Travel Insurance Travel Coverage

How does Good Sam TravelAssist differ from travel insurance?

Jan 12, 2022

Carl Corder
Medical emergencies can occur wherever we travel. And dealing with emergencies in an unfamiliar place only compounds stress and confusion.
By Carl Corder

A lot of confusion surrounds the topics of emergency medical assistance and travel insurance. Too often, travelers mistake one protection for the other or believe one negates the other. Or different plans cover different issues on the road. It’s tough to know what’s covered under your plan and tougher still to know which option is best for you.

But let’s simplify the discussion. And let’s start with three truths:

  • Emergency medical assistance and travel insurance are two different protections.
  • Plans in either category can vary widely in regards to what’s covered.
  • Any assistance or insurance plan you buy needs to be completely transparent about its coverage.

From there, it helps to know what travel insurance covers, what emergency medical assistance covers, and what Good Sam TravelAssist provides our customers.

What does travel insurance typically cover?

Travel insurance can be a great tool covering some common “what-ifs” we have as travelers. What if I’m injured while traveling? What if my flight gets canceled? What if a natural disaster interrupts my trip plans? Travel insurance can be a real financial and practical benefit. Below are typical offerings.


Protection from medical expenses is standard with most travel insurance plans. But that’s a generalized offer, so inquire to learn what an individual plan covers. For starters, is it primary or secondary coverage, and how does your travel insurance plan deal with pre-existing conditions?

Primary or secondary will work differently with your regular medical insurance—with secondary covering things like co-pays after your regular insurance goes into effect and primary coverage getting billed first.


Trip coverage protects you from the costs associated with the plans that never come to fruition due to cancellations, interruptions, or emergencies. If you have to cancel a trip due to a sick family member or other extenuating circumstances, travel insurance can help.


Lost or stolen luggage is often covered standard with travel insurance. So if your clothes and possessions go missing, you will be reimbursed to pay for their replacements during your trip.

Note: some plans require you to fill out a claim that itemizes lost items before reimbursing you. Others will reimburse you on the trip with no requirements–even for delayed luggage.

What does emergency assistance typically cover?

At a glance, travel insurance can appear to offer the whole package. So aren’t other coverages just offered for more adventurous or accident-prone travelers? Not quite. There are more gaps in travel insurance than you might think, especially with a plan that includes a lot of stipulations about what’s covered and what’s not.

Good Sam TravelAssist plans assist with medical emergencies that occur during travel, protecting you from some costs that your regular insurance and travel insurance don’t cover.1 And they take some things a step further. Let’s look at a few typical coverages.

Medical transportation

Did you know most travel insurance won’t cover the costs associated with transferring you to a different hospital or care center based on your needs? It’s as simple as getting injured somewhere where the nearest hospital doesn’t have the adequate care you need, and you end up spending tens of thousands of dollars for transportation to a better facility. Good Sam TravelAssist would pay for those transportation needs.

Medical records transfer

When experiencing an emergency while traveling, medical workers likely won’t have access to your medical records and insurance information. They could need to reference them to provide you with the best care possible. Many travel assistance plans can help with records transfers and other valuable, lesser-known logistics items.

Return services

What happens once the immediacy of your medical emergency passes and you still require travel home, to your RV, or a recovery center? This is another oft-forgotten necessity that many travel insurance plans doesn’t cover. Travel assistance will work to cover the costs of returning you and your family home. In the case of Good Sam’s TravelAssist, they will also coordinate the return of your RV or vehicle home in certain situations.

Continuous coverage

Most travel insurance plans cover you trip-to-trip opposed to travel assistance programs like Good Sam TravelAssist that offer annual, renewable memberships. And that’s related to the type of coverage they provide. Travel insurance covers a specified situation—hence, the stipulations. Travel assistance offers certain continuous coverage, so travelers don’t have to worry.

What does TravelAssist cover?

Good Sam TravelAssist coordinates medical assistance and return services to reduce out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care and returning you, your family, and your vehicle back home. TravelAssist has identified the pain points of travel insurance, and it offers distinct coverage plans for an array of traveling situations–whether traveling alone, with your partner, family, or pets.

Interested in learning more about Good Sam TravelAssist? Travel insurance and travel assistance plans require transparency. Check out our plan details to discover the specifics regarding what it covers, who, and in what situations it’s applicable–including the ways you save in the long run.

1Benefits described are intended as an overview, please refer to your Plan Description for details on coverage and benefits. TravelAssist does not provide coverage for medical expense, and does not take the place of medical or travel insurance. If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., contact a trusted travel advisor to learn more about acquiring travel insurance prior to your next trip.