Travel insurance and travel protection have quickly become relevant concerns as our world faces a global pandemic. We know in these uncertain times that booking a trip might bring some added stress. Understandingly, it’s hard to imagine booking something in advance when everything can change in 2-14 days.

Whether it’s a new travel destination for work or a much needed escape, travel continues to happen across the country with CDC guidelines in place. Although we’re thankful for the viability of travel, the question is: how do we protect our wallets from the unreliability that lingers?

Take a look below to learn the disparities between travel insurance and travel protection – including helpful advice on how to travel safely during this time. 

Travel insurance vs. travel protection

While booking your last trip, you may have noticed the advertisements for “travel protection” or “travel insurance”. But is there a difference between them? Most travel content and agencies use these terms interchangeably, when in fact, there is a big difference — one that every traveler should be aware of. 

Travel insurance 

Travel insurance is an insurance plan that protects travelers from unforeseen circumstances. This includes lost baggage, last-minute trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and most financial losses while traveling. Specifically when you’re traveling internationally, travel insurance is a huge bonus for those who need the care and assistance of a trusted team of travel experts. These experts will help you navigate through any unexpected complications. 

Tips for travel insurance:

  • Just as you would compare auto insurance, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each travel insurance plan available. Choose the plan that best fits your budget and travel itinerary. 
  • Only unforeseeable events will be covered by travel insurance. For example, booking a trip after an impending  hurricane or snowstorm will not call for coverage. 
  • Pre-existing medical conditions come with a list of requirements for coverage. Check out AllianzTravel’s guidelines to give you a better idea: 

Understanding travel insurance is pretty straightforward. It’s similar to other insurance policies that you would add to your umbrella plan. Typically, a pandemic would not fall under the realm of coverage, but many travel insurance agencies, both nationally and internationally, have made adjustments to accommodate travelers during these unprecedented times. 

Trip protection

Trip protection is the less expensive alternative to travel insurance. Although it doesn’t offer as wide a range of coverage, it is available extensively through airline companies, travel agencies, and cruise ship companies. For instance, if you were booking a trip to Barcelona, Spain, additional trip protection will be offered, costing anywhere from 4%-10% of the total trip cost. 

For some, it’s easy to skip through this section when buying a ticket. For others, the extra security is far worth the cost. With trip protection, you are guaranteeing that your losses are covered if you miss a flight or experience a delay. Primarily, trip protection serves as a waiver to ensure the travel entity upholds your commitment to your trip. 

So which coverage is best?

Case in point: travel insurance and travel protection are both useful. The type of coverage you choose should be determined based on the trip you are taking. If you’re planning a big trip out of the country for the first time, you might want to look into a travel insurance policy. Sometimes travel protection is all that’s needed and paying the cost of travel insurance is not worth it. 

It’s also important to note that travelers will assess risk differently. No matter the case, reading the fine print of what coverage you’re purchasing is crucial. It’s not uncommon for trip protection scams to flood the internet or for airline agencies to push a certain type of coverage. 

With the current state of the world, some might agree that travel protection isn’t guaranteed either. The cruise line industry has faced one of the hardest hits during the economic downturn. Therefore, if you’re purchasing a ticket now with travel protection, there’s no certainty that an impending bankruptcy couldn’t take it all away. 

Recommendations for traveling this season

Pretty soon we’ll be heading into another year with COVID-19 concerns still persisting. I think it’s smart for every traveler to consider travel insurance and travel protection, especially now that many companies have attuned their offers to anticipate the heightened uncertainty of travel. 

The matter of the fact is that when you’re planning your next trip during the era of covid-19, it is crucial to understand the liability at stake. Understanding the difference between travel insurance and travel protection will allow all travelers to better protect their trips this year. Most importantly, you can breathe a sigh of relief if unforeseen circumstances do occur. 

Michaella Malone
Hello! My name is Michaella Malone. I am a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in English. I am a freelance writer with varied experience in ghostwriting, blogging, and resume building. I have additional knowledge in creating content for ESL curriculums.

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