Chapter 8 of "What is Travel Insurance All About" guide, icon of desktop and mobile device with website on display
 
CHAPTER 8

Where You Can Buy Travel Insurance

You know you need travel insurance for your upcoming trip. Fortunately, there are many places where you can buy travel insurance – and some places even let you compare plans from different companies to choose the right coverage for you.

WHERE DO I BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Since the term “travel insurance” consists of two pieces – travel and insurance – the places where you buy travel insurance are the places where you buy travel, plus the places where you buy insurance. This means:
 

  • Travel insurance companies
  • Insurance aggregators
  • Travel professionals
  • Insurance agents
  • Travel suppliers
  • A credit card

WHO OFFERS TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Regulations typically prohibit insurance from being included automatically when you book a cruise or buy an airline ticket; you have to be offered it, and you have to accept the offer.

Or you have to shop for it on your own.


Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to buy travel insurance. Just understand your options and don’t always settle for the first plan you’re offered.

Basically, you can be offered travel insurance through any of six channels:
  

  • Directly from a travel insurance provider
  • Online through a travel insurance aggregator
  • Through a travel professional
  • Through an insurance agent
  • Through a travel supplier
  • Through a credit card

Directly from An Insurance Company

This is called “buying direct,” because you’re buying directly from an insurance company.

When buying direct you can pick from any number of plans that will meet your specific travel needs.  You can purchase online or typically they offer a call center, and most plans are priced the same whether you buy online or over the phone.

 

So why buy direct?

In the case of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, that’s one of the few ways you can buy.

If you want the revolutionary traditional-insurance-with-flight-protection coverage of ExactCare Extra®, there aren’t many places you can find it outside of BHTP.com.

Buying direct can mean …
 

  • A more streamlined purchase experience. If you’re bewildered by a lot of choices but want a good-better-best product offering, buying direct is perfect.
  • A portable purchase experience, since Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection plans can be bought via a mobile device as well.
  • Great customer service. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection customer-service experts are on hand during business hours (7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Central Time) to answer questions about your policy. They can even match the right coverage to your travel needs. If you have second thoughts, our 15-day “free-look” period lets you cancel coverage without obligation after you buy the policy.
     

If you like keeping things easy and efficient, buying direct is perfect.

Through A Travel Insurance Aggregator

Travel insurance aggregators bring together plans from many different travel insurance companies, so you can compare similar plans and choose one with the right amount of coverage and the best rate.

Aggregators are a popular way to buy travel insurance. Here’s why:

  • Aggregators often offer decision-making tools to simplify the comparison and buying process.
  • People are used to comparison shopping for other types of insurance … and other products in general.
  • Most travel insurance plans contain the same types of coverages, making them very easy to compare using an aggregator.

Why would you not use an aggregator?

Not all companies and/or their products may be listed. Also, if a product doesn’t fit well into a display grid – like ExactCare Extra® or AirCare® – an aggregator may not offer it.

However, for the best selection and the ability to comparison shop, it’s worth the time to check out an aggregator.

Through A Travel Professional

Travel professionals have long been the main channel for selling travel insurance, and they’re still some of the best advocates for travel insurance.

They can tell many stories about how travel insurance saved one of their travelers – or how someone opted not to buy travel insurance, and suffered the consequences.
 

Many travel professionals have their customers do one of two things in regard to travel insurance:

  • Purchase the coverage
  • Sign a waiver stating they were offered travel insurance but declined the offer                   

 Many travel professionals have been in the business a decade or more, so they understand travel insurance and can do a good job explaining it to their customers.

However, most professionals only work with two or three travel insurance companies; if you want a plan that’s offered by a different company, you either have to buy direct or through an aggregator.

Through An Insurance Agent

Not many insurance agents sell travel insurance, and if they do, they don’t usually offer traditional types of travel insurance.
 


 
Instead, they’ll often offer specialized plans, like:
 

  • Emergency evacuation plans
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Annual travel insurance
  • Plans for expats
  • Plans for students traveling abroad                                                                                                 
     

If you have a complicated trip that requires a lot of specialized coverage, you may wind up working with an insurance agent. Otherwise, the other channels should work fine.

Through A Travel Supplier

Your tour operator, airline, or cruise line may offer travel insurance as part of your purchase process.

Often these are low cost, low coverage plans. It’s important to read them closely and note:


  • What company is underwriting the plan – actually administering the plan and paying claims? Look for a reputable name that pays claims quickly and accurately.
  • How do they handle emergency assistance requests? Look for 24/7/365 service.
  • How do they cover trip cancellation and interruption?
  • How much emergency medical insurance do they offer, and what does it cover?
  • How much of your trip does the plan cover? Some airline’s travel insurance only covers claims related to their flights, plus a small amount of medical and evacuation coverage.

Buying insurance at the same time you book a flight or cruise online sounds good; make sure the coverage meets your needs.

Through A Credit Card

Travel insurance may be “automatic” when it comes through your credit card.

Often credit cards will extend “automatic” protection to travel expenses purchased through that card. The coverage usually only extends to purchases made on the card, and substantiation is required.

Travel assistance occasionally is offered through credit cards as well.

Credit card travel insurance can be a helpful addition to a travel protection portfolio, but it’s not necessarily a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance for most travelers and common travel scenarios. You should review the policy details to understand what you are being provided and, perhaps more importantly, not provided.

Now That You Know ... Get A Quote

Now that you know where to buy travel insurance, take the next step and get a quote.

As we noted, buying direct is one of the easiest ways to buy travel insurance. Getting a quote is fast, and there’s no obligation.

And should you have problems, we’re right here to help.

Safe travels!
 

Get a quote
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The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. Coverage and benefits will vary depending on product and state of residency. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travel Insurance is underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company; NAIC #22276.