Comparing The Comparison SitesThe internet has brought travelers a whole new way to shop for travel insurance. Before, it was never possible to compare a variety of plans side by side and access all of the important information at one place. Shown below is a chart of the plans offered to a fictional traveler from California looking to insure a 10-day vacation in the Caribbean. Residents of other states might be shown a different selection as not every plan is available in every state.
This chart was accurate on the date we posted it but the plans offered change all of the time. We're using it just to show that no one comparison site can (or should) offer every plan out there. The companies shown are probably the most well-known although there are many others out there. These are
Travel Insurance Center (TIC)
|Insurer / Plan Name||IMT||SQM||TIC|
|Access America Basic|
|Access America Classic|
|Access America Deluxe|
|Global Travel Shield Classis|
|Global Travel Shield Deluxe|
|CSA Custom Luxe|
|CSA Freestyle Luxe|
|Global Alert Essentials|
|Global Alert Preferred|
|Global Alert Preferred Plus|
|iTravelInsured Lite Plan|
|iTravelInsured Vacation Plan|
|iTravelInsured Elite Plan|
|HTH Trip Protector e-Saver|
|HTH Trip Protector|
|HTH Trip Protector Preferred|
|IMG Patriot TRIP|
|MH Ross Advantage Asset|
|MH Ross Advantage Bridge|
|MH Ross Advantage Complete|
|Seven Corners Roundtrip|
|Seven Corners Roundtrip Choice|
|Travel Guard Basic / Essential|
|Travel Guard Essential Expanded|
|Travel Guard Gold / Protect Assist|
|Travel Guard Platinum / Cruise, Tour and Travel|
|Travel Guard Silver / Essential Expanded|
|Travel Guard My Travel Guard|
|USI Travel Insurance Select Basic|
|USI Travel Insurance Select Plus|
|USI Travel Insurance Select Elite|
|Travel Insurance Services Select Basic|
|Travel Insurance Services Select Plus|
|Travel Insurance Services Select Elite|
|Travel Insured Trip Protector Lite|
|Travel Insured Trip Protector Lite Expanded|
|Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector|
|Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector Gold|
|Travelex Travel Basic|
|Travelex Travel Select|
|Travelex Travel Select Advantage|
|Travelex Travel Max|
|Travelex Travel Plus|
|TravelSafe Vacation Classic|
|TravelSafe Vacation Basic|
|Tru Travel First Class|
|Tru Travel Super Saver|
Our reason for posting this chart is so you know that when you hear someone say that site X has every insurance company you'll know that's not true. They can't. And they probably shouldn't. At some point, offering every insurer and every plan out there becomes impossible. It also becomes overwhelming to the site visitors. Plus, the insurers themselves will limit the options any of these comparison sites can show. For example, they can feature the Custom or the Freestyle plans from CSA but not both.
We've called the customer service people at all of these companies and feel the quality of help we got from all of them was quite good. And we got answers to questions we emailed to them in a timely manner. Doing some random quotes we were never able to find any errors in their quote systems. So we think you'd be in good hands with any of them. But as we've said elsewhere on this site, we feel it's always best to get answers directly from the insurer (in writing if possible) if it's about something confusing or complicated. And the variety of plans featured on these sites leaves out many very good plans from these and other insurers.
Note that if you enter the exact same information in the quote forms you should get the exact same quote on any specific plan. And it should match exactly the quote you would get if you went directly to the insurer's site. No one is allowed to discount or to add to the published premiums. Where some confusion might enter the picture is when different comparison sites offer different plans from one insurer. For example, you might get a quote on an Travel Guard plan from Insuremytrip then put in the same information on Squaremouth and get a lower quote. If that happens you might think that one of them is discounting the premium or the other is marking up the premium. They're not. Instead, you're comparing quotes on two different plans or you didn't enter the exact same information into the quote form on each site.
All of this can add to your work if you're looking for the best value for your insurance purchase. Take the case of someone who has his final payment coming up and needs a plan that will still offer a pre-existing condition waiver at this late date (60 years old, $2500 trip cost). After doing his research he decides CSA is the best choice.
If he only checks Insuremytrip and Squaremouth the only option he'll see is the Custom Luxe plan for $202. But if he also checks Travel Insurance Center he'll see the Freestyle plan for $140.
Which site is easiest to use? That's purely a matter of personal preference. We like the layout of the information on the Squaremouth the best but others will disagree. InsureMyTrip's new consumer ratings feature is great. Travel Insurance Center's web site looks dated but there's some great information there that you won't find anywhere else.