Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
A comprehensive travel insurance policy can safeguard your trip investment. And in some situations, a travel insurance plan can also pay the costs for companions who are supporting you during medical emergencies or assisting you because of health issues during your trip.
Details on companion care travel insurance benefits vary by insurance company, so read your policy carefully if you want to know the scope of these benefits.
What Are Travel Insurance Companion Care Benefits?
Companion care is a benefit provided by many travel insurance policies that covers costs associated with having:
- A friend, spouse or relative be at your bedside if you’re hospitalized during your trip because of a medical emergency
- A travel companion with you to assist you in transit to a medical facility
- An attendant who escorts children home after an emergency if an adult is not able to return home
- A parent join a child who becomes ill or injured while studying abroad or traveling
Typically, a medical professional will have to provide a medical report in order for you to have companion care benefits approved by your travel insurance company, says Jason Schreier, CEO of GoReady Insurance, a travel insurance company.
Medical Evacuation Coverage and Companion Benefits
If you get hurt or become ill during your vacation and your condition requires a medical evacuation, the emergency medical evacuation coverage within a travel insurance policy can offer key services for a travel companion so you’re not alone in recovery, says Christine Buggy, spokesperson with Travelex.
This coverage can be referred to as a “bedside visit” benefit within your policy’s emergency medical evacuation coverage. “This can cover the reasonable expenses for a companion to travel to you, and remain with you, during a covered hospitalization while traveling,” explains Megan Moncrief, spokesperson with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider. “Generally, this can include one round-trip economy airfare.”
To be eligible for this companion care benefit, you typically must be hospitalized for a specified amount of time listed in your policy—typically at least two to three days—says Moncrief. However, the coverage can be available immediately upon hospitalization for children.
“In addition to transportation expenses, this benefit can cover necessary meals and accommodations while the companion remains with the insured,” she says.
Moncrief says this benefit does not cost extra money, or have any specific eligibility requirements, and can be found in many travel insurance policies. However, she recommends you review your plan’s medical evacuation coverage criteria and details.
“For example, review the number of days in the hospital and total benefit amount,” she says. “This coverage can be payable up to the maximum benefit limit within the medical evacuation benefit, and is eligible until the insured is discharged from the hospital.”
For example, the best travel insurance policies provide up to $500,000 and even $1 million per person for medical evacuation coverage.
If you already have a travel companion to assist and offer you support, your travel insurance policy can cover extra expenses—for instance, a hotel stay, meals and personal necessities—while your buddy remains at your bedside, says Buggy at Travelex.
If you become too ill to travel and you’re traveling with your children, your policy help in this scenario, too. “If you’re traveling with kids, travel insurance can reimburse you for the cost to return children to your home, including the cost of an attendant to help them,” adds Buggy.
Featured Travel Insurance Partners
COVID Medical Coverage
COVID Cancellation Coverage
COVID Medical Coverage
COVID Cancellation Coverage
Trip Interruption Insurance and Traveling Companions
Unfortunately, unexpected emergencies can occur while you’re traveling. That’s when your travel insurance plan’s trip interruption insurance could come into play. It can help you recoup money when you need to cut the trip short due to illness, injury, family emergency or other problems.
Companion care benefits are often included under trip interruption coverage in a comprehensive policy. For instance, suppose your travel companion becomes seriously ill, is injured or passes away during your trip. Trip interruption benefits can reimburse you for a return trip home and for any prepaid, non-refundable outlays you made for activities, accommodations and entertainment that you miss.
If you decide to continue your trip without your companion, trip interruption benefits may reimburse you for any extra cost of single accommodations if you prepaid for shared accommodations, but this will depend on the details of your particular policy.
Trip Cancellation Insurance and Travel Companions
Trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you for costs of a trip when you have to cancel your travel plans for unforeseen events listed in the policy. These reasons vary among travel insurance companies but typically include death, illness or injury to you, a family member or travel companion. That means your trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you for your prepaid and non-refundable deposits if your travel pal can’t go on the trip due to these reasons.
There are other scenarios in which trip cancellation benefits may cover you when something unexpected happens to a travel companion. For instance, you are eligible to file a claim under some trip cancellation policies if you or your companion is suddenly laid off from a job. Let’s say your travel companion is laid off after your travel insurance policy is in effect, and can’t go on the trip because money is tight. You may be able to file a claim under trip cancellation benefits if you meet the eligibility requirements.
For example, to make a claim like this, job termination must be a reason listed for cancellation in policy. The job loss can’t be you or your companion’s fault and your companion must have worked for the employer for a specified period of time, which can range from one to three years.
If you want the freedom to cancel your trip under any circumstance not listed in the cancellation reasons, consider adding “cancel for any reason” coverage to your plan. This upgrade will increase the policy cost by an average of 50% but will give you the flexibility to cancel your trip for any reason, as you cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure. Reimbursement is usually 50% or 75% under a “cancel for any reason” claim.
Not all insurers offer this upgrade, so look for it when considering which travel insurance plan to buy.