PROS / You can get an emergency cash advance of $500 and other possible payouts can be higher than average.
CONS / With this service, you'll most likely have to be prepared to pay medical costs upfront and apply for reimbursement later.
VERDICT / CSA is one of the best travel insurance companies. It offers plans that in many cases cost less than average while offering coverage with caps above the mean, plus extra features not always found with other companies.
CSA Travel Protection trip insurance is an excellent service. It offers plans with higher coverage and more features than comparable plans from other trip insurance companies at prices that are, at least in our test cases, below the average by tens to hundreds of dollars. It can provide emergency cash and reimbursements for lost prescriptions, and it offers consultation services with U.S.-based doctors. Only a few of the travel insurance agencies offer these services. For these reasons, it has earned our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
CSA Travel Protection offers the best value for the price. The plans consistently cost less than comparable ones for the vacation examples we evaluated yet offered coverage that was at or above the average in nearly all areas.
We evaluated plans for three vacations: a Mississippi cruise for seniors, a vacation in France for a couple in their 40s and an Antarctic adventure for a couple in their 20s. As with most trip insurances, prices were most likely to vary by the age of travelers rather than location or state of residence. Overall, CSA's prices for these trips ran below average, sometimes by hundreds of dollars.
Nonetheless, the coverage was at or above the plans for most of the other companies we reviewed. Of particular note was the lost luggage reimbursement, which capped at $3,000 – higher than any other plan we looked at. If you are taking expensive filming or sports equipment or have valuable jewelry, you'll want to consider this plan. The trip delay and missed connection compensations run higher than most plans as well.
Trip Cancellation & Interruption
The cancellation compensations were comparable to other agencies, plus CSA offers reimbursement if you have to cancel your trip because your carrier or tour agency declares financial default. It also has a Cancel for Any Reason provision with higher plans. About half the trip insurances we reviewed offer this provision. Its compensation for missed connections, lost luggage and expenses incurred from delayed luggage are also higher than most, making it a strong choice if you have a lot of connections that may increase the chance of your luggage making a side trip to another city.
You can get rental car coverage, which is standard for most higher-tier plans for nearly all the insurances we reviewed. It also covers expenses incurred in a non-medical evacuation, such as in the case of riots or political upheaval. If you need cash in an emergency, such as if your wallet is stolen, you can get up to a $500 advance from the company. Not all trip insurances do this.
Emergency Medical Benefits
The medical coverage is higher than most of the trip insurances, with the highest for pure medical expense compensation and twice the amount of the highest compensation offered by other insurances for emergency medical evacuation. If you are planning a potentially dangerous adventure, going to a remote area or have another reason to expect that a medical emergency may get expensive, this insurance is worth considering. It also has the longest pre-existing condition waiver - 180 days.
CSA covers lost or stolen prescription medications, something most companies do not do. It also has in-network doctors around the world, so that if you fall ill and can be seen by one of its network physicians, it pays the expenses immediately. For nearly every other instance, it reimburses you after you have made claims with your regular health insurance and received what you can from it.
Claim Filing Process
This service lists more requirements for filing claims than most insurance agencies do. For example, it asks you to agree to be examined by one of its doctors if filing a claim for medical reasons. The contract lists these requirements clearly in a We Provide This Coverage/Your Duties in This Event format.
In addition, you'll find the list of documents you need on the website where you download the forms. The forms are in PDF that you can print or save to your computer. They also contain instructions to assist in filing.
Help & Support
Before you purchase, you can download a sample contract with all the plan details, what is covered and what your responsibilities are if you need to make a claim. Once you purchase, you can log in to see your policy details and make changes, but there is no online claims filing. Rather, you download the forms and fill them out manually. There is a 24/7 phone line for assistance.
CSA provides some concierge services, translation services and assistance in finding a doctor or lawyer, although it does not reimburse for legal expenses. It does not arrange for non-medical evacuation, but it reimburses you for those costs. While this company provides identity theft services, it only covers thefts involving U.S.-based bank accounts.
CSA is an excellent insurance, with cheaper prices than average for the trips we priced out, and better-than-average coverage in terms of additional features and maximum coverage. Its claims process is more stringent than other trip insurance companies, but the requirements are clearly laid out in its contract. If you are traveling in situations where you are concerned about luggage loss or delays or where medical care and evacuation may be expensive, this insurance is the best choice.