Do you need Travel Insurance for Alaska?

Travel insurance is not the most exciting topic in travel planning, but it’s an important one to think about and not just for international travel. Travel insurance for Alaska may not be necessary depending on your itinerary, but it’s an important consideration if you’re planning an Alaska trip.

I lived in Alaska for 7 years and now I help people plan their dream trips. I always encourage my clients to consider travel insurance and I often get travel insurance for Alaska myself. If I am staying in towns and visiting friends I don’t, but if I am going to remote areas or on small planes or ferries then I always get it.

This article will talk about why it’s a good idea to consider travel insurance for Alaska and how to decide if you need it.

It is particularly important to consider travel insurance if your Alaska trip includes a cruise, a small plane, a ferry or any remote lodging or other non refundable experiences.

This article contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

What is Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance is coverage that you purchase in advance of your trip that protects you from unplanned additional costs or money lost due to circumstances beyond your control while on your trip. This includes things like airline delays and cancellations, missed connections, injury or illness.

Different policies from different companies vary significantly in the coverage offered. This is why I like and personally use Insure My Trip, which allows you to compare many different plans at a time.

Travel insurance often costs just a few dollars a day and gives you incredible peace of mind about the unexpected. It can also help prevent financial loss from travel industry chaos or illness.

Some travel insurers (not all) offer “cancel for any reason” insurance, which is what you want if you want to be able to just cancel everything no matter what. This is much more expensive than trip interruption or cancellation insurance, which only cover if certain conditions are met (like illness, weather, natural disaster, etc).

Ultimately it is your responsibility to decide if you want to purchase a travel insurance plan and what type of coverage you need. Make sure to ask any questions you have and what will be covered and not covered in your plan.

I recommend deciding and purchasing travel insurance at the same time you book your trip. If you want until later, it costs more, and you might not be able to get coverage for everything you want.

Do you need Travel Insurance for Alaska?

While deciding whether or not to purchase a travel insurance plan is always a personal decision based on your personal financial circumstances and risk tolerance, there are some things to consider for Alaska travel that make considering travel insurance extra important.

I always advise my clients that if it would cause a financial hardship to have to give up the money you spent for your trip, then you need to consider travel insurance.

Additionally, if you’re traveling on a cruise, a small plane, a ferry or staying in any remote on non refundable lodging, or going on any non refundable tours, definitely consider it.

Alaska is expensive

Having to stay an unplanned night (or week) in a hotel in Alaska if you are sick, injured or something gets cancelled can add up fast and break your budget. This is not what you need when things don’t go as planned! Travel insurance covers unplanned costs like this while traveling.

Alaska has unpredictable weather

A white float plan at a gravel beach on a cloudy day. A person is loading a box into the back of the plane.
A float plan on the beach at Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park

Alaska’s unpredictable weather can throw a real curveball into your travel plans. This is especially true in remote areas accessible only by boat or small plane. Let’s say you booked a non refundable stay at a remote lodge and now you can’t get there because of the weather. Another possibility is that you have to stay longer than you planned because of weather. In both these situations, you can either end up losing a lot of money or having to pay a lot of extra money and it’s wonderful peace of mind to know that it won’t be a financial burden.

Traveling Around Alaska can be complicated

Between planes, boats, rental cars and trains, traveling around Alaska involves a lot of moving parts and with that many things going on, things can go wrong. Flights and ferries get cancelled, weather delays or cancels small plane flights or boats, etc. If your trip involves a lot of different modes of transportation, travel insurance is even more important.

The deck of a ship in a narrow passage of water between forested hillsides and islands.
Watching the Inside Passage from the deck of the Alaska State Ferry.

Many experiences in Alaska are non refundable

Hotels, lodges and tours in Alaska have less generous cancellation policies than in other places you may have visited in the United States. This is partly because of incredible demand and also because costs are very high to operate and the season is short outside of major towns.

The more remote or small the lodge or tour is, the more likely it is to be non refundable. Make sure to understand this when booking and consider it in your decision to purchase a travel insurance policy or not.

Getting to Medical care can be expensive

If you get injured or sick and are in a remote area, it can be very expensive to get medical care. Most people who live in Alaska off the road system have some type of medical evacuation insurance and visitors should make sure their travel insurance covers this. Your health insurance MAY cover treatment in Alaska (confirm it does before you go) but it probably will not cover a medical evacuation. Make sure your travel insurance does.

A snowmachine with a rider and a pair of cross country skis on a groomed ski trail with snow covered mountains in the background.
My husband getting a snowmobile ride from an Alaska State Parks ranger after tearing his ACL while cross country skiing at Hatcher pass.

Many people visit Alaska on cruise ships

More than half of Alaska visitors take a cruise for all or part of their vacation. It is extra important to have travel insurance if you are taking a cruise since cruises are nearly always non refundable.

a cruise ship at a dock with a couple of smaller boats docked near by. You can see some forest and a few hills in the background.
The Coral Princess docked at Ketchikan

My recommendation for Travel Insurance for Alaska

Make sure to look into the sources of insurance you already have before purchasing travel insurance specifically for Alaska. Take the time to understand what your health insurance covers while traveling and if you’ll be covered receiving medical services in Alaska.

Many travel credit cards offer some type of travel insurance as a benefit, but this varies widely so make sure to check with what your card covers. Make sure to book the trip with that card as this is usually a requirement.

Personally, I use Insure My Trip for Travel Insurance in Alaska as well as anywhere else I travel around the world. Insure My Trip is not a travel insurance company on it’s own, with Insure My Trip you can compare different plans across all the different companies offering travel insurance. I really like being able to see all the options in one place and easily compare them without having to go to lots of different websites.

You can include in your profile what features you need in your plan which is also really helpful for future trips. They also have a very helpful customer service team, where you can call them and talk to a real live person about your specific situation. Although I’m grateful I’ve never had to file a claim on my travel insurance for Alaska (or anywhere else), it gives me incredible peace of mind and removes a big source of stress from traveling.

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!