Buying travel insurance has always made sense for those who book prepaid (and often nonrefundable) airfare and hotel stays for trips far from home. However, the pandemic has brought about new considerations when it comes to travel insurance plans, including the need for coverage of testing and treatment related to COVID-19.
If you’re in the market for travel insurance but want to make sure you get coverage for claims related to the pandemic, choose among the best travel protection options for COVID-19 travel insurance. Plans from the following providers include robust coverage options that can help you get reimbursed for your trip costs in any number of ways, whether your trip is delayed or canceled, your luggage is lost or stolen, or you test positive for COVID-19 and have to quarantine during your trip.
What to look for when choosing COVID-19 travel insurance
When comparing the best travel insurance providers and their offerings, you’ll want to make sure you fully understand the COVID-19 coverage included in each plan. For example, you should know the policy inclusions and limits for pandemic-related claims, including coverage for testing, treatments, and trip cancellation or COVID-related interruptions that can occur.
Ensure that your travel insurance coverage will kick in for other mishaps that occur, and that limits are sufficient for your needs. If you’re planning a trip to a remote area, you’ll want to have emergency evacuation and transportation coverage with generous limits that can pay for emergency transportation to a hospital if you need treatment.
5 best options for COVID-19 travel insurance
To find the best travel insurance coverage for COVID-19, U.S. News compared more than 20 providers in terms of their pandemic-related coverage options, factoring in user reviews and ratings from third parties like AM Best. These five travel insurance providers offer the best COVID-19 coverage options on the market today:
As you compare coverage options from these companies, keep in mind that limits, travel protection and availability may vary by state. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of these travel insurance providers, as well as the COVID-19 coverage options they offer.
Best for Travel Medical Insurance: IMG Travel Insurance
- Offers travel medical insurance, international travel health insurance and general travel insurance plans
- Choose among tiered coverage options to suit your needs
- Some plans include robust coverage for testing and quarantine due to COVID-19
- Underwriters received an A- rating for financial strength from AM Best
- Coverages and limits vary by plan, so you’ll have to do your research
- Not all plans from IMG offer coverage for COVID-19
- Cancel for any reason coverage is only available with the LX plan
IMG offers an array of travel insurance coverage options that can help protect you and your trip, including travel medical insurance, international travel health insurance and comprehensive travel insurance plans. You can choose among tiered plans that offer more or less coverage in exchange for commensurate premiums, and some of the provider’s plans are made to cover testing and treatments related to the pandemic.
For example, IMG’s Patriot Platinum Travel Medical Insurance offers COVID-19 coverage for U.S. citizens traveling abroad with brief returns to the U.S., as well as travelers from elsewhere in the world who are visiting the U.S. This short-term travel medical coverage can work for individuals, groups and their dependents; coverage limits for the Patriot Platinum International plan can be as high as $8 million if you opt for a deductible up to $25,000.
With the Patriot Lite plan, on the other hand, you can get up to $1 million in international travel medical coverage with a deductible of $0 to $2,500. Beyond coverage for COVID-19, these Patriot plans also cover emergency evacuation, physician visits, urgent care visits, emergency dental treatments, lost luggage, trip costs and more.
Best for Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Generali Global Assistance
- All plans include coverage for COVID-19
- Choose from three levels of travel insurance
- Plans include trip cancellation and interruption coverage, baggage protection, medical and dental coverage, and more
- Cancel for any reason coverage available as an add-on with some plans
- Free 10-day trial period
- A rating for financial strength from AM Best
- Some coverage limits may be insufficient (e.g. only $200 per person in baggage delay coverage for standard plans)
- Rental car damage coverage only included in top-tier premium plan
Generali Global Assistance offers three levels of travel insurance coverage, all of which include treatment and cancellations or interruptions caused by COVID-19. Shoppers can choose from three tiers of coverage based on their needs: the basic Standard plan, the mid-tier Preferred plan or the deluxe Premium plan with higher coverage limits.
When it comes to coverages that apply to COVID-19 specifically, the Generali plans extend protection for trip cancellations, trip interruptions, travel delays, emergency medical and dental coverage, and emergency assistance and transportation. Travelers also get access to 24/7 emergency assistance services that can help you navigate your best next steps if you test positive for COVID-19 or get sick during your trip.
Best for Multi-trip or Annual Plans: Allianz
- Allianz offers some travel insurance plans that come with an epidemic coverage endorsement
- Single-trip, multi-trip and annual plans available
- Tailor your coverage to your needs
- A+ rating for financial strength from AM Best
- COVID-19 benefits don’t apply to every plan
- Disinclination to travel due to COVID-19 is not covered
- Does not offer cancel for any reason coverage within its online plans
Allianz offers a broad selection of travel insurance plans to suit nearly any type of need, including comprehensive travel insurance, rental car coverage, trip cancellation coverage and more. Travelers can choose from several tiers to get the limits and types of coverage you want; you can opt for a single-trip plan, a multi-trip plan or an annual plan that applies to all eligible trips you take within a year.
