Travel insurance rates are rising. Here are 10 ways to save money now

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Alex Gillard hesitated before taking out expensive travel insurance for his visit to Thailand. And he’s glad he did.

Thailand requires visitors to have insurance, but the policy offered on the government site costs $57 for a week’s stay. So before hitting the “buy” button, he spent some time shopping around.

“I saved money by going through an insurance company I found by reading blog posts about travel insurance, rather than immediately going through the Thai government partner insurance company” , explains Gillard, wildlife photographer. “I ended up paying $43 for the cover.”

Why are travel insurance prices going up in 2023?

Experts predict that travel insurance rates will rise even further as demand increases. So if you’re planning a trip for 2023, chances are you’re in the same boat as Gillard.

“I think travel insurance rates will go up next year,” says Mike Nelson, CEO of the travel tech company arrival.

Inflation and increased demand have driven up the cost of the individual components of the trip. This means that the value of what is covered by a travel insurance policy is higher. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in claims over the past two years – first COVID-related cancellations, then early summer travel disruptions. Travel insurers will try to recoup these losses by increasing premium rates.

Tim Dodge, vice president of marketing at an insurance company Arch RoamRight, says the price increases are modest for now. “We’re seeing a 1% increase in the average cost of an insured trip,” he told me.

But I’ve spoken with several experts who have said that if current price trends continue, the increases could be larger – possibly up to 10% for the year.

“Rising prices are certainly likely to drive travelers to seek out travel insurance deals,” said Brooke Kirby, vice president of marketing at Travelex. “I strongly recommend that travelers fully understand what coverage they have and do not have before making a decision to purchase.”

Kirby says package prices are generally competitive, so consumers often have to consider other factors. These include the quality of customer service, claim payout rates, coverages included in plans, and upgrade options.

“That’s how it’s determined which plan gives them the best coverage for your money,” she adds.

So how do you save money buying travel insurance? Industry pros say it’s a combination of careful research and understanding the limitations (and some secrets) of how travel insurance works.

Here are some strategies that could help you save a lot of money on travel insurance in 2023:

1. Do a travel insurance audit before you book

Whether you need travel insurance for your domestic trip or international travel insurance, you’ll want to determine the type of policy you need well before you book your vacation. This is especially true for vacation packages.

“Look at the cancellation and refund policies,” says Murat Ozguc, owner of Turkish tour operator Travel Atelier. “Based on this, decide what insurance you need.” Ozguc says that once you ask yourself what could go wrong, you can rule out certain eventualities. And that could lead you to a cheaper travel insurance policy.

2. Avoid anonymous travel insurance companies

You might pay less for your policy with one of them, but it could cost you in the end, says Andrew Lokenauth, a former travel insurance manager who now teaches at the University of South Florida School of Management.

“Buying from the right company is crucial,” he says. “Many travel insurance companies have poor customer service. This makes managing the entire claims process a terrible experience.”

How do I know if the company is legit? I publish a free travel insurance guide which will help you sort out quality companies from fly-by-night travel insurance operators.

3. Buy separate policies for your family

You can split the cost of your travel arrangements among the travelers in your family. “If you’re traveling with children, their coverage is cheaper because of their age,” says Dan Skilken, president of TripInsurance.com. “And when you split the cost of travel fairly among travelers, you’ll save money on the total cost of the plan.”

4. Compare travel insurance and shop like a pro

That’s the advice of Matthew Roberts, chief operating officer of the Canadian auto insurance site. My choice. “Compare quotes from several insurers before you buy,” he advises. “Don’t buy straight away from the travel booking site where you just have to tick a box and pay extra for travel insurance. In most cases it would cost you more.”

Roberts says the key to getting the best insurance policy is to shop around. Use comparison sites, but also research insurance companies “and get their quotes to make sure you don’t miss out on those offering full coverage at lower rates,” he adds.

5. Look for a low price with the coverage you need

Damian Tysdal, editor of the travel insurance site CoverTrip.comsays travelers are often confused when they visit a travel insurance comparison site and see a big price difference between similar plans.

“But that doesn’t mean one plan is worse than the other,” he explains. “It just means that each company designs their plan to appeal to a different demographic.”

In other words, cheaper doesn’t always mean worse.

6. Avoid overinsurance

Here’s a common mistake travelers make when looking for the best travel insurance: they overestimate when communicating the cost of the trip to their insurance company. This drives up their costs.

“When entering the cost of your trip, only add up non-refundable costs,” says Lynn Pina, director of marketing at geo blue. “So if you can cancel and get a full refund for your hotel, you don’t need to cover that.”

If you need to file a claim later, your insurance company will ask if you can get reimbursement for your hotel. If you can, it will not cover the lost night. But you will still have paid for the additional coverage.

7. Don’t buy extras (unless you need them)

Many travel insurance providers offer add-ons that may not be relevant to your trip, such as rental car protection, vacation rental damage protection, and the ability to cancel your trip for any reason. whether it be.

“If these don’t appeal to you, there’s no need to add them to your policy,” says Elad Schaffer, CEO of Faye travel insurance.

Note: The popular “cancel for any reason” option can double the cost of your travel insurance. And if you want vacation rental damage protection, add 10% to the cost of your travel insurance.

8. Consider a health-only policy

If your credit card already covers most of your travel insurance needs, you can save money by purchasing a health-only insurance policy. “The available plans will have all benefits except trip cancellation and interruption and can be a very cost effective way to get travel medical coverage as well as baggage, trip delay and other benefits,” says Stan Sandberg, the co-founder of the travel insurance site AssuranceVoyage.com.

Pro Tip: Read the “Member Benefits” section of your Cardholder Agreement to find out if you’re covered for your next trip.

9. Don’t just buy the cheapest policy

You might regret buying a font based strictly on price. You could be missing out on important and necessary travel insurance coverage. “Everyone wants to get the most out of their travel insurance at a reasonable cost,” says Christina Tunnah, Managing Director for the Americas at world nomads. “But it’s important to be aware that deals that seem too good to be true often are.”

This is also true for “free” insurance, meaning coverage you already have through your auto insurance or credit card.

“It may seem like a great way to cut costs, but there could be exclusions that could accrue to you in the event of an accident.”

10. Check your memberships

Before buying a travel insurance policy, make sure you have checked your memberships. Sometimes they will include a blanket. For example, if you’re a AAA Premier member, you get various travel insurance coverages, including up to $1,500 for trip interruption or delay and up to $500 for lost luggage, says Andrea. Woroch, money-saving expert. “You may not even need to purchase additional insurance,” she adds.

If you want the best travel insurance for your trip in 2023 – and trust me, you do – then you’ll need to do a full audit of your insurance needs and sharpen your pencils. It will take a bit of research to find the cheapest and best travel insurance for your next vacation, but you could save hundreds of dollars with these simple strategies.

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