What is the best travel insurance?

I think we have all been there. It is late at night. We have been researching flights and hotel for the vacations we intend to have in 6 or 9 months time. We are excited. The price is just right – actually a real offer and we are about to press the “BOOK NOW” button. Clearly the offer is non-refundable. Ultimately – it is a real offer.

However, in that very moment, all the negative thoughts cross our mind…a little voice starts whispering in our ears:

What if, in 6 months from now I cannot make the trip anymore because I cannot take days off from work? What if the kids get sick? What if aliens will invade our planet and I cannot got for my dream destination any more???

Little Voice

Clearly, we all wish nothing is going to happen to prevent us from taking the wonderful trip we have planned but – as we all know – life could be quite unpredictable at times. So the real question is how can you avoid being hit twice in case life decides to plays tricks on you? How can you at least not loose money if you cannot go for the vacation anymore?

Buying a travel insurance policy is definitively what can help you protecting your wallet in case something goes wrong and you cannot go for your trip anymore.

I am sure you have confronted yourself with the dilemma about whether or not booking a travel insurance policy, what insurance policy to buy and if this is really convenient.

In this article we will give you our view on:

If you want to immediately discover Random Odyssey suggestion on travel insurance please click here.

Majority of travel websites (Expedia, etc) and also airline companies offer the option to buy a travel insurance for the trip you are booking with them ranging between 70€ to 150€ if you book a flight + hotel trip or flight only. Basically, the best seller insurance product at the time in which you are booking your trip is a cancellation insurance policy.

This policy ensures you can recover almost 95%+ of the amount you paid when booking the trip in case you cannot travel anymore.

The typical cancellation reasons that are covered by these insurances are normally:

  • Sickness – if you and or any of the people travelling with you on that trip get sick before departure.
  • Loss of job – in case you loose your job you can claim your insurance policy for the trip you are no longer able to undertake.
  • Death of relative – if you are cancelling the trip because one of your relatives suddenly and unfortunately passes away close to the travel date.

In some cases, although this might cost you more than the amounts mentioned above, you can also buy insurance coverage for:

  • loss of baggage during the trip
  • medical insurance while abroad or on the trip
  • cancellation during the trip due to sickness – i.e. you go somewhere and then you are unfortunately forced to go back home ahead of time because you are not feeling well. So instead of enjoying your two weeks vacation you have to cut it short to one.

This single trip travel insurance is a product I ended up buying quite often, regardless if the travel was planned with or without kids, and I must admit that it ended up saving my life (well…my wallet) in more than one occasion.

However, given that we started travelling more and more often (i.e. 20+ booking per year), I started thinking about buying a travel insurance for the whole family to cover all the trips and bookings during the year because buying insurance for every trip was resulting in a quite consistent out of pocket.

Genarally speaking, it is not convenient to buy travel insurance individually for each trip if you make more than 5 or 6 bookings per year and want them to be insured.

In fact, it does not take a scientist to calculate that you end up spending more than 700€ for insurance if you have more than 5 booking and you ensure them all during the year. Sometimes, I also had twice the cost because if you book flight and hotel with different websites/providers, you have to buy two different kind of insurances.

As such we definitively recommend to booking an annual travel insurance for the family for a full peace of mind.

If buying an annual travel insurance could be the right choice, the next question is – what is the travel insurance to buy?

The below table outlines the costs and some of the key covers’ conditions of some of the insurance annual covers for a family of 4 in Italy (sourced by www.facile.it).

We do not recommend buying any of the typical annual insurance covers because there is a disproportion between the premium paid and the covers provided. I found that the 1500/2000€ cover per person was too low and did not allow me to cover for some of the very expensive trip we undertake at times.

In addition the limitations and exclusions are also very significant at times and make the product not very attractive.

If you want to read about our recommended product – please click here.

We clearly recommend to check the websites of insurance companies at the time in which you intend to really subscribe one. Conditions are constantly changing. We also advise you to carefully read the terms and conditions associated to all insurance contracts to make sure you are fully aware of restrictions and more detailed conditions.

Random Odyssey Recommends

After careful evaluation of all the above options I ended up with subscribing an American Express Platinum credit card.

This is definitively the choice we recommend to get a very comprehensive travel insurance pack (on top of getting a widely accepted and secure credit card to accompany you in your travels).

While this might sound as a “very poshy” choice. However, I will now demonstrate why i went for it:

  • The credit card cost is 700 € per year (for cards issued in Italy). Its cost is very competitive if compared against the other insurance premiums quoted above.
  • The cancellation cover is € 6.000 per person per trip.
  • Travel interruption cover is € 6.000 per person per trip.
  • Baggage cover € 3.000 per person per trip.
  • The medical expenses covered are up to € 1.000.000.

The above covers apply to the entire family.

In addition, the insurance policy within the Platinum American Express includes also insurance covers when you hire a car for rent in case of accidents to the car itself or the car is stolen. This allows you to save on the extra insurance you normally subscribe each time you pick up a rent-a-car.

What I also liked a lot about this solution of insurance is that it offers many benefit for travellers always included in the yearly cost of € 700:

  • Premiere Lounge Pass – This is the free pass to all the airport lounges in all the key airports in the world (I still have not found an airport where i could not access a lounge with this card). The pass also applies to your spouse/partner and you can take the kids in with a minimum charge.
  • SPG rewards GOLD – This is the gold level for the SPG hotel chain which allows you to get upgrades and gratuities when you stay at SPG hotels (Sheraton, Marriott, etc).
  • Hilton Honors Gold – This is the gold level for the Hilton hotel chain which allows you to get upgrades and gratuities when you stay at Hilton hotels.
  • Radisson Rewards Gold – This is the gold level for the Radisson hotel chain which allows you to get upgrades and gratuities when you stay at Radisson hotels.
  • Golden Circle Shangri La – This is the gold level for the Radisson hotel chain which allows you to get upgrades and gratuities when you stay at Radisson hotels.
  • Gold / Premium level for both Avis and Hertz rent-a-car.

On top of the above, you also take the advantages of having an American Express Card which can also be offered to your spouse / partener and also the kids if above 18 years of age.

All in all, apart from my top line summary in this article blog, if you compare the terms and conditions of American Express Insurance covers and the others I also mentioned in this article you can really see how much more convenient and competitive is Amex compared to traditional other insurance companies.

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