It’s been especially important to protect our travel investments recently. You’ve likely had to cancel at least 1 trip in the past couple of years, and there’s still the uncertainly of whether future trips could face the same fate.
As a result, seeking out travel insurance that’s both affordable and provides the right combination of coverage has become an essential element of the trip-planning process versus a mere afterthought.
When it comes to purchasing travel insurance, it can be difficult to know where to start. Whether you conveniently buy the coverage offered when you purchase your trip, compare travel insurance companies and policies in-depth, or rely on the complimentary coverage that comes with your credit card, having as much information as possible can be helpful in making a decision on travel insurance.
Today we’re going to focus on 1 specific travel insurance company, International Medical Group, Inc. (known as IMG or IMGlobal). We’re also going to talk briefly about travel insurance in general, give you some tips on finding the best travel insurance value, and provide some direction when faced with the decision of whether you need to purchase coverage.
We’ll get to our review of IMG in short order, but let’s start by briefly discussing why you’d want to consider purchasing travel insurance.
Why Purchase Travel Insurance
Travel insurance provides protection for economic loss should unexpected covered events occur prior to and during your travels. The more money you have at risk, the greater the need to consider travel insurance.
If you’re simply purchasing a domestic flight and hotel for a weekend away, you may not need to purchase travel insurance.
However, if your trip includes a lot of non-refundable expenses or your itinerary is complex (increasing the chances that something could go wrong), you’ll want to be fully protected.
In addition, if your trip includes potentially dangerous sports activities, you’re visiting remote locations, or if you will not have medical insurance during your travels, you’ll also want to strongly consider travel insurance.
Here are some sample situations where travel insurance could provide protection:
- You’re on safari, become seriously ill, and need to be evacuated to the nearest hospital.
- There is severe weather, your flights are canceled and you must stay at a hotel overnight before continuing your trip.
- An immediate family member passes away causing you to cancel your trip.
- You’re skiing, fall, and break your leg.
- There is a flood, your home becomes uninhabitable, and you must cancel your trip.
Bottom Line: If your trip is expensive, has a complex itinerary, you’re visiting a remote location, or you need medical coverage during your travels, you should consider a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
Why Purchase Travel Insurance From IMG
There are a lot of companies from which to select when purchasing travel insurance. The bottom line, however, is whether the company is financially sound, can pay its claims, offers a policy that is affordable, and has coverage matching your needs.
IMG checks all those boxes as a leading provider of international health insurance, travel medical insurance, and comprehensive travel insurance. The company’s parent company, SiriusPoint America Insurance Company, is rated A- (Excellent) by prominent insurance financial rating company A.M. Best. Additionally, IMG has been around for over 25 years, so you know you’re dealing with an established company.
IMG has also been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2005 and has an A- rating. The company has had 59 complaints in the past 3 years, the majority of which were concerns with products/services typical of other insurance company complaints, including claims processing.
Whether IMG has the exact policy that matches your needs and is affordable for you requires more research. We’ll be digging deeper into examples of its policies and pricing later in this article.
First, however, let’s talk about COVID-19 and how IMG may provide related coverage.
Travel Insurance and COVID-19
In the light of the pandemic, we’ve all become more aware of the need for travel insurance. Perhaps you’ve had to cancel a trip due to the fear of getting ill while traveling, or borders were shut down, making it impossible to travel to your destination.
Unfortunately, travel insurance does not cover these situations unless you have purchased Cancel for Any Reason insurance. This add-on to your travel insurance policy offers protection when you feel the need to cancel for any reason. The coverage can be expensive and only 50% to 75% of your trip expenditure will be covered.
Many travel insurance companies include coverage for COVID-19 for medical coverage, trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay. Some companies exclude COVID-19.
IMG treats COVID-19 as any other illness on the company’s iTravelInsured travel protection plans. It also offers a Cancel for Any Reason insurance add-on, depending on the policy you select. IMG may exclude coverage from some of its medical plans if your destination is designated as having a Level 3 warning by the Department of State (DOS) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Bottom Line: Travel insurance does not cover voluntary trip cancellations due to fear of getting ill or cancellations for borders that have been shut down due to COVID-19. You would need to purchase Cancel for Any Reason insurance to have coverage. IMG offers this add-on option with some of its plans.
Types of Policies Offered by IMG
IMG offers 25 different insurance plans, ranging from basic travel medical insurance, comprehensive travel insurance, cruise and sports coverage, international medical insurance, and more.
