5 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance

Like most tour operators, we require travel insurance in order to join our trips. Guests will often ask why, with questions like, Do I have to? How much does it cost? Is my credit card insurance enough? What is the difference between travel insurance and trip insurance? What if I don’t get insurance?

To unveil the mysteries of all things travel insurance, we brought in our partners Wanderwell, who not only provide a variety of travel insurance options (along with excellent service!) but are also a B-Corp Certified provider and member of 1% for the Planet. Here are their answers to the most common questions we receive.

1. Why should I buy travel insurance?

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One thing that's certain about travel is its unpredictability. The numbers of Americans traveling abroad for leisure, business, study, gap year, and missionary work are climbing every year. Along with common medical issues that can easily appear in a foreign country, the rise of recent epidemics, natural disasters, and security threats give travelers plenty of good reasons to assure their health and safety are fully insured prior to embarking on a trip. Some countries are now requiring visitors to show proof of travel insurance prior to entering. Many travel providers, like Traverse, require traveling customers to purchase and maintain a qualified travel insurance policy for the duration of the trip. 

Whether you miss a flight, lose your luggage, have an injury abroad, or need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to a family emergency, travel insurance can be invaluable.

For short-term travel, there are two types of coverage: Trip Protection and Travel Medical-only. There are a few key questions to answer to help you find the appropriate type of travel insurance for your trip and which type of coverage is most appropriate for your needs.

2. What’s the difference between Trip Protection and Travel Medical-only coverage?

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Trip Protection: Trip protection is designed for short-term travel less than 90 consecutive days and combines protection of your trip with medical insurance. Benefits can cover a variety of incidents, such as travel delays, lost luggage, trip cancellation or interruption due to illness, injury, or death as well as for unforeseen inclement weather and terror events. Also included are benefits for non-emergency and emergency medical expenses, as well as emergency medical evacuation.

The sooner you purchase a Trip Protection plan, the more likely it will cover pre-existing conditions. Generally, if you purchase a trip protection plan within 13 days from the day you make your initial trip payment of any kind, the plan will include coverage for pre-existing conditions.

It is incredibly valuable to have a trip protection plan that includes travel medical coverage with options for direct payment to, and access to a global provider network of doctors, hospitals, and clinics.

The price of Trip Protection depends on the traveler’s age, length of travel, destination region, and cost of the trip. I’ve seen plans from around $85-$150.

Travel Medical-only: Sometimes, travelers wish to purchase Travel Medical-only plans, which can have lower costs than trip protection plans, but they but cover just that – medical only. Traverse requires a minimum $200,000 medical coverage. This includes injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation. It is incredibly valuable to have travel medical coverage with options for direct payment to and access to a global provider network of doctors, hospitals, and clinics. The most cost-effective travel medical plans are often those with a $0 deductible. This lowers your overall exposure and can streamline the claims process. These plans range from as low as $15 to $50+.

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We’ve seen many flight delays, lost luggage, and missed connections over the years and have found that Trip Protection is worth the extra spend to insure the investment of my trip.

3. Doesn't my medical insurance in the USA already cover me?

Despite what you may think, most domestic medical insurance in the United States is limited to zero coverage overseas. If your domestic medical insurance does cover claims for care received abroad, it is likely limited to emergencies only and subject to your deductible. Travel insurance covers the many gaps often associated with depending on your U.S. domestic medical coverage abroad.

4. Won't the credit card that I use pay for the trip or the travel supplier reimburse me, if something goes wrong?

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Not all credit cards cover trip cancellation or trip interruption, and even those that do often exclude cancellation and interruption due to pre-existing conditions. In such coverage, medical coverage is often excluded or limited.

Also, coverage purchased at the end of a booking process (through the airline, hotel, etc.) isn't as comprehensive for trip cancellation, and it typically isn't available for ancillary or upgraded benefits, such as coverage if the supplier falls into bankruptcy or for Collision Damage Waivers.

5. To recap, what are the top 5 reasons to have travel insurance?

1.      You become ill or injured on your trip.


2.      Flight delays and missed connections or your baggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen, delayed, or damaged.

3.      Your passport is lost or stolen.

4.      You need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to:

  • illness, injury, or death to the traveler, a traveling companion, &/or a family member not traveling

  • unforeseen inclement weather and terror events, and carrier default.

  • any reason at all (generally requires an upgrade and covers only ~75% rather than 100%).

5.      You require an emergency medical evacuation from one facility to the nearest adequate facility or you need emergency assistance services and 24/7 Global Medical Assistance.

Need travel insurance?

We partner with Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider who can offer both Travel Medical and Trip Protection coverage. If you choose to purchase through Wanderwell, you can buy the trip protection directly from our Traverse Journeys partner page by clicking here, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to WeForest through 1% For the Planet to aid with carbon offset for your trip. With Wanderwell, the TripProtector Classic and TripProtector Preferred plans meet our minimum requirements for coverage.