What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance covers only trips cancelled for very select reasons. A significant medical problem or pre-vacation accident may occur. The death of a close family member also qualifies. You will need to provide documentation regarding the reason for your cancelled travel to have the claim paid. Not going on the trip for reasons other that serious illness or a death requires you to purchase more expensive cancel-for-any-reason coverage.
Flight delays or cancellations could cause you to miss your cruise ship or tour departure. The cost of meeting the ship/tour at the next destination may prove expensive if you do not have travel insurance to cover the cost. If the flight delay is weather related, the airline is not responsible for your lost vacation or additional travel costs. Lost or delayed baggage could require you to purchase expensive wardrobe replacement items at your destination.
A failure to obtain an appropriate entry visa for any country that requires one will not trigger trip cancellation/interruption insurance unless the visa requirements were imposed after your trip booking and your visa application was denied.
A lost or expired passport before leaving for a scheduled trip will likely not be covered. No insurance company is willing to pay for your mistakes. If your passport is lost or stolen while you are out of the country, contact your insurer and the Canadian consulate immediately.Out of Country Medical Insurance
Travel medical coverage is for unforeseen accident or illness. Pre-existing medical conditions may not be covered.
Most medical plans have a requirement that any medical condition from which you suffer be stable for a period of time before you travel. This period could be from 30 to 120 days depending on the insurer and the type of coverage you wish to purchase. In the case of a more serious medical condition, you may not get coverage for that condition at all, or only after a period of years of stability following the last event. This is especially true for heart conditions and cancer.
If you have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure be aware that it must be stable. A change in prescription medication, even a reduction in the dose, is sufficient to affect travel insurance. If you have an incident while away, your insurance company will request medical records to ensure the correctness of the medical statements made on your application.
If you are at an age, (usually 59) when obtaining travel medical insurance requires that a medical questionnaire be completed, do not leave anything out. If you fail to disclose a medical condition or a prescription medication you are taking, your entire policy is voidable by your insurer; even if the omission has little to do with the medical emergency for which you need treatment. If it is learned after the fact that some of the information on your application is incorrect, the insurance company will simply return the cost of the insurance and void your policy. You will have little recourse if there was an omission on your application.
Pregnancy related medical problems may not be covered or may be limited. If you are pregnant take extra care to ensure that you are covered; including for a premature birth.
Vacations excursions like para-sailing or skydiving probably won’t be covered by standard travel medical insurance. If you plan to do any activities that could be considered adventurous, ensure your policy will include coverage for injuries you might sustain taking part in these activities. This includes travelling for purposes of engaging in sporting events. Travel insurance can be upgraded to cover such activities.
If alcohol is determined to be a primary contributing factor to an injury sustained on your vacation, your claim will likely be denied. All-exclusive packaged holidays tend to encourage higher than average consumption, which corresponds to increased risk of injury.
Foreign medical facilities may not provide treatment or permit you to leave unless your medical expenses are paid in full. They will want confirmation from your insurance company that the care is covered, or you will be required to pay up front. If you are required to pay cash, you can apply for reimbursement provided you retain receipts. Know what kind of plan you have and how to get in touch with them in the event expensive care is required.Travel Advisory and Warnings
A travel advisory may affect your travel insurance. It is important to check to see if a travel advisory has been issued for the location you intend to visit. Check once when you book your vacation, and again shortly before you depart. Trip cancellation coverage may be triggered by a travel advisory issued after you book your travel. Natural disasters, terrorist activities or political instability can cause travel advisories. You have the choice to stay home without losing the cost of your trip if you have purchased the right coverage.
Travelling to a county with a travel advisory in place may impact your medical coverage. If an advisory has been issued for the country or area to which you plan to go, travelling against the advisory advice may void your policy.
There are countries that require that you have travel medical insurance. These include Cuba and South Africa. If you cannot provide proof of medical insurance, you may be denied entry.Carry Your Travel Insurance Information with You at all Times
During your vacation, keep your insurance information handy. Advise your travel companions where it can be located in the event you need emergency medical attention. You must contact the insurance company immediately to ensure that the cost of your care will be met. Most policies come with a small pocket card with toll free numbers to call from your country of travel. Like ID, it should be carried with you when you leave your lodgings. Don’t count on your phone or access to e-mail at your destination.
If you are required to pay up front for emergency care, insist upon a receipt as well as a copy of the medical records relating to that care. Many resorts have a doctor or nurse that can be called in to provide medical assistance at a cost.
If the insurance company determines that the best course of action is for you to be returned to Canada, accept the arranged flight. If you choose to stay, the cost of your care will become your responsibility. A trip home in an air ambulance can cost as much as a house. If your hospitalization occurs in the United States we assure you they can, and will, seize your assets in Canada to cover your account.Not Leaving Canada?
You will still require out of province medical coverage if you have a medical emergency. The same insurance requirements apply for domestic travel.I Have Travel Insurance Through My Credit Card
Travel insurance offered through your credit card may assist with some of the expenses associated with a problem while you travel. Lost or stolen items purchased with that credit card or flights cancelled that were paid for with that card are examples of what they may cover. If you have not read the policy about what your credit card insurance covers do so before purchasing additional insurance.Read Your Policy Immediately on Receipt
There are no universal rules for travel insurance. It is up to you to read the policy to confirm that the coverage will meet your needs. While we can advise you of issues to watch for, there is no substitute for checking your actual policy!
Most travel insurance policies have a window of opportunity to cancel without charge. Ask when you are purchasing. If after reviewing the complete policy you find that it does not cover what you expected, cancelling within the time frame and locating insurance that meets your needs will save you time and money in the long run.If You Travel to the USA by Road on a Regular Basis
Travel insurance can be purchased for a specific trip or for multiple trips. If you are crossing the border on a regular basis for a day or weekend, policies can be purchased for any number of days per year you wish to have coverage. Keep track of the number of days you have used so you don’t accidentally exceed your limit.Why is My Travel Insurance Not Paying My Claim?
The most important thing you can do if you have a problem when you are away from home is to keep all receipts for out of pocket expenses. As in accidents at home photographic evidence is helpful. Insurance companies will demand documentation before approving payment.
If your travel insurance company has denied your claim, contact us to review your policy and your claim documents. If you have purchased sufficient and correct insurance to cover your loss, we can help.
Unless you don’t mind losing the cost of your vacation and covering expensive out of country medical treatment, purchasing sufficient travel insurance is an important part of your travel planning.