How Travel Insurance for Domestic Vacations Works

If getting travel insurance for a domestic trip will give you peace of mind, be sure to compare your options.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Published
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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You’ve probably heard of travel insurance, which promises to cover you if things go awry during your vacation. This perhaps seems obvious when you’re traveling overseas, but unexpected travel disruptions can happen when you travel domestically, too.

Let’s look at travel insurance for domestic vacations, what it covers and credit cards that’ll cover you during your trip.

Types of travel insurance

There’s more than one kind of travel insurance, including health coverage, trip interruption and rental car insurance. Depending on how you’re traveling, you likely won’t need every type of insurance, but here are the kinds you can generally expect to see:

Can you buy domestic travel insurance?

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

So, is it possible to get travel insurance for a domestic U.S. trip? The short answer is: Yes, you can. The longer answer is: Yes, but not all types of coverage may be available to you, and you may need to meet certain requirements to qualify.

For example, the travel insurance offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® requires that you be at least 100 miles away from home before its emergency evacuation and transportation benefit kicks in. Your trip must also be at least five days long but no longer than 60 days total.

Meanwhile, some providers of travel health insurance indicate that their coverage doesn’t work within the U.S. Instead, your plan will only work once you’re traveling internationally. This is true for the health plans offered by GeoBlue; those plans are limited to countries outside the U.S. and available only to people who already have a qualifying insurance plan.

Domestic travel health insurance

It’s possible to get travel insurance within the U.S. whether you’re looking for comprehensive coverage or simply a medical care plan. Companies such as Squaremouth collect quotes from a variety of insurance providers and allow you to compare them.

For example, we put in a search for a 32-year-old from California traveling within the U.S. The total trip cost was $1,999 and took place over two weeks during the summer.

Squaremouth returned results from 54 providers, with the lowest charging $20 total.

However, this plan doesn’t include medical insurance. To find policies that offer this coverage, you’ll want to use the filters next to the search results.

Including filters for domestic travel health insurance limits the total results, but pricing doesn’t change that significantly.

The policies shown will now include primary coverage, coverage for pre-existing conditions, medical evacuation and emergency medical. Even with all those options selected, the cheapest plan comes in at a relatively affordable $34.47.

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, primary insurance acts as the first payer for any claims you have. So if you visit a doctor during your trip, your primary policy will cover costs first. If that plan is exhausted and you also have secondary insurance, the secondary insurance can then pay off the rest.

It’s important to know the difference so you’ll be completely covered during your travels. Note, however, that if you don’t have primary insurance, any secondary insurance becomes primary.

Travel cards with domestic travel insurance

Interested in cheap domestic travel insurance? You won’t find anything cheaper than the complimentary travel insurance offered by many travel cards. We’ve already mentioned that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has its own travel insurance benefits, but so do many other cards.

Generally, you don’t need to pay anything to be eligible for the travel insurance offered by these types of cards. Instead, you’ll simply need to charge the cost of the trip to your card and the insurance will be automatically activated. This is true whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

Here are a few cards that offer complimentary travel insurance:

Terms apply.

Travel insurance for domestic vacations recapped

Hopefully we’ve answered the question: “Do I need travel insurance for domestic travel?”

The truth is, whether or not you opt to obtain travel insurance for your trip is going to depend on you. Some travelers have a higher tolerance for risk and are willing to forgo insurance while hoping things go the way they should.

Others may be more interested in being covered for events such as trip delay, emergency medical and rental car insurance.

Whatever you choose, compare quotes from multiple insurance providers to be sure you’re getting a policy that suits your needs. Otherwise, check out the complimentary travel insurance offered by a variety of credit cards to see whether their coverage limits fit your travel budget.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Cards for Travel Insurance from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-10x

Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

on Chase's website

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
4.2
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-2x

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

85,000

Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Points
See more cards
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