June 23, 2024
Domestic Travel Insurance: What Does It Cover?

Domestic vacations are generally less expensive than international ones, and your health insurance policy may already cover medical emergencies you experience, even across state lines. So, do you need one of the best travel insurance policies while vacationing in the U.S.? And what would a policy cover during a domestic trip?

In this article, we explain what domestic travel insurance covers to help you determine whether purchasing one of these policies is right for you. Keep reading to find out more.

What does domestic travel insurance cover?

While travel insurance is mainly associated with international travel, you can also purchase this type of policy for domestic trips. Coverage options vary by insurance company and plan, yet most travel insurance policies afford the following types of coverage.

 

Emergency medical coverage: Reimburses you — up to the policy limit — for medical treatment related to accidents or illnesses you experience during a trip. Coverage generally excludes pre-existing conditions and may be primary or secondary to any existing medical insurance you have that’s in effect at your destination. (Check with your insurer to confirm that coverage.)

Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage: Covers emergency transportation to the nearest medical facility or back to a hospital close to your home, if medically necessary and recommended by your doctor. It also covers expenses related to transporting your remains to your return destination if you die during the trip.

Trip cancellation coverage: Refunds you a percentage of pre-paid, non-refundable travel costs — up to a limit — if you cancel or interrupt your trip for eligible reasons. Valid reasons for canceling include natural disasters and the illness or injury of a traveler or their family member.

Trip interruption coverage: If you must interrupt a trip for a covered reason, travel insurance can reimburse you for the unused portion of the trip and any expenses you incur returning home. Reimbursement is usually capped at 150% of the trip’s cost.

Travel delay coverage: Trip delay coverage reimburses you up to your policy limits if you experience flight delays and incur additional expenses like meals or lodging. It may also cover airport delays and flight change fees.

Baggage loss and baggage delay coverage: Refunds you the cost of replacement items (up to a per-item limit) if your luggage is lost or delayed during your trip. You usually have to wait a specified number of hours before filing a claim and provide purchase receipts or a list of items in your luggage. Coverage may also be subject to a deductible.

24-hour emergency and travel assistance: Most travel insurers offer worldwide travel assistance services. These include help with replacing lost documents, luggage, prescriptions or medical devices and arranging hotel accommodations and medical transport services.

For more information about these and other coverage options, read our article on what travel insurance covers.

 

Travel insurance add-ons and benefits for domestic trips

Again, while options vary by company, insurers generally offer add-ons and other benefits that can enhance a base travel insurance policy. These include:

 

Rental car collision coverage: Also called collision damage waiver (CDW), this add-on waives policyholders’ financial responsibility (up to a limit) if their rental vehicle is damaged in an accident or collision. When available, this option generally costs extra.

Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage: While standard cancellation coverage reimburses policyholders for cancellations related to specific covered events, cancel for any reason coverage reimburses policyholders for a portion of their trip cost (50% to 75%) if they cancel for any reason whatsoever. This option can increase the policy’s price by as much as 50%.

Waiver of pre-existing conditions: Travel insurance policies commonly exclude coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Unless you qualify for a pre-existing conditions waiver at the time of purchase, you won’t be reimbursed for medical expenses related to a condition diagnosed before — even shortly before — your policy’s effective date. Qualifying for this waiver often requires meeting specific criteria, such as being medically fit to travel and insuring the entire trip cost.

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D): This coverage pays out a sum of money if you die, lose a limb or experience vision loss during your trip due to an accident. Depending on the policy, coverage may apply at specific times (while boarding or traveling by plane) or throughout the trip. Some, but not all, policies automatically include this benefit.

Before researching travel insurance for your next trip, keep in mind that some insurers define domestic travel as any trip that takes you over 100 miles from home but is still within the U.S. That means shorter trips may not be eligible for coverage.

Additionally, you may not be covered in all states. Read your policy information thoroughly to understand the coverage exclusions.

According to the NAIC, other common travel insurance exclusions include:

Pandemics (although some companies cover certain losses related to COVID-19)

Pre-existing medical conditions (unless you qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver)

Civil or political unrest at the destination

Pregnancy and childbirth

Coverage for high-risk activities (think snowboarding or parasailing)

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