What Travelers Want Instead of COVID-Related Travel Insurance

Travelers turn to trip delay and luggage insurance as staffing shortages and other systemic issues plague airlines.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 

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Interest in travel insurance is high — and for good reason. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the travel industry shrink, expand and then nearly explode with demand. All these changes come packed with uncertainty, leaving travelers to worry what will happen in the event that things go sideways. 

COVID-related travel insurance is great to have, but with more seemingly pressing issues on the horizon, what else are people looking for? Let’s take a look. 

What does travel insurance cover?

Did you know that there are many types of travel insurance? Their coverage runs the gamut; some policies are there to protect you during high-risk activities, while others will reimburse you when your bags are lost. Here are some of the most common types of insurance that you’ll find:

Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance is on the decline

Popular during the pandemic, CFAR insurance allows travelers to, well, cancel for any reason. It’s an optional add-on to other travel insurance packages and can provide reimbursement for you should your travel plans change. CFAR insurance is different in that it doesn’t require a covered event to apply; you can simply wake up one day, change your mind, and get your money back. 

Now, new data from insurance aggregator Squaremouth shows that searches for CFAR insurance have dropped by 37%. This makes sense; as countries have reopened their borders and travel restrictions have dropped, more travelers are confident that they’ll actually make it to their vacations. 

What travel insurance are people searching for?

You know what people are confident about? If you had your eye on the news this summer, you’ll know. Interest in travel delay coverage has grown by 74% this year, thanks to ongoing chaos as understaffed organizations attempt to meet massive travel demand. 

Trip delay and trip interruption insurance will reimburse travelers in the event that their plans are altered by events beyond their control. This means that if the airline delays and eventually cancels your flight, leaving you stranded overnight in the airport, trip delay insurance will pay for your hotel. It’ll also usually cover food and reasonable expenses incurred by the delay, such as the purchase of a toothbrush, deodorant and clothing. 

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Airline lose your bag? Don’t worry, there are steps you can take to retrieve it

Also on the rise is interest in lost baggage and delayed luggage insurance. Lost baggage searches are up by 33%, while searches for delayed luggage insurance have increased by 30%. 

Again, this makes sense if you’ve glanced at the news. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop resigned in mid-September due to massive delays that forced the airport to cap its flights. These delays also resulted in long lines and lost baggage for many travelers, among other frustrations. 

So, what do you do if you’re on the hunt for these types of insurance? You can always purchase a policy. Companies like Squaremouth will compare quotes across hundreds of companies to get you the best coverage. But there’s another option. 

You may already have travel insurance 

Do you have a travel credit card? It doesn’t have to be fancy — many travel credit cards come with some form of complimentary insurance, even if you’re not paying an annual fee. 

Chase credit cards are especially good for this. More than 30 of its different hotel, airline and Sapphire-branded cards feature travel insurance. 

The Chase Freedom Flex℠, for example, provides up to $1,500 per person and up to $6,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable passenger fares in the event of trip cancellation or interruption. It charges no annual fee and this insurance is complimentary; you simply need to charge the fare to your card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another excellent option for travel delay insurance. Featuring some of the best complimentary coverage out there, cardholders will receive up to $500 per person for trip delays of six or more hours. 

It also provides baggage delay insurance and will reimburse you up to $100 per day for up to five days when your bag has been delayed by more than six hours. This will allow you to buy necessities such as toiletries, clothing and chargers for your electronics. 

Finally, the card will also cover you when airlines lose your bag completely. This includes both checked and carry-on bags, with a maximum of $3,000 per person, per trip, to help you replace what you’ve lost. 

Credit card travel insurance isn’t limited to Chase. American Express and Capital One also have a variety of credit cards featuring varying levels of complimentary trip insurance. Here are some good examples:

Because each card offers its own version of travel insurance, you’ll want to check your guide to benefits before relying on it for your trips. 

Travel insurance can adapt as your risks do

Travel insurance comes in many flavors, but there’s no denying that the need for trip delay, lost luggage and delayed bag insurance is on the rise. If you’re looking to protect yourself when you travel, you can always opt to purchase a policy. Be sure to get a variety of quotes; coverage levels and costs can vary dramatically between providers. 

Otherwise, check your credit card to see if you already have complimentary travel insurance. The best cards have a full suite of protections, but even those without an annual fee can provide coverage when you’re on the road. 


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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