Travel Insurance…. At last, your highly anticipated vacation is around the corner. Many credit cards offer travel insurance. As you count off the days on your commute to work each morning, thoughts of anything going wrong while you’re away couldn’t be further from your mind. Besides, you’re pretty sure you’ve got travel health insurance through your credit card anyway, right?
Millions of Canadians have some travel health insurance coverage, either through a policy that comes with a premium credit card or an employer-sponsored health plan, says Will McAleer, executive director of the Travel Insurance Association of Canada (THIA). “Some of those are more than adequate for Canadians who travel this winter.”
The problem is that many of us aren’t clear on any of the policy details, which likely include restrictions based on length of stay, age, cost of treatment and any pre-existing conditions you may have. Often, those details aren’t that visible to the consumer, who may have only glanced at the marketing brochure that came with that card or workplace healthcare policy, says McAleer.
Many of these policies expire after age 64 and won’t cover you for a trip longer than 15 days. Or they can max out too soon, designed to pay for a drop-in clinic consult for a case of pink eye but not an emergency medical evacuation if you injure your spine while skiing. If you’re skiing, travel insurance is a must.
In a recent survey, THIA found that only a little more than a quarter of respondents were clear about what’s covered by a travel policy they hold.
“If you make a claim, they’ll pore through your records to find any arguments you’ve breached the policy,” he says.
Tumarkin advises against getting insurance from a travel agent. Because they’re not brokers, they can’t advise you in detail on what a policy will cover. Instead, go to a reputable insurance broker. These pros sell policies from a variety of insurance companies and will help you understand the options. If your employer or credit card coverage isn’t sufficient, a broker can find you a policy that will top you up should you need anything more than the basic drop-in clinic visit.
Vacation costs add up, so it can be tempting to go for a bargain-priced policy offered by your travel agent and travel website. Travel insurance is key when traveling.
“Most people will go for whatever is cheapest, but there’s a reason why it’s priced that way,” says Tumarkin.
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