Personal Finance

Men take more travel risks than women and buy more trip insurance, survey finds

Key Points
  • Men are more likely to take travel risks amid Covid-19, a Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection survey finds.
  • Women are more likely to follow government health and safety recommendations, and favor road trips closer to home.
  • Men also demonstrated a greater proclivity to insure trips — likely because the type of trips they book tend to be riskier.

It's been said that men come from Mars and women, Venus. It looks like they're also headed in different directions when it comes to vacations here on Earth, according to insurer Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.

Women, in general, tend to play it safer when it comes to travel planning in the age of Covid-19, according to the insurer's sixth annual State of Travel Insurance research survey. (The fourth of 10 planned "waves" of surveys for the 2021 edition of the entire study was conducted the week of Aug. 15 among 136 travelers. A total of 564 travelers have been surveyed thus far this year.)

For example, while close to 60% of female survey respondents said they'd wash their hands or use hand sanitizer more while traveling as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 39% of males said the same.

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Men were also more than twice as likely to say they'd take risks in general when traveling, at 48%, compared to just 20% of women. That said, the insurer also found that men were actually much more likely to say news of disease outbreaks or violence would affect plans to travel to a chosen destination.

Six years of travel surveys have demonstrated that women "tend to be more prudent and sensible travelers than men," said Carol Mueller,  vice president of strategic marketing at Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.

However, "that doesn't necessarily translate into women buying more travel insurance because they're more prudent," she added.

Men tend to insure

Geber86 | E+ | Getty Images

When it comes to insuring trips, men are, in fact, more likely to buy policies, according to the company. More than 46% of men insured all of the trips they took in 2020, compared to just over 25% of women. Only 34.6% of men insured no trips, compared to 49.5% of women.

Among travelers of both genders who did buy travel insurance, just 24% of men cited fear of disease outbreaks as a reason to insure, compared to 38% of women.

The top reason women gave for buying travel insurance was to cover flight delays and cancellations, while men said travel insurance saves time and money. Men tend to spend more on travel, with just 48% of men spending under $5,000 total on travel this year, compared to 70% of women.

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Amid this year's an ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, women making travel decisions for themselves and their families are opting for road trips, family vacations and group travel closer to home, Mueller said.

"That, by and large, in the industry does not translate into higher levels of buying travel insurance," she noted.

Men, on the other hand, are more open to solo, international, business and adventure trips, the kind of journeys travelers typically insure. They also turned out to be more interested than women in cruises and culinary trips.

Looking ahead to 2021, more than 93% of survey respondents of all genders said they plan to travel next year. Favored destinations among American men and women include the U.S., Europe, Canada, the Caribbean/Central America, and South America, the company said.