Nationwide Travel Insurance: The Complete Guide

a cruise ship sailing through open water
The Image Bank/Getty Images

About Nationwide Travel Insurance

Already one of the biggest names in insurance, Nationwide Travel Insurance is one part of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. As a whole, the Columbus, Ohio-based insurance giant started in 1925, when the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation incorporated the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. The insurer officially changed its name to Nationwide in 1943, after expanding service to 32 states and the District of Columbia. Today, Nationwide offers more than just insurance – their divisions include a bank, a financial services company, a farmland insurance company and even a pet insurance brand.

Compared to other companies, Nationwide is a relatively new travel insurance provider. The company began offering their travel insurance products on InsureMyTrip.com in 2015, and expanded to Squaremouth.com in 2018. Currently, the insurance company focuses on three types of products: cruise travel insurance, single trip travel insurance, and annual travel insurance.

How is Nationwide Travel Insurance rated?

As one of America’s oldest insurance companies, Nationwide has a solid reputation for their financial stability and commitment to policy holders. All travel insurance policies are underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, which has an A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best in the financial size category of $2 billion or greater. The company also holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with a composite customer review score of 3.74 stars (out of five).

In the travel insurance marketplaces, InsureMyTrip.com gives Nationwide an average score of 4.5 stars (out of five) for their cruise travel insurance and single trip travel insurance products. At Squaremouth.com, Nationwide has only earned two five-star ratings, but sold over 1,600 policies since January 2018.

What travel insurance products are available from Nationwide?

Nationwide Travel Insurance primarily focuses on three travel insurance products: cruise trip insurance, single trip insurance, and annual trip insurance. The company also offers two student education plans, which are available through InsureMyTrip.com: Academic Explorer All Inclusive Domestic and Academic Explorer All Inclusive International.

Please note: all schedules of benefits are subject to change. For the most up-to-date coverage information, contact Nationwide Travel Insurance.

Nationwide Cruise Travel Insurance

Universal Cruise Plan: Nationwide is among the few travel insurance companies to provide an independent cruise-only travel insurance plan. At the lowest end, the Universal Cruise Plan covers many of the basic situations that can go wrong while embarked at sea.

  • Like traditional travel insurance plans, the Universal Cruise Plan covers a maximum trip cancellation benefit of 100 percent of non-refundable trip costs and a trip interruption maximum benefit of 125 percent of non-refundable trip costs. Covered reasons for trip cancellation or trip interruption include weather, extension of a school operating session, work-related issues, or an act of terrorism in the itinerary city.  
  • This plan differs from a traditional travel insurance plan by offering an Interruption for Any Reason benefit, which reimburses transportation change costs up to $250. Missed connections that cause a delay of over three hours or trip delays of over six hours are also covered, with a maximum benefit of $500 for each type of incident.
  • Should you get ill or injured on the ship, this plan offers up to $75,000 of both emergency accident and sickness medical expense coverage. It is important to note that this is secondary coverage, not primary coverage. This means that all other insurance, including policies from a credit card must be depleted before the Nationwide insurance plan will cover claims. The plan also offers up to $750 of emergency dental expense coverage and up to $250,000 of emergency medical evacuation coverage.
  • If your bags are delayed or lost, Nationwide’s Universal Cruise Plan can help. If your bags are delayed by more than eight hours, the baggage delay benefit will cover up to $250 in qualifying expenses. If your luggage is outright lost or stolen, the insurance plan offers a maximum of $1,500 in payouts, including a maximum of $600 for special items and a $300 per article limit.
  • Finally, unplanned itinerary changes are also covered under this plan. If a port of call is changed prior to departure, this plan offers a maximum of $500 in coverage. If a covered issue impacts your cruise experience, like a fire or mechanical issue, you could qualify for up to $100 in coverage. These two specific benefits are not available to residents of Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Washington state.
  • As a third-party travel insurance plan covering a cruise, Nationwide’s Universal Cruise Plan is a frugal purchase with lots of benefits. For a 34-year-old male traveling on a $1,500 four-day cruise from North Carolina sailing to the Bahamas, we were quoted a price of $51.45, but your insurance quote and benefits may vary based on age, location, trip price, trip length, cruise line and destination.

