Travel insurance and assistance thought of as a modern form of insurance, as it’s become especially popular over the last 50 years or so. However, comprehensive travel protection 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.
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 and assistance coverage was added as an option under many travel insurance policies and it 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.
Over the years, travel insurance and assistance 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.