country. Coverage for pre-existing conditions also isn't usually included in comprehensive travel insurance policies.

"Even if a country has nationalized health care, it may not cover people who are not citizens. Before you go, consider your insurance options in case you need care while traveling," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests.

If you're a frequent traveler, it may also make more sense to buy an annual travel insurance plan, which includes one year of medical coverage. It may be more affordable instead of buying separate insurance policies for each trip throughout the year. However, it's not for everyone, so make sure you do your research and crunch the numbers before deciding.

"Annual travel insurance policies are ideal for travelers who are planning to take multiple trips throughout a 12-month period and need basic travel insurance benefits. Most commonly, these policies include Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits. Annual policies provide long-term travel insurance coverage, but are not intended for one year-long trip," Squaremouth adds.

There are numerous types of coverage and benefits, so read the list carefully to determine what you actually need and where you can cut corners.

When surfing online marketplaces like Squaremouth to view the benefits included, make sure you click "Full Policy Detail" to get an accurate account of everything that's included in the price. View the different types of coverage plans available to you right now.

The reputation

Don't press purchase without doing your homework. You'll want to make sure the travel insurance provider has a good reputation from a customer standpoint.

In this case, Google may be your best friend. You can often find links to customer reviews on most travel insurance companies' websites or you can turn to the Better Business Bureau or other verified sources.

The more reviews, the better. It will provide you with a more well-rounded picture of the company's reputation and allow you to sift through other travelers' pros and cons of the travel insurance provider. Plus, you may find some helpful tips along the way.

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