Travel insurance is designed to provide financial protection for unexpected events that impact a traveler’s trip. Popular benefits on a travel insurance policy include coverage for trip expenses, medical emergencies, and luggage. There are three different types of travel insurance policies: single trip, annual, and group.
Single Trip Travel Insurance Policies
Single trip travel insurance covers travelers for one trip, starting when they leave home and ending when they return. A single trip policy can cover up to 10 travelers on international or domestic trips.
Travelers who are concerned about having to cancel their trip should consider a single trip policy with Trip Cancellation coverage. This benefit reimburses insured trip expenses if a traveler is unable to travel for one of the policy’s covered reasons. Travelers must insure all or some of their trip cost to be eligible for this benefit.
Most cancellation-style policies are comprehensive, covering travelers for their trip payments, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage. This type of single trip policy typically costs between 4% and 10% of a traveler’s trip cost, depending on their age, the length of their trip, and their total trip cost.
Travelers who are not concerned about cancelling do not need to insure a trip cost, and can buy a non-cancellation style policy to cover medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage. Because there is no insured trip cost, these policies are typically less expensive.
Annual Travel Insurance Policies
Annual policies are designed to cover travelers taking multiple short trips throughout a year. Travelers select a specific start date for an annual policy, which should be the departure date for their first trip. An annual policy will last one year from that date.
Annual policies typically limit how long one trip can last, and may have limits for how many trips can be taken throughout the year. The Maximum Trip Length ranges from 30-365 days, depending on the policy.
The coverage offered on an annual policy usually differs from a single trip policy. Most annual policies provide Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits, but typically do not include Trip Cancellation coverage.
Group Travel Insurance Policies
While a single trip policy can cover up to 10 travelers, group travel insurance allows parties of 10 or more travelers to purchase one policy for their trip. Group policies offer benefits similar to single trip policies, including coverage for cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage.
Purchasing a group travel insurance policy can be a more convenient option for organized groups traveling together. Because group policy premiums are not based on age, they can be less expensive per traveler.
If you are traveling to Europe and are not a citizen of the United States or a European country, you may need to obtain a visa known as a Schengen visa.
In order to obtain the Schengen visa, travelers are typically required to have medical coverage for their entire stay in the Schengen territory. For those who do not have medical coverage elsewhere, a travel insurance policy with $50,000 of Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits typically satisfies requirements.
Policy information is delivered immediately by email in a format recognized by all consulates and visa issuers.
Travel Insurance and the Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement was made to abolish border controls between European countries to allow travel between those countries as long as a Schengen visa is obtained.
The Schengen Countries are:
As long as the necessary controls have been completed upon first entering one of the Schengen countries, you will need only one visa. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, if you are not staying longer than 90 days, the Schengen visa is your best choice.
From the Directive of the European Council:
“Applicants must show that they are in possession of adequate and valid individual or group travel insurance to cover any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment.
The insurance must be valid throughout the territory of the Member States applying in full the provisions of the Schengen acquis and cover the entire period of the person’s stay.”