The company is known for its international medical insurance offerings, including plans for visitors to the U.S. (including non-U.S. citizens, students, and exchange visitors). U.S. citizens traveling abroad will find several comprehensive travel insurance plans that include medical coverage or plans that have strong medical coverage with ancillary travel insurance.
The company also offers insurance that complies with Schengen visa requirements, specialized plans for government service workers, for marine captains/crew, and for those doing mission work.
Let’s look at a comparison snapshot of a few of the most popular plans offered by IMG and some of the coverage combinations you can expect to find.
|Coverage||iTravelInsured Travel SE||iTravelInsured Travel LX||iTravelInsured Travel Lite|
|Trip Interruption/Trip Cancellation (Percent of Total Trip Cost)||150%/100%||150%/100%||125%/100%|
|Missed Connection||$500 after 6 hours||$500 after 3 hours||N/A|
|Travel Delay||Up to $2,000 after 12-hour initial delay||Up to $2,500 after 6-hour initial delay||Up to $500 after 12-hour initial delay|
|Cancel for Any Reason Insurance||N/A||Available as add-on within 20 days of initial trip deposit||N/A|
|Pre-existing Condition Waiver||Available||Available||N/A|
|Bankruptcy or Default of Travel Provider||Included||N/A|
|Rental Car Damage||Optional||$40,000||N/A|
This is just an overview of the core coverage offered by 3 of IMG’s travel insurance plans. Descriptions are abbreviated and are meant for comparison only.
Bottom Line: IMG offers a large variety of plans that allow you to select the type and level of coverage you prefer. In addition to comprehensive travel insurance plans, the company offers travel medical plans for visitors to the U.S. and plans for U.S. citizens when traveling both internationally and in the U.S.
How To Get a Quote
Obtaining a quote from IMG for your trip is simple. You’ll need to provide your age, where you reside, and your primary trip destination. You’ll also need to provide the dates of your trip and the total cost of your trip.
Once you hit submit, you’ll receive an instant quote for several different plan options. You can compare coverages, pricing, and then select the plan that fits what you’re looking for.
You can then purchase the plan and coverage will start on the date you selected.
You will have 10 days to review the plan. If you’re not satisfied, you will receive a full refund.
Bottom Line: You can receive an instant quote on the IMG website by providing minimal information. You can also immediately purchase the policy and be covered for the date you selected.
The Value of Travel Insurance Comparison Websites
Chances are we wouldn’t purchase a new vehicle without shopping around to find the best value. Fortunately, comparing travel insurance policies to find the best value requires a lot less effort.
Travel insurance comparison websites simplify the process making it easy to compare dozens of companies and hundreds of policies, all in a few minutes.
You’ll need to input your trip and traveler information including where you reside, the cost and dates of the trip, whether you want an annual multi-trip policy, and the date you wish coverage to begin.
Also, all of these comparison sites offer click-through links to COVID-19 coverage information for each featured company.
Here are some of the best travel insurance comparison websites to get you started:
- Squaremouth — Squaremouth compares a wide variety of policies, including annual plans that cover every trip you take within a 1-year period, medical travel insurance, single-trip coverage, and plans that cover sports/special activities.
- Insure My Trip — Insure My Trip is a good source for comparing comprehensive single- or multi-trip plans that include medical coverage.
- TravelInsurance.com — While the site does not compare medical-only plans, it offers comparisons of comprehensive travel insurance plans.
- AARDY.com — We like AARDY as it does a great job of comparing dozens of highly rated travel insurance companies. We don’t like having to provide our email in order to obtain a quote, however.
Bottom Line: Travel insurance comparison websites help you compare the best companies and policy options in a minimal amount of time. You can also purchase the policy after your search and receive immediate coverage.
How IMG Compares
Let’s look now at how IMG compares to the complimentary travel insurance coverage on your credit cards, to other travel insurance companies, and to the point-of-sale travel insurance offerings you might find when purchasing flights or travel packages.
Here’s how IMG compares:
To Credit Card Travel Insurance
If your trip is simply a flight and a short hotel stay, the travel insurance that comes with your credit card could provide you with all the coverage you need.
Once your trip becomes more complex, or more expensive, the need for travel insurance becomes greater. In either of these situations, or if you need medical coverage for your trip, the coverage that comes on your credit card will not be sufficient.
One important element is that most of the coverage provided on your credit card is secondary, meaning you must file a claim with other insurance first. You could potentially have to deal with the travel provider, the credit card company, any other insurance that may cover the loss, and the claims administrator.
