Comparison of airline and independent travel insurance

Triston Martin Updated on Dec 04, 2022

Many tourists have been confused by this booking possibility. You might be tempted to buy airline and independent travel insurance but what exactly does it cover? Would you recommend getting travel insurance from a different company? We'll break down your options so you can pick the best one for you.

Insurance for air travel

To begin, the extent of safety nets provided by various airlines varies widely. For example, while Southwest Airlines doesn't sell trip insurance for their regular flights, they do offer it as an add-on for Southwest Vacations.

In contrast, British Airways and United offer protection through their partnerships with Allianz and AIG, respectively, to provide comprehensive travel insurance to their customers. Please be aware that even if you acquire insurance through your airline, the policy is most likely underwritten by an independent insurance company.

Changes to or stops during travel

You can claim a reimbursement (up to a specified limit) if you have to cancel or postpone your trip due to a covered reason.

Lost or delayed luggage compensation is provided.

Coverage and/or assistance in case of a medical emergency while on the road.Pricing can also differ from provider to provider, in addition to coverage. Depending on the company, the price of an insurance policy might range from $15 at one airline to $500 at another. This is another occasion when contrasting the finer points of what you're actually getting is essential. Here are some samples of the insurance policies offered by United and Alaska:

There are a few drawbacks that you should think about

The disadvantage of buying travel insurance from your airline is that you may be forced to use the services of the airline's preferred partner provider, even if that provider doesn't meet your other requirements or preferences.

In the event that you must cancel your trip, United offers protection from AIG that would reimburse you for the full cost of your vacation. In contrast, British Airways's trip cancellation and protection package through Allianz only covers up to $1,000. (often less than the cost of a single international flight)

Separately-operated trip coverage

However, if you purchase your own travel insurance, you can compare different policies and pick the one that best suits your needs.

Making use of a plan comparison website like SquareMouth (a NerdWallet partner) or an independent insurance agent will help you choose the best policy for your needs and budget, regardless of where you're going.

You may want a plan that reimburses you more if you lose your checked bags, for instance, if you're transporting expensive or irreplaceable items. You may want to consider purchasing insurance that provides extra foreign medical coverage or medical evacuation if you plan on visiting a malaria- or disease-prone area. The only way to get the specific kind of coverage you want or need is to look beyond what your airline provides.

Can you please tell me which one is the best fit for you?

The level of complexity of your trip and the type of coverage you require will determine the best course of action. Airline-provided travel insurance may be sufficient if you are planning a short domestic trip to a known destination to see friends and family and do not plan to engage in any risky activities.

However, if you're planning a trip of a lifetime that includes multiple stops, volunteer opportunities, participation in what some companies consider dangerous activities, or travel to regions with limited medical care and a higher chance of getting sick, it might be a good idea to look into purchasing your own insurance.

Be careful on your trip, whichever option you pick.

In the event that your vacation requires the use of various airlines, vehicle rental agencies, hotels, and other services, it may be more convenient to work with a single, unbiased insurance provider that can handle everything.

Also, if you pay for your trip with a credit card, you might already have benefits designed to safeguard you while travelling. See what kind of security measures your card offers by reading the fine print.

How to get the most out of your rewards

You need a credit card for your travels that takes into account the things you value most. Our list of recommended credit cards for travel in 2022 includes options that are ideal for: Advantages of flexibility, point transfers, and a sizable bonus: The Sapphire Preferred TM from Chase There is no yearly charge: Credit Card with Travel Rewards from Bank of America® The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a flat rewards rate for all travel purchases. Extra luxury benefits and exotic vacations: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Posh extras: An American Express® Card with the Platinum Privileges® Package