7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Travel Insurance

February 24, 2016

March Break is one of the busiest times of the year for Canadian airports. To put it in perspective, Toronto’s Pearson Airport expected almost 226,000 passengers during the first two days of March Break last year, compared to the daily average of about 100,000 passengers. That’s a lot of extra people coming and going.

If you’re travelling anywhere this March break—or at any other time for that matter—you’re going to want travel insurance. Travel insurance at its most basic level protects you if you face an emergency medical situation while out of the country.

But not all travel insurance is the same. Here’s a list of things you probably didn’t know about travel insurance, including what to ask and what to look for in a policy.

1. The Canadian Government recommends you get travel insurance

“If you plan to go abroad, even on a day trip to the United States, you should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada,” the Government says on its website. “The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills.”

2. Travel insurance may not cover risky activities

Depending on your policy, you may not be covered if you are injured doing particular activities such as extreme sports or while under the influence of drugs or excessive alcohol. Don’t wait until after to find this out. Read your policy carefully and look for any exclusions, then ask about those exclusions to make sure you’re fully covered.

3. Travel insurance must be purchased before you depart for your trip

Like any other insurance policy, you need to purchase insurance before something happens. For example, you cannot purchase emergency medical coverage after you have an accident abroad, you must already have a policy in place in order to be covered.

4. There are different types of travel insurance

You can purchase travel insurance to cover emergency medical, trip cancellation and trip interruption, lost baggage, flight delay and flight interruption, or you can get packages that include the more popular coverage combinations. At minimum everyone should get coverage for medical emergencies when leaving the country.

5. It is possible to get coverage if you have a pre-existing condition

But most providers require a period of stability including no changes or new conditions, symptoms or medications during a specific period prior to your trip (usually three to four months). Otherwise, accidents or emergencies related to pre-existing conditions are generally not covered.

6. You may be required to pay upfront

Your policy may include a deductible or co-payment clause requiring you to pay for part of the expenses, usually between 10 and 20 per cent. You’ll also want to check with your insurance provider to find out how their reimbursement policy works—will you be required to pay for anything upfront, or will they handle it on your behalf? Know this before you depart for your trip.

7. Not all travel insurance policies are created equal

This is why when you’re comparing travel insurance policies you want to look at both the cost and the policy details. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better, so be sure to read the fine print. If you have questions, double check with the insurer before you purchase the policy. Compare travel insurance policies and rates today to find the policy—and rate—that’s right for you.

Also, don’t forget to bring your policy number and insurance contact information with you on your trip just in case anything happens.  It’s advised you keep this information on you at all times.

Now have fun, be safe, and enjoy your trip!