Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Travel Insurance: Buying Online

    By
    WebMD Feature

    Savvy travelers already book airline tickets and reserve hotel rooms and rental cars over the Internet. Now they can also go online to buy travel insurance, selecting from options that include medical coverage and evacuation and trip-cancellation insurance.

    The new trend is a natural, given the buying habits of most consumers. Travel insurance is often either a last-minute decision or neglected altogether. Up to 30 percent of travelers wait until two weeks or less before departure to inquire about travel-insurance coverage, industry experts say.

    Recommended Related to Health Ins & Medicare

    Kathleen Sebelius on Health Care Reform

    Health care reform moved forward this week when the White House issued rules on an early provision: allowing children to remain on their parents’ insurance plan up till age 26. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), has spearheaded the administration’s reform effort. At her urging, health insurers have agreed to continue coverage for many young adults ahead of the provision’s start date. WebMD spoke to Sebelius about the young adult coverage and her work on ...

    Read the Kathleen Sebelius on Health Care Reform article > >

    So, turning to the Internet to buy travel coverage makes sense, both for procrastinating travelers and for those who have just decided to squeeze in a vacation before the end of the summer. Coverage typically goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day of purchase, the next day, or on a date specified by the traveler, if the trip is in the future.

    Right now, only a handful of companies offer travelers the opportunity to complete the entire transaction via the Internet. Many companies have Web sites that explain the products available but require a faxed or mailed application in order to buy. Officials at insurance companies that don't yet offer Internet transactions say they are investigating the service and will probably offer it soon.

    Not Entirely Paperless

    Even some companies that promote the buying of travel health insurance via the Net do not actually complete their transactions in cyberspace. Customized Service Administration (CSA) Travel Protection, for instance, began selling online in 1998 but still follows up with a hard copy for coverage verification, says Bob Chambers, vice president of sales and marketing for CSA.

    Here is a sampling of companies now selling travel-insurance plans online:

    • CSA Travel Protection (www.travelsecure.com; 800/348-9505), underwritten by Commercial Union Insurance Company
    • Travel Guard (www.travel-guard.com; 800/826-1300), underwritten by CIGNA
    • Highway to Health (www.highwaytohealth.com; 888/243-2358), underwritten by Continental Assurance Company

    Caveats before Buying

    As quick and convenient as online buying is, consumers should research the plan and the company before buying. Be sure the company is licensed in your state of residence, says Scott Edelen, a spokesman for the California Department of Insurance. That's good advice no matter how you buy, but critical if you're buying from a Web site rather than, say, a longtime family travel agent who is accustomed to buying from licensed companies.

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.