Choice Cruise Plan: While the Choice Cruise Plan introduces new benefits, including the pre-existing condition waiver, non-medical evacuation and accidental death and dismemberment coverage, the primary advantage over the basic Universal Cruise Plan is the higher maximum benefits.

  • For those concerned about a pre-existing condition, this plan offers a waiver if it is purchased prior to the final trip payment and all eligibility requirements are met. The additional accidental death and dismemberment benefit offers up to $25,000 of coverage in the event of an emergency causing the loss of life or limb. If a non-medical evacuation from the ship is required, this plan offers a maximum of $25,000 of coverage.
  • Like the Universal Cruise Plan, the Choice Cruise Plan offers a maximum of 100 percent trip cancellation coverage of non-refundable trip costs. The plan also offers a 150 percent maximum of non-refundable trip costs for trip interruption, an increase of 25 percent. The plan may pay up to $500 towards transportation change cost reimbursement under the interruption for any reason benefit, if eligibility requirements are met.
  • If you miss a connection which causes a delay of more than three hours, the plan offers up to $1,500 in coverage for lost events or costs incurred. If your trip is delayed by over six hours, the trip delay benefits can reimburse up to $750 of incidental costs.
  • Emergency accident and sickness medical expense benefits are increased to a maximum of $100,000 of secondary coverage, meaning other insurance plans must be exhausted before this plan will pay for coverage. Emergency medical evacuation coverage is increased to a maximum of $500,000, and emergency dental expense is a maximum of $750.
  • For those concerned about their luggage getting lost or stolen, this plan offers increased maximums from the Universal Cruise Plan. If baggage is delayed by eight hours or more, this plan offers a maximum baggage delay reimbursement of $500 towards incidental costs. Baggage that is lost or stolen is covered to a maximum of $2,500, with a special item maximum of $600 and a limit of $300 per article. The plan also offers itinerary change coverage: a maximum of $750 for ports of call change prior to departure, $200 maximum for fire, mechanical, or other covered issue affecting your cruise experience after departure and $500 maximum for an itinerary change after departure that causes you to miss a pre-paid shore excursion. Again, changes to the ports of call and cruise experience impact coverage are not available to residents of Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Washington state.
  • The Choice Cruise Plan is also the first to offer the Cancel for Any Reason benefit, which allows travelers to recover up to 70 percent of non-refundable trip costs if you decide not to take your cruise after all. The Cancel For Any Reason option is an additional purchase, priced based on your quoted rate.
  • Compared to the Universal Cruise Plan, the Choice Cruise plan is equally as economic as the lower plan but with more benefits. When we quoted the same trip above for the Choice Cruise Plan, we saw only an 8 percent price increase for more maximum allowances. At the price point, it could make more sense to purchase the Choice Cruise Plan to ensure you get a higher level of coverage for almost the same price.

Luxury Cruise Plan: If you are planning an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime cruise, then you may definitely want to consider the Luxury Cruise Plan.

  • Offering the highest level of coverage, the Luxury Cruise Plan increases all of the maximum coverage levels, helping you retain the most peace of mind on your trip.
  • Like the Choice Cruise Plan, the Luxury Cruise Plan offers a maximum 100 percent trip cancellation benefit for non-refundable trip costs, as well as a maximum 150 percent trip interruption benefit for non-refundable trip costs. The interruption for any reason benefit is increased to $1,000 to cover transportation costs if eligibility requirements are met.
  • If your trip is delayed by three hours or more from a missed connection, this insurance plan can cover up to $2,500 of costs. If your trip is otherwise delayed, the Luxury Cruise Plan can reimburse up to $1,000 in costs if you are delayed for more than six hours.
  • Emergency accident and emergency sickness medical expenses are still secondary coverage, but provide a large safety net for cruise travelers. Should you fall ill or have an accident, this plan offers a maximum coverage limit of $150,000. If emergency medical evacuation is required, this plan can cover up to $1 million in costs. The emergency dental expense is also increased to a maximum of $750, but accidental death and dismemberment coverage still maxes out at $25,000.
  • As with the Choice Cruise Plan, this travel insurance plan offers a $25,000 non-medical evacuation benefit, along with coverage for lost and stolen luggage or delayed baggage. The plan also includes a pre-existing condition waiver if your plan is purchased prior to final trip payment and all eligibility requirements are met.
  • Using the same itinerary for the Universal Cruise Plan, this high-end plan is priced significantly higher than both lower plans. Compared to the Universal Cruise Plan, prepare to pay nearly 50 percent more for the best benefits offered on a cruise ship by Nationwide.

