I have never been a big fan of travel insurance, but I always buy them for international travel.  Buying travel insurance is not as daunting as it sounds. I thought it might be helpful to step through how I shop for travel insurance, with an example of how much it cost for an upcoming trip.

1. Where Can I find travel insurance?

Note: I have no affiliate relationships with any of the companies listed below.

You can buy travel insurance from reputable sources, such as Amex’s Travel Insurance.  I tend to use a consolidator website called insuremytrip.com for comparison shopping. I only buy travel insurance when I travel out of the country.  Read on to find out why.

2.  What Coverage Do I Look For?

The coverage you get depends on your personal needs.  Personally, I don’t particularly care for flight delays or lost luggage coverage because they are mostly covered by travel credit cards.

When it comes to hotels, cancellation is a non-issue because I always book the most flexible rate.

Flight expenses, on the other hand, are less flexible.  If you book your flights with miles, you also have to deal with the caveat that most policies provide limited coverage for the reinstatement of miles.  Whereas some of the major airlines would charge you upwards of $150 to get your miles reinstated (for example, American Airlines), the reinstatement of miles coverage is often capped.  I’ve seen policies with ridiculously low coverage cap at $50 or $100, so it’s important to understand that travel insurance won’t cover everything.

My Focus: Medical Coverage

I purchase travel insurance primarily for the medical coverage; this is the reason why I only buy insurance when traveling abroad.  When traveling domestically, my health insurance provides the necessary coverage.  When traveling internationally, I’d rather have primary medical coverage so I don’t have to deal with medical bills or complicated paperwork.

3.  How Much Does It Cost?

With an upcoming trip to Europe, I opted for a comprehensive travel insurance coverage through IMG travel insurance.

Name of Benefit Maximum Benefit Per Insured
1. Trip Interruption Up to 150% of Trip cost insured
2. Travel Delay $1,000.00
3. Missed Connection $500.00
4. Baggage/Personal Effects $2,500.00
5. Baggage Delay $500.00
6. Accident & Sickness Medical Expense $500,000.00
7. Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation $1,000,000.00
8. Common Carrier AD&D $100,000.00


The insurance premium varies by individual, typically based on age.

  • For a maximum trip cancellation coverage of $500, the per person individual policy costs $28.
  • For the older travelers (over 60) in the group, the individual premium jumps to $51.

Travel insurance is a sunk cost and I hope I never have to make use of it.  Still, sometimes things just don’t go the way you intend, and having the right insurance helps to provide some protection.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a very small price to pay for a peace of mind.