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About Travel Guard
Sentry Insurance employee John M. Noel developed travel insurance products under the Travel Guard name in 1982, and by 1985 had moved to purchase the rights and sell the products independently. In 2000, international expansion was begun with the creation of Travel Guard Canada. Six years later AIG acquired Travel Guard, and it has continued to operate as a subsidiary ever since.
Travel Guard does not underwrite any of their own insurance products. Underwriting is handled by National Union Fire Insurance Company, another AIG subsidiary. Travel Guard’s U.S. headquarters remain in Stevens Point, WI, with offices in six additional countries around the world.
Travel Guard offers a range of travel insurance products for both pleasure and business travel, from package policies to a la carte selections. Product availability varies by state and by country.
Travel Guard Products
Since the products offered vary by state, the Travel Guard website requires the selection of a state in order to obtain product details. For the purpose of this review, we selected California as our sample state.
The available plans include multiple levels of travel packages, a la carte selections, car rental coverage, and medical evacuation plans.
Package plans are available at a variety of levels to suit various needs and budgets.
The Basic package is the base-level plan, as the name implies, and includes 100% trip cancellation and interruption coverage. It also offers $500 in return air for trip interruption, and the same coverage for trip delay. Baggage loss and delay are covered, and the plan has $10,000 worth of medical expense and $100,000 in medical evacuation coverage.
The Silver Package is one step up, with higher coverage amounts in most areas, including $15,000 in medical expense coverage and $150,000 for medical evacuation. For each paid adult, a child under 17 can be added to the policy at no additional charge. Extra benefits are added when the policy is purchased within 15 days of initial trip purchase, including expanded cancellation and interruption coverage and a pre-existing condition waiver.
The Gold Package again increases coverage, with up to 150% in trip interruption costs and $750 for return air. Lost and delayed baggage amounts are also higher, and there is a $250 benefit for a missed connection. This plan has $25,000 in medical expense coverage, $500,000 for medical evacuation, and $10,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage. Like the Silver plan, purchase within 15 days of the initial trip payment adds more benefits; missed connection coverage is doubled, the pre-existing condition clause is waived, and other coverages are increased and added as well.
The highest level of coverage among these tiered plans is the Platinum Plan, which includes $1000 for trip interruption return air and $500 for missed connections. Medical expenses coverage is at $50,000, emergency evacuation at $1 million, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage at $50,000. Again, additional coverage is included when the package is purchased within 15 days of trip payment.
Pack N Go is a last-minute travel plan that does not include cancellation coverage. It provides 100% of costs for trip interruption and also covers trip delay, missed connections, baggage loss and delay, and $25,000 in medical expenses coverage. $500,000 in emergency evacuation coverage is also included.
Travel Guard Plus is the final package plan and is the most comprehensive. It has the highest level of medical expense coverage at $100,000, and also includes adventure sports coverage. Most other coverages match the Platinum plan.
Travel Guard’s Business Traveler plan is a package plan aimed at business travelers. It includes trip interruption and trip delay benefits as well as coverage for lost or delayed baggage. In addition to $500,000 in emergency evacuation, this plan also has $100,000 in security evacuation coverage.
The plan also includes business services and a host of other travel assistance benefits.
There are additional options offered by Travel Guard, which can be purchased individually or as add-ons to other plans.
MedEvac Per Trip is a plan that covers extended travel of up to 364 days with medical evacuation, security evacuation, and both medical and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
Rental Car Collision coverage replaces the insurance offered through the rental company and provides up to $35,000 in damage coverage with a $250 deductible.
Flight Guard provides from $100,000 to $500,000 in coverage for injuries incurred during commercial air travel.
Finally, the Travel Rite Annual package policy provides a range of coverage designed to last through multiple trips over the course of a single year.
Travel Guard has changed their online quoting system since our last review. It now requires more traveler information and does not return as many options. The rate chart previously available is no longer available on the company’s website.
We ran a quote for a California resident, 30 years old, traveling to the United Kingdom for one week at a cost of $5000.
The quote system returned three options: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The lowest rate, for the Silver plan, was $149. The Platinum plan nearly doubled that cost at $283. Since the quote comparison system did not return a rate for the basic plan, we then requested a quote for that plan directly. That rate was $145, only a few dollars below the cost of the Silver plan, making the latter a better value.
As a travel insurance provider, Travel Guard offers toll-free emergency assistance to policyholders anywhere in the world. As with most such products, however, claims must be submitted for reimbursement directly.
Travel Guard has an online claims system that can only be accessed once a policyholder is logged into the website. Claims documentation can also be submitted by email, fax or regular mail.
There is also an online system for checking the status of a pending claim, which does not appear to require logging in; only the claim number and last name are needed.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Travel Guard currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). There have been 136 complaints filed in the past three years, with 37 of those closed in the last 12 months. This is not a high complaint volume for a large company that serves such a large area. The overall number of complaints has gone down since our last review of this company.
Consumer Affairs has 54 reviews of Travel Guard and the majority are negative. Most of them cite claim denial, and of these the majority seemed to involve the insured being unaware of what the policy did and did not cover. There are a few scattered positive reviews to be found as well, indicating quick claims payment with little difficulty.
The Bottom Line
Travel Guard offers a range of plan levels with common add-on benefits that can provide comprehensive coverage for a trip. Reviews of the company indicate a common issue with understanding of coverage; as will every insurance policy, we recommend carefully reading the fine print to be certain it meets your needs. Overall, Travel Guard has a good reputation that is improving over time, as indicated by the lowered number of complaints in the past three years.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.