Nationwide Single-Trip Insurance

Essential Plan: Travelers who are not going to be on a cruise ship but still want a high level of protection may want to consider purchasing a Nationwide Single-Trip insurance plan instead. The Single-Trip Essential plan balances benefits with additional buy-ups in order to build the best protection for your trip.

  • At the base level, this plans offers a maximum $10,000 benefit for trip cancellation, which will cover pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs if you are forced to cancel for a qualified reason. If your trip is interrupted early, this plan offers a reimbursement benefit of up to 125 percent of insured trip costs, with a maximum of $12,500. Should your trip be delayed for a covered reason by at least six hours, this plan offers a $150 per day trip delay benefit, with a maximum benefit of $600. Luggage delay benefits offer up to $100 of coverage for incidental costs if your luggage gets lost for more than 12 hours.
  • If your bags are lost or stolen during your trip, the Single-Trip Essential Plan offers up to $600 of travel insurance benefits. Individual articles are limited to $250 maximum, while valuable items are capped at a combined total of $500.
  • As a basic plan, Nationwide’s Single-Trip Essential Plan also offers coverage for emergency accidents and illness while abroad. The accident and sickness medical expense benefit offers up to $75,000 of secondary coverage, meaning all other collectible insurance must be paid up to its limits before this plan will pay benefits. Emergency dental coverage is capped to $500 and is included in the medical expense coverage, while emergency medical evacuation or repatriation of remains benefits are limited up to $250,000.
  • Nationwide’s plan is unique in that it extends trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage due to an act of terrorism in an itinerary city. Should you decide to cancel your trip due to an act of terrorism, you may be able to receive benefit payments. If you buy your plan within 10 days of your initial trip deposit, you will also be covered for trip cancellation and interruption due to common carrier financial default and receive the pre-existing condition waiver benefit. Additional coverages you can purchase in this plan includes accidental death and dismemberment, accidental death during a flight, and rental car collision or loss coverage.
  • When we requested a quote for a 34-year-old traveler going to Germany on a $1,500 trip, Nationwide priced our plan at $45.27, which is a competitive price for travel insurance. Your price will vary based on your age, destination, trip price, travel dates and any additional options you may choose.
  • See the sample certificate of coverage

Prime Plan: As the premier plan offered by Nationwide for a single trip, the Single-Trip Prime Plan offers the highest coverage levels and the most add-on options.

  • Prime is the only single trip travel insurance plan to feature a Cancel for Any Reason benefit, along with add-ons for accidental death and dismemberment, flight-only accidental death and dismemberment and rental car collision/loss coverage.
  • The trip cancellation benefit is increased to $30,000 and is limited to prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. If you decide to purchase additional Cancel for Any Reason coverage within 21 days of your initial trip payment, you can recover up to 75 percent of your non-refundable trip costs. Cancel for Any Reason benefits are not available to those in New Hampshire, New York, or Washington state.
  • The trip interruption benefit is also increased to up to 200 percent of your non-refundable tour costs, with a maximum of $60,000. If your trip is delayed by at least six hours, you could also qualify for trip delay benefits of up to $250 per day. Trip delay is limited to a maximum benefit of $1,500. This plan also offers a missed connection or itinerary change benefit of up to $500.
  • If your bags are delayed or lost, the Prime Plan may cover you. The baggage delay benefit can reimburse up to $600 of incidental expenses if you are delayed by 12 hours or more. If your bags are lost or stolen, the baggage and personal effects benefits offers maximum coverage of $2,000, including a $250 per article limit and $500 maximum for valuable items.
  • As with the Essential Plan, the Nationwide Single-Trip Prime Plan offers emergency accidental and sickness medical expense coverage. In an emergency, this plan offers a maximum secondary benefit of $150,000 if all expenses are covered during your trip. Included in the medical expense coverage is a maximum emergency dental benefit of $750. If you need emergency medical evacuation or your remains must be repatriated, the maximum benefit is $1 million.
  • By purchasing your plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment, you also qualify for two additional benefits: trip cancellation and trip delay due to financial default and the pre-existing condition waiver benefit. These two benefits can only be accessed through early purchase. If you might add additional costs to your trip later, still purchase your insurance early because you can always add more coverage later.
  • Because this travel insurance plan offers a lot more coverage, it also comes with a higher price tag. When we priced out our trip, the cost was almost double that of the Essential Plan. 
  • See the sample certificate of coverage

