The Guide to Business Travel Insurance

Some travel cards include insurance for business travel, but buying additional coverage might be a good call.
Anya Kartashova
By Anya Kartashova 

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Imagine the following scenarios. You’re meeting potential clients in their city in the morning, but your checked back, including your suit, didn’t make it. You’re giving a presentation, but some equipment has been stolen out of the hotel conference room. You got food poisoning from a restaurant where you had a business lunch and now require medical attention.

When going on the road for business, the last thing you want is to worry about these types of situations.

Business travel insurance provides coverage for the trips you take as part of your business or for a company that employs you. Knowing that some things don’t always go as planned during travel, you might find yourself benefitting from a business travel insurance policy.

What is business travel insurance?

Just like personal trip insurance, business travel insurance covers the unexpected during a business trip. A business travel insurance policy can help get reimbursements for travel expenses caused by trip delay and interruption, baggage delay, business equipment theft, emergency medical care, emergency medical evacuation and collision damage insurance for a rental car.

Depending on how often you travel, it's possible to get an annual insurance plan that will cover multiple trips or insure select travel on a trip-by-trip basis. An annual travel insurance plan is more cost-effective, but it might have lower limits than a single-trip policy.

Why should business travelers get a business travel insurance policy?

The short answer is because you can never predict anything. The long answer is that it’s good for the following:

  • Reducing out-of-pocket expenses: One thing gone wrong, and you’re on the hook for unforeseen travel expenses. For example, medical evacuation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s important to keep those potential financial losses at bay when possible.

  • Increasing existing coverage: If you have a personal medical insurance plan, it’s important to note that most private insurance providers don’t provide medical coverage abroad. A credit card with travel protections can be a good start, but these benefits typically offer lower coverage limits.

  • Providing peace of mind: Having insurance can take some of the anxiety out of traveling. Even if the business trip is going according to plan, you'll know that you have safety nets in place should anything go awry.

Does all travel insurance cover business trips?

It depends. Some corporations offer travel insurance plans for their employees on the road. You should double-check with the human resources manager of your company as to whether business trips are covered.

It gets tricky if you’re an independent contractor or a freelancer since you don’t have a corporation behind you. As a sole proprietor, make sure to consult with your insurance provider, but be aware that a personal travel insurance policy might not cover business travel.

Instead, we recommend looking into business travel insurance that will cover your personal trips as well.

For example, the annual AllTrips Executive insurance plan from Allianz covers all trips for the year — personal and business — for a one-time fee. This becomes especially handy when you decide to mix business with pleasure and extend a work trip by adding on a few vacation days.

This policy covers trip emergency medical coverage for up to $50,000 and emergency medical transportation for up to $250,000. Travel delay is covered up to $1,600 and baggage loss or delay is covered up to $1,000 each.

An important feature offered by the AllTrips Executive plan is business equipment coverage. If it’s lost, stolen or delayed by the airline, equipment rental or replacement will be covered up to $1,000 each.

AIG Travel Guard, IMG Global and Zurich all offer business travel insurance, too.

What does business travel accident insurance cover?

Business travel accident insurance covers you in the event of the unthinkable — death or dismemberment. If it sounds like life insurance, it’s because it provides similar coverage but for when you’re traveling on a common carrier, such as an aircraft, a train, a bus or a cruise ship.

If you or someone in your family holds a life insurance policy for you, business travel accident insurance is going to pay out on top of it.

What about credit cards that offer business travel insurance?

Some travel rewards credit cards offer travel coverage, but it isn’t always on par with a dedicated business travel insurance plan.

For example, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the United℠ Business Card offer primary auto rental collision damage waiver on cars rented for business purposes. To receive coverage up to the cash value of the car, you must decline the rental company’s own collision damage insurance and pay for the rental with one of these credit cards.

Note that trip cancellation and trip interruption are covered up to $5,000 with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, but trip delay maxes out at $500. Although the United℠ Business Card comes with the same trip delay coverage limit, trip cancellation and trip interruption top out at up to $1,500 per ticket. Baggage delay is limited to $100 per day under both cards’ coverage.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers the same secondary coverage for trip interruptions and trip cancellations: up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per eligible card per 12 consecutive month period. For trip delay, the card covers up to $500 per covered trip up to two times per 12 consecutive month period. Terms apply.

Although some insurance coverage offered by your travel rewards credit card is good to have, as you can see above, the coverage limits are typically lower than if you were to buy an annual policy or a single-trip business travel insurance policy.

Credit cards also offer common carrier travel accident insurance and cover costs in case of accidental death and dismemberment. In this case, the first two of the aforementioned cards include coverage for up to $500,000, which is higher than what some annual or single-trip business travel insurance policies usually cover.

If you need business travel insurance

If you have a personal travel insurance policy, check the terms to see how much applies to business travel. If none, consider purchasing an annual insurance plan for frequent business trips or a single-trip policy for occasional business travel and check with your company to see if the cost of the travel insurance is something you can expense.

Remember that some credit cards offer travel insurance for your business, but note the low payout limits if you choose not to purchase additional coverage.

To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

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