Travel Insurance

by Melania Mitchel
Travel Insurance

Do I Need International Travel Insurance?

Before traveling to your New England destination, you should seriously consider purchasing travel insurance. While it’s not difficult to find world-class health care resources in the United States, a trip to a specialist–even if you do have insurance–can cost thousands of dollars.

If you are an international visitor and traveling with a tourist visa, you are not legally required to have travel insurance. However, those who enter the US with J1, F1 and H1 visas are required to have US health insurance coverage. You can find some helpful information about international health insurance on the insuranceqna site. Purchasing a supplemental policy such as travel health insurance may be a good option if you’ll be engaged in semi-dangerous activities during your trip (skiing, bicycling, etc.) and prefer to pay an up-front fee for insurance rather than risk paying a much higher medical bill after an accident. For reference, when I broke my shoulder several years ago while mountain biking in Wyoming, the medical costs were almost $10,000 even after my health insurance coverage was applied and my deductible was met.

Our Recommendations

For traveling families, we recommend the Travelex Travel Select policy as the best international travel insurance plan. The reason? If you purchase the Select policy, anyone under 18 is covered on your policy at no additional cost. Even if you have a large family–no problem. You might also want to check out the Allianz OneTrip Premier plan. We compare these plans with others below.

Child at hospital

Some other policies, like John Hancock or IMG, assess extra fees for every person included on the policy–regardless of age. After comparing the fees assessed by most travel insurance companies, $50 per child is pretty average. In addition to the primary policy benefits, Travelex throws in several upgrades or customized options. Planning on rafting down a class 5 river or hauling down a mountain side with a downhill bike? Travelex offers an adventure sports package that fits your planned level of risk. Perhaps most impressive is the company’s “cancel for any reason” upgrade that covers 75% of your total trip costs (as long as you purchase your policy within 21 days of the initial trip deposit). I should note that this is where we also recommend using a credit card like the Chase Platinum Reserve card since it comes with a generous trip cancellation benefit and up to $2,500 medical or dental coverage.

Travelex Limitations

While the Travelex offers sufficient coverage for most trips, it has some weaknesses. The Travel Select plan (which we recommend) tops out at $50,000 for medical care and $500,000 for emergency medical evacuation. In comparison, IMG covers up to $500,000 in medical expenses and $1 million for emergency evacuation. The point? If you’re planning on taking a relatively high risk vacation, you may want to consider a different policy.

Other Plans

Comparison of International Travel Insurance Plans

Travelex Select
John Hancock
Ideal for
For groups or families
For people traveling alone
For people taking a risky trip
For frequent travelers
Recommended plan
Travel Select
Bronze, Silver, or Gold
iTravelInsured LX
OneTrip Premier
A.M. Best financial strength rating
Max trip length
364 days
90 days
90 days
365 days
24/7 worldwide assistance
Free coverage for kids under 18
Optional “cancel for any reason” coverage
Adventure sports coverage
Optional “pre-existing condition waiver”
Review period
15 days
14 days
10 days
10 days

If you’re taking a relatively risk-free vacation — like beach lounging or city touring — then Travelex’s lower limits shouldn’t be an issue. More adventurous travelers will prefer a company with higher medical coverage, like IMG or John Hancock. You can also check out VisitorsCoverage for some additional options. If you’re renting an Airbnb home, you should also review Airbnb’s insurance plan to verify you’re covered as a host or guest.

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