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What you should know about travel insurance (and maybe don’t)

June 11th, 2019  |  Travel Insurance

There are still Canadians that appear to be confused about travel insurance, a recent study by The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA) reveals.

Thirteen per cent of Canadian aren’t sure if they have travel insurance before going on a vacation and, of those that bought travel insurance, 17 per cent don’t know what their policy covers. This could in part be explained by the fact that people mistakenly believe their provincial health insurance covers them when they go overseas or to the United States.

THiA president Brad Dance recently told Global News he believes the confusion stems from people not knowing what kind of coverage they have. And Dance stressed that travel insurance is important to both your health and wallet.

Provincial health plans limited

To illustrate his point, Dance said a person that breaks their leg in California may face a hospital charge of anywhere between US$35,000 to US$50,000. What people don’t realize is that their provincial health plan will only cover in the range of five per cent of that amount. That’s why Canadians need read the fine print.

Whether you’re a cross-border shopper, business traveller, backpacker, snowbird or family on vacation, emergencies can happen. You can fall ill, trips can be cancelled or luggage can be lost. Not all policies, however, are created equal. Some people may have travel insurance coverage through their employer or even their credit card, but there may be gaps that need to be covered by a standalone policy.

And, if you plan to travel several times a year, a multi-trip policy may be better. But if it’s the annual family trip to Florida, for example, single trip coverage may be preferable.

Factors affecting travel coverage

There are a number of factors that affect the cost of standalone travel insurance including:

  • How long you’ll be gone (be sure to inform the insurer the number of days that need to be covered);
  • Your age;
  • Your health. Always tell your insurer if you have any pre-existing conditions;
  • Where you are travelling in the world;
  • What you plan to do. Some higher risk activities – such as skydiving or parasailing – may be excluded.

While not a Canadian case, a woman from the state of Georgia found out earlier this year it really does pay to read the fine print.

Donelan Andrews told CBS News she was planning a trip to London, England, with six of her friends when she purchased travel insurance and read the contract. The insurer, Florida-based Squaremouth, had hidden a contest deep within the policy’s fine print, rewarding a client for completely reading the legalities of the policy. All of a sudden Andrews was $10,000 richer!

READ MORE: Woman wins $10,000 for reading fine print on insurance policy

While you may not enjoy such a windfall before you travel, your broker can help you win by selecting the right insurance policy so you can travel with the peace of mind that you’re covered!

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