Travel Insurance

Compensation for when you get sick, injured and hospitalized or when your trip is interrupted, cancelled or when your baggage gets lost or damaged.

Why do I need Travel Insurance?

ToGo Travel InsuranceWhen you leave the province and go anywhere, especially south to the United States (US) or anywhere else in the world, do not assume that your provincial government health insurance will cover all the huge medical and other costs associated with being hospitalized or treated by a doctor. Most certainly your public medical card will not cover trip interruption or cancellations. Proper travel insurance is not expensive, but a medical need, trip interrupted, or other emergency can can result in serious financial woes. Travel insurance = financial safety; do not vacay without it !

Things can go wrong on our trips. It is a fact of life.  But an overnight stay in any hospital not in your home province (or in Canada) will cost you tens of thousands of dollars. For e.g. a typical US ambulance ride (if it is a short ride) can cost somewhere around $4,500 USD. (Not in Canadian funds, but US funds, so figure out the currency exchange. You have to pay it.) One overnight stay in an emergency room in the US can go for $20,000 USD. Don’t believe it? Remember, foreign travellers have to pay for every band-aid, medical procedure, blood transfusion, emergency doctor, nurse, therapist, medic, ambulance ride and any other piece of equipment (oxygen, blankets, tubing, heart monitors, etc). As a foreign tourist, you are not entitled to any of that country’s government health programs. You have to bring your health and emergency insurance with you. The US is especially notorious for not offering public health care to their own citizens, never mind tourists. E.g. a car accident in the US which causes you to stay in hospital for a couple of days can easily cost you $90,000 USD, depending on the treatment you get. This is not an exaggeration. Medical care is very expensive. Unless you have insurance, you pay out of pocket. And people do lose their savings and their homes paying for medical emergencies.

How does it work?

Travel Insurance is coverage organized similarly like your car insurance.  There is often a deductible, you select the options you like (for e.g. medical emergencies only, or add trip interruption and trip cancellation).

Travel insurance is calculated by age, gender, and how long you are travelling. In some types of insurance you have to do a medical questionnaire, especially important for older travellers or those with pre-existing medical conditions. E.g. for those snowbirds going south for the winter, there are special travel insurance plans you can purchase. However, always disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. Also disclose if you are doing any particularly dangerous activities or sports, such as diving deeper than 30 meters, sky diving, fast water kayaking and similarly dangerous activities. There are special high risk insurance plans for those.

Remember, you want coverage for all those activities in case you get injured and need evacuation (note, rock climbers, hikers, mountain climbers) and require medical help. Rescues, evacuations, medical services are very expensive and you will be given an invoice to pay. Sadly, even if you die on your trip, the cost of your repatriation home and the funeral costs will be sent to your estate ( and that may mean someone like your family will be stuck with all the bills). The bills are large, in some cases catastrophic. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance.

What if I have travel insurance through my work?

If you have workplace Group (Employee) benefits, you may have some travel insurance through that program, in which case you may simply want to top up with private travel insurance. Or, you may have private extended health insurance. Many of those insurance plans come with a travel insurance rider. Again, check to see your coverage with whatever other insurance plan that you have and add top up Travel Insurance to make sure you are adequately covered.  Some credit card companies and vehicle emergency and vehicle insurance plans may carry some travel insurance as well. Double check – do not assume you are covered. Assumptions do not pay medical bills !

When do I get travel insurance?

You buy it BEFORE you leave on your trip. Remember, it is too late to buy insurance when you need it. You buy insurance before a need arises. You can buy a One Time trip or an Annual Plan, if you travel all the time in a year.

What about COVID-19 coverage?

There are many travel insurance carriers that carry special coverage in case of trip interruption, cancellation, hospitalization or even quarantine due to Covid-19 illness. Speak with your advisor about this specific type of coverage. It may come as an additional rider or be included in the plan that you choose.

Travel insurance – don’t Vacay without it!

Bon voyage!

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