There are generally two ways of going about choosing a travel insurance plan for your upcoming trip:

1) You can just accept what your travel agent or travel supplier offers. Or ask friends and acquaintances what plan they use. Or maybe do an online search, find the cheapest option and go with that.

2) Or you can learn how to read and understand the fine print of any plan, what questions to ask, what's covered and equally important what's not covered, and make an informed decision.

Honestly, method #1 works just fine most of the time as most travelers never have a problem that results in a claim or their problem is so straightforward that just about any plan will cover the loss. But many travelers that use this method find themselves at a later date wondering why they're out thousand of dollars and their insurer isn't covering the loss.

You won't find here any recommendation of one plan over another. Like you, we wish there was a "perfect" plan for everyone. But, unfortunately, none (even the Cancel For Any Reason plans) will cover each and every possible mishap that can occur either before or during your trip. So without knowing all of your unique personal details trying to recommend one plan over the others would be foolish. But you should find enough information here to really understand what you're buying and how your purchase will help minimize the risks of travel.

We'll concentrate on the "package" or "comprehensive" plans most likely to be offered by your travel agent or travel supplier or found on the internet and available to residents of the US and, in some cases, Canada.

Many of the most important questions about travel insurance don't have a right or wrong answer that applies to everyone. We've tried to present both sides to these questions as fairly and completely as possible so you can decide for yourself what action to take. And when we're giving our opinion we have tried to identify it as such -- just an opinion. But  remember that when doing your homework in shopping for a travel insurance plan any time you see "always" or "never" take it with a grain of salt. The only exception is this: we feel that anyone that travels outside the coverage of some sort of medical insurance is just nuts. Do your homework, assess your unique risks of loss, find out what's available to cover those risks and at what cost, and make an informed decision.

The travel insurance companies are constantly changing their offerings so the examples used here should not be taken as 100% accurate although they were current when posted. From the time we posted the information to the time you're reading it things may have changed so take them as general examples only.

The scenarios used here should work for almost any kind of trip that you're considering. However, we'll probably use cruise examples a majority of the time because of the extra complications they offer to the traveling public. For example, if you're a day late getting to your resort the resort is still where you expect it to be. With a cruise the ship can be hundreds of miles away and you have to figure out how to catch up. If you have a medical emergency at a hotel they call an ambulance and whisk you to a hospital. If it happens on a ship in the middle of the ocean someone has to figure out how to get you off the ship and to medical help.

We suggest you start with the topic "How To Read The Fine Print." We use a lot of examples from real Descriptions of Coverage (the fine print) and it will make reading these examples much easier.