An estimated 26.5 million Canadians traveled abroad last year. Around half going a short distance across the U.S. border, with the rest travelling internationally. No matter how far you plan on going, it's a good idea to get some protection.
Traveler's insurance is a smart move, considering that provincial healthcare does not cover you abroad. If you're stuck in the U.S. and you get hurt, the bill may set you back years trying to pay. Flying without insurance leaves you open to a host of financial setbacks.
Get covered in the event of a flight cancellation, booking delay, lost or damaged luggage, and copies of your papers. How does travel insurance work? Let's learn more about it.
Finding Travel Insurance
When planning for a trip, keep an eye out for travel insurance packages. Most major booking sites will offer a sponsored insurance offer. We suggest avoiding those offers, as you will either:
- Get inadequate coverage with lots of caveats.
- Overpay for adequate coverage that makes claims difficult.
Travel insurance requires you to read the fine print. You'll need to research and read reviews to know what you're really getting. Compare prices for different plans and try to use it as leverage for lower quotes.
Try to aim for under 8% of your total vacation budget when purchasing travel insurance.
Types of Travel Insurance
Your travel insurance costs are going to differ based on a number of factors. Basic travel insurance covers cancellations, delays, and luggage. There are other extras, expenses, and ways insurance is calculated.
There are insurance plans for outdoors travelers, covering more risk. There are insurance plans for more expensive travel gear (bikes, camera, computers, etc.). Your insurance may differ based on medical conditions and pregnancy.
Car rental protection is another great example of important travel insurance to have. There's even travel coverage if it's cut short due to bad weather, company bankruptcy, or an airline strike. This coverage is more expensive, but it does buy you peace of mind for the trip.
Just in case something occurs amid or before travelling, you have to contact the insurance agency at the earliest opportunity. You should always keep careful track of your records. In the event that a tragedy happens with the family, you need a verified note and duplicates of any bills sent to you.
When you need to drop your plans because of work, you would require a letter from your boss. Also, when recording a case you should present all composed documentation to your travel provider. It's essential to take note of companies that offer travel protection with clauses for high-risk activities.
It's essential to read through the fine print. For instance, some insurance agencies will cover trekking or biking accidents, stopping at an elevation of 3,000 meters. That's not going to cover much if you're going up to the mountains of Colorado, for example.
What's more, the maximum coverages come with a higher rate, just to feel safe outdoors. For many, this is still valuable for first-time excursions into wilderness unfamiliar to them. Any insurance is better than none, right?
Lastly, there are also insurance packages that get offered seasonally. Usually, these are reserved for holiday destinations, weddings, and snowbird season for Canadians. You won't know what is available unless you ask questions and lay out your plans with an agent.
How Does Travel Insurance Work? Tips and Advice
There's a lot of great tips and advice for travel insurance--too many to list here. We'll start you off with some of the most useful and common situations faced. Travellers should always try to find others with personal experience before trying anything out.
Get travellers' insurance to prepare for the unexpected, i.e. changing the length of stay. Not all insurance companies offer the opportunity to change your insurance after departing. Ask about policies regarding extending the length and breadth of coverage.
Never assume something is covered, make sure you get it in writing. Call in advance if you know you're going to need to extend your coverage. Make claims as soon as you can, even if it means taking time out of your trip.
Insurance companies often impose strict deadlines to catch customers who take their insurance for granted.
Purchase your coverage inside seven days of the date you make the departure on your vacation. Anything later than an assigned cutoff date — by and large 7 to 21 days, as set by the insurance agency — are less inclined to cover everything. If you have prior ailments (yours or those of relatives at home), or fall ill on the way there, it won't get covered. Emotional health concerns are commonly excluded from coverages.
In the Event of Disaster
Those who are worried about possible terrorists/shoots/natural disasters should read the fine print. Terror attacks or catastrophic events could have special clauses. You'll likely get refunded if one of these events occur inside 30 days of your departure.
And still, at the end of the day, if your agent offers a substitute schedule, your insurance may end up cancelled. With respect to catastrophic events, you're secured if the hotel or airport is destroyed. Epidemics, war conflicts, and legal persecution are big caveats to most travel insurance plans.
Provincial Health Coverage
Remember, not all medical expenses are covered by plans, such as OHIP. When you're travelling abroad, you could foot a large part of the bill, depending on where you're travelling.
Think about that the guidelines and the expenses for medicinal administrations fluctuate from territory to region. One of the biggest potential costs explorers could cause is emergency vehicle administrations, either by ground or via air. Contingent upon the area, the expense for ground rescue vehicle extends in the thousands of dollars.
While flying home by means of air emergency vehicle could cost you even more. Provincial health coverage should be extended by travel insurance packages.
If you forget to bring your prescriptions with you (big 'no-no'), you'll also risk having to pay hundreds for them. You might even have to pay exorbitant processing fees if you're visiting the United States. X-rays, examinations, and bloodwork will also fetch a pretty penny.
Dental coverage is even worse. Emergency dental bills will not get covered by provincial healthcare in the States.
Theft is particularly troubling when you consider the dollar estimation of the things we take with us nowadays. Computers, shoes, cameras, cell phones, and clothes lost would hit hard for most of us. There's only so much you can do to prevent luggage theft, pickpockets, and thieves.
Prior to purchasing insurance, learn how they decide the claim amount from the stolen articles. Get a list of the repayment limits for each category and see if it will be enough. While you're at it, check with your mortgage or renter's insurance policies.
Price compare and see which one is the cheapest, making note that the deductible still applies. For example, you have a $1,000 deductible and your $700 camera is stolen, your policy is useless. Instead of purchasing separate protection, it might bode well to add a rider to your current insurance to cover costly things while you travel.
Document everything you're taking with you that you can't afford to lose. Take pictures, get receipts, and store it somewhere safe. You'll need all the evidence you can get in order to win your claims.
Plus, there's a chance that you may get your belongings returned if the police find the matching serial numbers. Best case scenario, you get your insurance payout and your stolen items afterwards. When visiting a foreign country, consult help from the hotel manager and local police for incidents of theft.
Travel Smarter and Party Harder
Travel insurance isn't a license to suddenly become careless. On the contrary, you need proper preparation in order to make use of it. Take your time researching what is out there and talk to a travel agent to understand how it works with other insurances.
Talk to your doctor about your medical needs abroad and ask your family about their experiences. Credit card companies may also offer incentives and travel deals that can cover some of your costs. Understand that the level of coverage is always higher from dedicated travel insurance agencies.
So, how does travel insurance work for you? Start by getting a quote from us right here for personalized options. You'll not only find the most comprehensive travel insurance packages but also the lowest prices, thanks to our comparison tool.
Get a response in less than five minutes and find the perfect plan for your next trip. You can also call us at our toll-free number 1-877-574-RISK (7475) if you'd like more information about the products offered on our site.
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