If you have never purchased travel insurance, you may be wondering what to expect from the buying process. What kinds of questions will you be asked? How much should a travel insurance plan cost? What do you need to know before you buy a plan?

One of the telltale signs of an inferior travel insurance plan is that it may be offered to you as an “add-on” when booking a trip. Buying a plan this way will not require any additional information from you in order to insure your trip.

A quality comprehensive travel insurance plan will require you to enter some basic information about yourself, any traveling companions and your trip before you will be able to receive a travel insurance quote and make a purchase.

However, purchasing travel insurance does not need to be complicated. You should not be asked for personal information, such as your Social Security number, primary health insurance details or driver’s license number. Any travel insurance site that requires these types of personal disclosures from you is likely untrustworthy.

Information you should need to provide when buying travel insurance:

  1. Names and ages (and possibly birth dates) of yourself and your traveling companions. Age is a requirement and helps to determine the price of the plan.
  2. Country and state of residency are minimum requirements that will determine which plans are legally available to you. Full home address may be asked for later in the process, so that the travel insurance company can contact you as needed.
  3. The primary destination of your trip – the place to which you’ll be traveling for the greatest length of time, or the place you’re traveling first – will help to quantify the level of risk in your travel plans. It’s generally not necessary to provide every destination on your list if you are going to multiple places.
  4. Dates of travel, which helps determine both which plans will provide you with adequate coverage and what the price may be.
  5. The total pre-paid, non-refundable cost of your trip. Since travel insurance pricing is based, in part, on what the reimbursable value of your trip might be, it’s important to have this information on hand before you begin the process of purchasing travel insurance. Since some travel insurance plans require you to insure the full amount of your trip cost in order to receive benefits, it’s important to be as accurate as possible.

With this information, you should be able to get a travel insurance quote and begin the process of purchasing a plan. You may also be asked, later in the process, for information such as a phone number or email address at which the travel insurance company can contact you; the name of any tour company that may be providing some of your travel experiences; and whether or not you, a travel companion, or a non-traveling family member might have any pre-existing medical conditions which might interfere with your travel plans.

You should never be expected to purchase a travel insurance plan without at least being able to see a sampling of the coverage and benefits it would offer. If you are not able to read the plan details in full before purchasing, you should be offered a review period in which you can receive the plan from the company. Read it and, no worries, return it for a full refund if it does not meet your expectations. These safeguards ensure that you will be able to verify that you’re satisfied with the terms of any plan you do purchase.