As summer comes to a close, you may be trying to squeeze in one last trip or perhaps you’re one of those forward thinking individuals who is already planning holiday travel. Either way, it is an apt time to take a deeper look at travel insurance.

Sign from The Insurance Library’s collection

While some might think travel insurance is a fairly new product, it actually dates back to the 19th century. As noted in The Travelers 100 Years, the Railway Passengers Assurance founded in Britain in 1850 provided accident insurance to passengers riding trains.

In 1858, Hartford businessman James G. Batterson was offered such a policy with his train ticket while traveling in England and was so intrigued by this mostly unheard of product that in 1863 he and some colleagues requested permission from the state of Connecticut to form a corporation “for the purpose of insuring against loss of life or personal injury while journeying by railway or steamboat.” Thus began The Travelers Insurance Company and the first travel insurance program in the United States.

There are many articles available discussing the aspects of travel insurance (including on the Massachusetts Division of Insurance site). When looking to purchase a policy, considerations include what risk you’re trying to insure (cancellation, medical, baggage, etc.) and how often you might need travel insurance.

Nerdwallet has an article providing both a list of travel insurance comparison sites (aggregator sites) as well as a current list of comprehensive travel insurance plan providers. Wirecutter did some research on the topic a couple of years ago as well.

An examination of specimen travel policies can provide an idea of the types of coverages available, from luxury to adventure and beyond.

No one knows better how valuable reading a travel insurance contract can be than Donelan Andrews who won $10,000 from SquareMouth this spring when she read on page seven of her contract that she might be eligible to win a prize if she contacted the company!  If you’re interested in a form from a particular company, let us know and we’ll do what we can to track it down (no $10,000 payout guaranteed, though).

In 2012 The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) adopted a Travel Insurance Model Act, which was revised in 2017. During the 4th quarter of 2018, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) also adopted a Travel Insurance Model Act to help clarify travel insurance, blanket travel insurance, and travel assistance services.

Below, are some books, articles and a video to provide background and insight into your travel insurance research.

  • Four Men of The Travelers, (1944) Hartford, CT: The Travelers Insurance Company.
  • The Travelers 100 Years, George Malcolm-Smith & Colin Simkin, (1964) Kansas City, MO: R.M. Rigby Printing Company, Inc.
  • Flyer Beware: Is Travel Insurance Worth It?, The Office of Senator Edward J. Markey (August, 2018)
  • Every Company Has Travel Risk. Here Are the Exposures You May be Overlooking, by Katie Dwyer, Risk & Insurance, (June 20, 2019)
  • High Net Worth Travel Risks, by Jonathan McGoran, Risk & Insurance (November 6, 2017)
  • Tourists Adapting After Terrorism Attacks, Finds Report, The Standard, 279 no.5 (September 2, 2016): 6
  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions and Travel Insurance, The CSR Advisor, 28 no.7 (January 2017): 3-4
  • International Travel Medical Insurance — Don’t Leave Home Without It!, by David Boggs, Broker World, 36 no.9 (September 2016): 34, 36


Click the photograph to play the BestTV episode