What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

travel insurance cover

Travel insurance can offer a range of benefits depending on the specific policy you choose. Some travel insurances are designed for certain travel activities while others are a more well rounded coverage for travel.

Here are some common types of coverage:


  • Trip cancellation or interruption: If you need to cancel your trip entirely or return home early due to a covered reason (like illness, injury, bad weather, or a natural disaster), travel insurance can reimburse you for prepaid trip costs like flights, hotels, and tours.
  • Baggage delay or loss: If your baggage or luggage is lost, stolen, or delayed, travel insurance can help reimburse you for the contents or provide funds for essential items you need to purchase while waiting for your bags.
  • Flight delay: If your flight is delayed for a certain amount of time (usually 4-6 hours), some plans will reimburse you for reasonable expenses like meals or unexpected transportation.
  • Medical expenses: Travel insurance can help cover medical bills if you get sick or injured during your trip. This can be especially important if you’re traveling internationally where medical care can be expensive.
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation: In a serious medical emergency, travel insurance can cover the costs of transporting you to a medical facility with better care, This could involve an air ambulance or medical flight back to your home country (repatriation) if medically necessary.

What is Typically Not Covered in Travel Insurance?

While travel insurance offers peace of mind, it’s important to understand what it typically doesn’t cover:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: Most travel insurance won’t cover medical expenses related to pre-existing conditions unless you purchase a specific add-on for it.
  • Activities with high risk: Travel insurance might exclude coverage for injuries sustained during risky activities like extreme sports or self-inflicted injuries.
  • Travel advisories: Most policies won’t cover travel to areas with official warnings against travel. Always check the latest travel advisories from your government’s foreign affairs department before you go, and be aware that travel insurance might not provide coverage in those areas.
  • Certain events: Your travel insurance might not cover trip disruptions caused by events like civil unrest, natural disasters (earthquakes), pandemics, or acts of terrorism. Be sure to review your policy wording to see what types of events are excluded.
  • Cancellation for any reason: Basic travel insurance plans typically require a specific covered reason for trip cancellation. Some plans offer broader “cancel for any reason” coverage, but it usually comes at an additional cost.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if travel insurance is right for you:

  • Trip cost: For expensive trips with prepaid components like flights and tours, travel insurance can provide valuable protection.
  • Destination: If you’re traveling to a region with a higher risk of medical emergencies, natural disasters, or political unrest, travel insurance might be wise.
  • Peace of mind: Even for less expensive trips, travel insurance can offer peace of mind knowing you’re covered if something unexpected happens.
  • Your health: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, consider your situation and if additional coverage is needed.

How Does Travel Insurance Coverage Work in a Real-life Example?

Scenario 1: Medical Emergency and Repatriation (Asia)

Imagine you’re on a motorbike adventure through Vietnam and have an accident, fracturing your leg.  Thankfully, your travel insurance includes medical expense coverage.  You’re rushed to a local hospital for treatment.  While Vietnamese medical care can be affordable in some cases, it can also vary in quality, especially in remote areas.

Here, your travel insurance reimburses you for the covered medical expenses incurred during your treatment in Vietnam.  However, due to the severity of your fracture, doctors recommend you be airlifted to a hospital in Singapore for specialized orthopedic care.  This is where the medical evacuation and repatriation benefit kicks in.  Your travel insurance covers the cost of the medical flight to Singapore, ensuring you receive the best possible care at a facility with more advanced medical capabilities.


Scenario 2: Trip Cancellation Due to Political Unrest (Europe)

You’ve planned a dream trip to Paris, France. Unfortunately, social unrest and protests erupt in the city, leading to travel advisories against non-essential travel.  Concerned about your safety, you decide to cancel your trip.  Disappointed but wise, you file a claim with your travel insurance.  Since trip cancellation due to political unrest is often a covered reason (check your specific policy), your travel insurance reimburses you for the prepaid costs of your flight, hotel, and any other covered trip components you can’t use due to the cancellation.


Travel insurance offers different benefits depending on your chosen policy. Some are tailored for specific travel activities, while others provide comprehensive coverage for all aspects of your trip. Having travel insurance provides peace of mind when traveling, making it a valuable asset to have.

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