My family in the US will be taking a vacation to western Europe later this year, and I'm looking for travel insurance. I found this comparison tool and used it to get quotes, and I got about 50 results that are all pretty similar.

Beyond differences in the actual listed coverages (cancellation reasons, limits on medical costs, etc), what should I be looking for in policies or vendors that would distinguish one from another? Is travel insurance a commodity industry (just pick one)? Are some companies more reputable than others (and how should I determine that)? Is there particular fine print I should be wary of that some policies will include and others not? I've never bought individual travel insurance before, only gotten it as part of a tour package.

We plan to do "usual tourist things" (no extreme sports and the like) and will not be driving.

  • Check the excess and the exclusions. It's not uncommon for the exclusions on loss/theft of property to include everything that could possibly be worth more than about $100, and for them to demand receipts for claiming anything else (which of course nobody has). What really matters is the medical insurance - here in the UK you'd be treated of course, but you'd be charged for it. nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/uk-visitors/visiting-england/…
    – A E
    May 22, 2016 at 18:07
  • Check how the medical insurance actually pays for the treatment. I don't know what's usual for US insurances, but in my country, some will pay the costs themselves and others will expect you to pay and then refund you. Second option might get quite complicated in some cases.
    – AndrejaKo
    May 22, 2016 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Travel Insurance is not a commodity, and can vary widely between companies. You'll usually be offered insurance at the same time as booking a holiday, but can arrange separately - here's what you need to check out;

Is Your Destination Covered?

It sounds obvious, but policies vary and if you don't know what you're looking for, they can be confusing.

Some providers, for example, will include countries such as Turkey and Egypt under European cover, while others won't. Worldwide cover, meanwhile, doesn't always include the USA, Canada and the Caribbean – so ensure your policy does if you're heading out that way.

Also, check the insurance will cover you for the duration of your whole stay

When selecting which travel insurance policy to go for, it's important to check how many consecutive days abroad you'll be covered for. Limits vary depending on the provider, and if you go over this limit, even if it's only by a day, you will invalidate your insurance.

Check for limits

After all, the last thing you want is to make a claim on your travel insurance only to find you're not covered for what you had lost.

Work out exactly what you're bringing with you to ensure you have the correct amount of cover – we recommend that you have at least the following.

  • £1,500 baggage cover

  • £250 to cover lost cash

  • £3,000 cancellation cover – or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday

Quoted text from Money Supermarket

Other things to bear in mind include; When can I actually claim and how? Check the documents carefully, don't get caught out. Is your medical condition covered under a policy? Also. don't lie about medical conditions - this will void the policy.

ALWAYS READ THE SMALLPRINT!!! Thus could contain the most important information for you. Again, don't get caught out.

The most important part has to be about Claiming. Make sure you are certain that you have enough amount of cover and know how to claim if necessary. The process isn't particularly difficult, as long as you don't fall in any traps.

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