PROS / USI can reimburse you for lost or stolen prescriptions.
CONS / It lacks online claim filing capability and information.
VERDICT / USI Affinity provides solid travel insurance with coverage for the basics at a lower-than-average price. If you have to file a claim, however, you'll need to call or contact an agent.
USI Affinity offers a single travel insurance plan with three levels to cover your trip cancellation and medical needs whether you are traveling in the U.S. or abroad. Its overall coverage is comparable to the other agencies we reviewed and includes accidental death and dismemberment (also called flight accident). It has options available with higher plans for car rental insurance, and it can pay for replacing prescriptions. With some extras, like assistance in recovering from identity theft, this trip insurance company earns our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
USI has some of the cheapest plans of the insurance companies we evaluated. It offers only three plans, so the biggest factor in price was the age of the recipients rather than the location of your trip. The prices we found were several hundred dollars lower than the average for the agencies we tested, making it a good deal if you are looking for inexpensive insurance that covers the basics. It also has a few extras, like accidental death and dismemberment coverage if you are in a flight accident.
However, a cheaper price means some things are not covered. USI does not cover your change fees if you have to change your flight, nor are you covered for trip cancellations caused by your airline or tour company going bankrupt.
This trip insurance also comes with concierge services to help you find a hotel or to recommend a good restaurant. A useful extra benefit is identity theft assistance if your wallet is lost or stolen. The company helps you obtain credit report records so you can keep track of your credit rating to ensure there are no erroneous charges.
Trip Cancellation & Interruption
Overall, USI's coverage of trip cancellation and emergency medical situations compares well to the other companies in our lineup. Of particular note is the Cancel for Any Reason option, which not all insurances offer. It covers 75 percent of expenses, which is standard for the industry. It also reimburses you for the loss of miles or reward points used to purchase unused tickets, up to $250. This is one of the highest compensations of the agencies we evaluated.
There are extra benefits with the Plus and Elite plans that may make it worth the additional expense. With the higher-tier plans, USI reimburses you for expenses incurred for a "security evacuation," such as if you need to leave an area because of a political upheaval, up to $100,000.
Emergency Medical Benefits
The emergency medical benefits of USI Affinity are comparable to those of most of the travel insurances we evaluated. The $100,000 cap on medical expenses is a standard that only a few insurances exceeded, as is the $1 million for emergency medical evacuation. This service also covers dental repair of damaged natural teeth, and it can advance money to a hospital in order to ensure you get care. If you are too ill to travel or are hospitalized, it pays the price of an economy flight to bring a friend or family member to be with you.
It's one of the few companies in our lineup that not only assists you in replacing lost prescriptions but also reimburses the expense. While other companies help replace your medications, they generally do not pay for them. If you take expensive medications, this feature makes USI an insurance agency to consider.
Claim Filing Process
If you need to file a claim, you first have to call an agent. This trip insurance agency does not offer online filing or online resources to help you file or gather paperwork. The contract does not tell you what paperwork to file. We were told by an agent that all you need are receipts when filing a claim.
While this would make it one of the easiest companies to file a claim with, as long as you don't prefer doing it electronically, it nonetheless gives us pause. Most agencies want written proof of loss, such as police reports, doctor reports or notice from your carrier of cancellations and delays. Since this kind of paperwork is not easy to get after-the-fact, we highly recommend obtaining copies, just in case the agent you work with requires more.
Help & Support
If you decide to cancel this insurance before your trip, you have to do so more than 14 days before your travel starts. Most agencies give you up to 10 days before the trip to cancel the insurance, so while this is outside the average, it's not unreasonably so. You can find the contract and benefits online, so you can make an informed decision before purchasing. This is one of the few trip insurances that said it has local agents, an advantage if you need to speak to someone personally. It also has 24/7 telephone support while you are traveling, but for other questions and concerns, you'll need to email or call during business hours.
USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services offers sound coverage for the basic travel and medical emergencies you may encounter on your vacation, plus replacement of prescription medications, which most of the other agencies we reviewed do not offer. Our evaluation also found it to be one of the least expensive plans. It lacks some of the extras found with higher-ranking travel insurances, and it's not as easy to get information for filing a claim, but overall, it's worth checking out, especially if you are taking expensive medications.