What is excluded from Nationwide Travel Insurance?

All travel insurance plans have key exclusions. Before you file a claim, it’s important to know what situations are excluded from Nationwide plans. Exclusions on these plans include:

  • War, Invasion, acts of foreign enemies, or civil war: If a war breaks out while in your destination country, don’t count on Nationwide Travel Insurance to pay out benefits. Any acts of war are specifically excluded from your travel insurance plan.
  • Participation in underwater activities: Although deep sea diving and spelunking may sound tempting, injuries or death resulting from underwater activities are not covered under this plan. But recreational swimming is covered, so don’t be afraid to get in the water.
  • Piloting an aircraft: Regardless of your status or experience as a pilot, operating an aircraft is not covered by Nationwide Travel Insurance plans. This includes actual piloting, learning to pilot, or acting as an aircraft crew member.
  • Participation in hazardous activities or bodily contact sports: Much like other travel insurance plans, participating in activities such as rock climbing, hang gliding, rugby, or rodeo are not covered by Nationwide Travel Insurance. Nationwide Travel Insurance does not offer a hazardous activity add-on benefit, so you shouldn’t participate in hazardous activities while covered by these plans.
  • Accidental injury or sickness when traveling against a doctor’s advice: If a doctor says you shouldn’t travel, it may be in your best interests to follow their advice. Should you get injured or ill, Nationwide Travel Insurance will not cover your treatment costs as a result.
  • Confinement or treatment in a government hospital: Voluntary or not, receiving care in a government hospital is not covered under your travel insurance plan. But in some situations, the United States Government could seek claim payment for treatment.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth: As with most travel insurance plans, pregnancy and childbirth is not covered. However, should you experience complications from either, those may be covered by your trip insurance.
  • Services not shown as covered: Simply put: if it’s not on your travel insurance certificate of coverage, it isn’t covered.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of all exclusions. Before filing a claim, be sure to refer to your certificate of coverage to see all exclusions.

How do I file a claim with Nationwide Travel Insurance?

Nationwide Travel Insurance does not allow you to file a claim online, nor do they allow you to access the required claim forms online. Instead, if you need to file a claim, you must first contact Co-ordinated Benefit Plans, LLC, who processes the claims on behalf of Nationwide. The number you will call will depend on which plan you purchased and can be found on the Nationwide website.

When you call, a customer service agent will help determine if your situation may be covered under your plan and will forward claim forms you will need to return. When completing your claim, be sure to submit supporting documentation, including receipts, doctor’s reports, or time-stamped lost luggage claims with your common carrier. A claims adjuster will then determine if your situation qualifies for payment under the policy.

Some situations, like doctor or facility referrals, may be handled through Nationwide’s 24/7 travel assistance partner, On Call international. Contact phone numbers, both toll-free and collect, are available on Nationwide’s website.  

Who are Nationwide Travel Insurance products best for?

Hands down, Nationwide offers the best travel insurance products for those embarking on a cruise. Because of their specialized attention to the needs of cruise travelers, their three cruise insurance plans provide an increased level of care that many others can’t provide. If you are planning a cruise and are concerned about the worst that could happen, you should definitely consider Nationwide’s cruise insurance plans ahead of plans offered by the cruise lines.

The single trip plans are comparable to many other plans, but the costs do not necessarily equate to the level of coverage you are receiving. In addition, the medical coverage offered by the plans are secondary, which could be okay if you don’t have any other medical insurance available. Before you decide to purchase a single-trip plan, be sure to weigh all your options: filing an emergency medical claim may require you to exhaust any options available through credit cards or other sources first.