Having a comprehensive travel insurance policy, like those sold by IMG, could simplify the process, especially for a complex trip involving several providers.
To learn more about the best credit cards for travel insurance, we invite you to check out our informative article.
Bottom Line: The travel insurance that comes complimentary on your credit card may be sufficient enough to cover a simple trip, perhaps just consisting of a flight and hotel. Expensive, more complex trips, or those requiring medical coverage, will be better served by purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
To Other Travel Insurance Companies
Using a travel comparison website like the ones mentioned previously allows you to compare companies and policies quickly.
While plans and prices will vary widely depending on your trip and personal criteria, we created a quote based on a single-trip, 1 week in length, involving a traveler 40 years of age, with a total trip cost of $2,000.
The above quote does include CFAR insurance. But even without it, IMG came out higher than most competitors. Policy coverage was identical in most cases but IMG did offer $1,000,000 evacuation coverage, $10,000 in search-and-rescue coverage, and coverage for rented sporting equipment.
When we look at travel medical coverage plans, IMG becomes more competitive (using our limited example). You will find some travel insurance coverages are also provided, making this option a consideration if you’re looking for a medical-specific plan.
Your criteria could change the comparisons entirely. That’s why a travel insurance comparison website is an essential tool when seeking out the best value in travel insurance.
Bottom Line: While our limited comparisons showed IMG plans as being higher than the competitors, this may not be the case for your specific trip and policy preferences. Plans that focused on medical coverage tended to be more competitive. Always compare options to find the best value for you.
To Point-of-Sale Coverage
The coverage options provided at checkout when you purchase a flight, vacation package, or other travel, can be limited. Additionally, the coverage is focused on cancellation and interruption coverage and only for the specific reasons listed.
To illustrate how IMG would stack up against point-of-sale coverage, we looked at the coverage and cost of insuring the same flight as the point-of-sale coverage above. For just a few dollars more, with IMG you would have emergency medical and evacuation coverage, and trip delay coverage. The point-of-sale plan covers just trip cancellation/interruption for up to 100% of the trip cost.
Bottom Line: In our limited example, even a budget policy purchased from IMG offers more coverage than a point-of-sale policy of a similar price. Always compare prior to purchasing, as rates will vary based on trip criteria.
How To File a Claim With IMG
If you need medical treatment during your travels, in many cases IMG can work directly with the medical provider. But if you also need to file a medical claim, the best way to get started is to complete the online claim form.
As the filing of a claim for a baggage delay can be quite different than filing a medical claim, and the documentation required will certainly differ, you’ll want to begin by using a claim form designed for your specific type of loss.
You can select the associated form on the company’s claim center website. Each individual claim form lists the unique required documentation you will need to submit for that type of claim.
You can also contact the company by calling 866-243-7524, 317- 655-4500, or 317-655-9796. On each claim form, there is also an address, phone number, fax number, and email that may differ depending on the type of claim.
Be aware that there are deadlines for reporting claims and submitting all of the required documentation and these timeframes can differ depending on the type of claim.
Bottom Line: The best way to submit a claim is by completing the online claim form specific to the type of claim, which is available on the company’s claim center website. On the claim form you will find the associated phone number, address, email address, and fax number to help facilitate your claim should you need this additional information.
Everything Else You Need To Know
Be aware that some of the plans IMG offers may provide secondary coverage versus primary coverage. This means that you must first file a claim with any other insurance that may apply.
You can feel comfortable purchasing a policy from IMG as you’ll have 10 days from the date of purchase to review the plan and get a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
We were able to obtain a quote for travelers up to and including age 99. Coverage levels and pricing vary by age.
While we have focused on individual travel and medical insurance in this article, IMG does have an Enterprise division that provides services to corporations and other organizations.
IMG is a good choice as a travel insurance company due to its financial stability and the fact it has been in business so long. However, you’ll need to compare plans and pricing with competitors to make sure the company provides the best value for you personally when purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance plan.
If you’re looking at insuring a single trip of short duration, the company can provide solid value over point-of-sale policies by delivering more coverage for similar economic outlay.
Additionally, the company’s travel medical insurance plans with primary coverage could provide you with solid medical coverage during your travels for minimal cost.
For more information on the basics of purchasing travel insurance, the best travel insurance companies, and how travel insurance works with COVID-19, visit our additional articles on these topics.