Allianz has also created an epidemic coverage endorsement that applies to many of its travel insurance plans, although you’ll have to check which plans qualify based on the state you live in. With the epidemic coverage endorsement, individuals can get coverage for various COVID-related claims including trip cancellations, trip interruptions, travel delays, emergency medical care and emergency transportation.
Just keep in mind that Allianz does not let you add cancel for any reason coverage when you pay for a travel insurance plan online. Allianz also states that its plans do not cover disinclination to travel because you’re afraid of contracting COVID-19 or because a travel advisory has been issued for your destination.
Best for Active Travelers: World Nomads
- Affordable plans available
- Extend your travel insurance plan during your trip
- 24-hour travel assistance services included
- 200 sports and activities covered in every plan
- Underwriters received an A rating or better for financial strength from AM Best
- COVID-19 coverage not included in every plan
- Coverage limits within standard plans may be insufficient
- No cancel for any reason option is offered
World Nomads lets you tailor your travel insurance plan to your needs with the coverages you want the most. With that in mind, its plans include varying levels of coverage for emergency accidents and sickness, trip cancellations and interruptions, travel delays, lost or delayed baggage, rental cars, and even accidental death and dismemberment. Individuals can also benefit from 24-hour travel assistance services that can help you coordinate medical care and other plans if something goes wrong during your trip.
Many plans offered through World Nomads also offer coverage for COVID-19, which can pay for health care and quarantine if you test positive or get sick during your travels. In addition to potential pandemic-related coverage for trip cancellations, interruptions and delays, COVID-19 coverage may also apply to emergency medical situations and medical evacuations. Your benefits will depend on your country of residence and the plan you choose. Be aware, however, that World Nomads’ plans do not cover cancellations due to fear of COVID-19 exposure, nor will you have an option to cancel for any reason.
Note that coverage limits vary based on the plan you choose and where you live, so you’ll need to enter your information for a free quote in order to compare coverage options and limits.
Best Optional Coverage Add-ons: Travelex
- Most plans include coverage for COVID-19
- Optional cancel for any reason coverage is available with Travel Select plan
- Customize your plan with select add-ons
- Underwriter received A++ rating for financial strength from AM Best
- Some coverages require an upgrade, including rental car collision, accidental death and dismemberment, airfare coverage, and more
- Not all add-ons are available with every plan
- Baggage delay coverage requires 12-hour wait
Travelex offers three main travel insurance plans to choose from (Basic, Select and America), each of which has its own list of coverages and unique policy limits. The company’s Travel Select plan offers the most generous amounts of coverage, with kids included in each plan. Other coverages offered with Travel Select insurance from Travelex include trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, missed connections, emergency medical and dental expenses, emergency evacuations and more.
Several Travel Select add-ons can help you customize your travel insurance to your needs, including rental car collision coverage, additional medical coverage, adventure sports coverage and cancel for any reason coverage. The Travel Basic and Travel America plans, however, do not feature all of these additional upgrades, so choose your plan accordingly.
Most plans from Travelex also come with coverage for COVID-19 that applies to trip cancellations, interruptions and delays as well as emergency medical expenses and evacuations. This coverage includes added trip costs for the treatment of your condition and any symptoms, as well as arrangements needed for quarantine ordered by a physician, a country or a municipality. Fear of travel because of COVID-19 is not covered – nor are certain cancellations or travel restrictions caused by the pandemic – so for full protection you may consider the cancel for any reason upgrade, which is only available with the Travel Select plan and allows you to cancel your trip up to 48 hours before you’re scheduled to depart.
COVID-19 travel insurance: Frequently asked questions
The following questions and answers can help you learn more about the best options for COVID-19 travel insurance.
Does insurance cover COVID testing for travel?
Since Jan. 15, 2022, private health insurance companies have been legally required to cover eight over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests per person per month within their plans. You can acquire these directly through your insurance company, or you may be able to purchase them online or in-store and get reimbursed.
However, this policy does not apply to COVID-19 tests that are required to be proctored or administered by a lab for the purpose of travel, including proctored antigen tests from eMed.
Does travel insurance cover COVID quarantine?
As you search for plans that will provide sufficient coverage for your next trip, you’ll find travel insurance that covers COVID-19 quarantine both inside and outside the United States. However, you’ll typically need to have your condition certified by a physician in order for this coverage to apply. Also make sure your travel insurance plan includes coverage for travel claims related to COVID-19 in the first place.
Does travel insurance cover trip cancellation due to COVID-19?
Many travel insurance plans do cover trip cancellation as a result of COVID-19, although the terms vary widely. You typically need to be certified by a physician in order to prove your condition. Disinclination to travel because of the pandemic – such as fear of exposure to COVID-19 – will generally not be covered. This means you will actually have to test positive for coronavirus for benefits to apply; simply not wanting to travel is not a sufficient reason to make a claim. If you want more flexibility because of pandemic-related travel concerns, ensuring you have a cancel for any reason policy may be your best bet, but be sure to check with your chosen travel insurance provider to assess your options.