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Travel insurance is thought of as a modern form of insurance, as it’s become especially popular over the last 50 years or so. However, travel insurance has existed in some capacity for almost 150 years. It has changed significantly in that time, with various new types of travel insurance coverage that protect travelers from illnesses, major and minor trip cancellation problems, kidnapping, acts of terrorism and many of the other potential dangers of travel.

Travel Insurance Origins

James Batterson owned and operated the first travel insurance agency in 1864. At the time, travel insurance was almost exclusively a product of the upper class and upper middle class, as few others could afford to travel. Nevertheless, the risks of travel were still significant for those individuals, as things like theft could potentially cost a traveler hundreds of dollars. Batterson’s travel insurance company covered all of the costs associated from theft and other unexpected circumstances. In the 20th century, health insurance coverage was added as an option under many travel insurance policies and the insurance was adapted to target losses due to missed hotel reservations, canceled flights and other travel-specific costs. This made travel insurance a necessary purchase for many businesses and international vacationers, especially as airplanes became a more popular form of travel.

Travel Insurance Expansion

Over the years, travel insurance coverage has expanded significantly. Acts of war and terrorism, which were once standard exclusions on travel insurance policies, are now covered by many insurance providers. The costs of baggage loss, flight cancellation and other unexpected events are also covered under most trip cancellation insurance plans. Ransom is even covered under some travel insurance policies, although it typically has to be purchased separately. Multi-trip insurance has become a popular option for frequent travelers, as it provides a better value than single-trip policies. The number of add-on coverage options offered by modern travel insurance companies can be staggering, and by selecting from these options, travelers can protect themselves from almost anything.

Travel Insurance: Today and Tomorrow

The Internet has prompted some of the most dramatic changes in the history of travel insurance. While travel insurance buyers used to need agents to find policies, they can now price, compare and buy their own policies online. This has led to a boom for the industry, which has driven down the cost of insurance on average. Buyers can also easily compare policies online to keep their insurance premiums down to an affordable level. It’s less expensive than ever to buy insurance, which makes it a more affordable purchase and a better value overall. In the next decade, the benefits of travel insurance will expand, and by checking prices online, buyers can continue to pay low prices for great peace of mind while traveling.

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