Yes You Need to Buy Travel Insurance!

Do you really need travel insurance, even if you’re just crossing the border for a one night shopping trip to Seattle? Yes! No matter how close to the border you are or how short your trip is, there is no circumstance that you should ever leave Canadian soil without adequate travel insurance, at least the part that covers medical issues.

For most age groups, this coverage is quite cheap and if you’re only going on a short trip, you can purchase the coverage for just those couple of days. For frequent travelers, a multi-trip annual plan might make more sense. Most already realize the importance of this coverage – A quick visit to the emergency room in the US could cost you $10,000 and a major medical event can quickly run up a tab of $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more! For today’s article, I wanted to focus on some of the details you may not know about:

Plans are not all the same – When an uninsured medical emergency could destroy you financially, you don’t necessarily just want to take the cheapest plan and “hope” it’s good enough. Make sure you compare the coverage details of different plans and not just the price. For those that assume your work benefit plan or credit card program provide adequate coverage, make sure you compare this to a privately held option to see if it offers the same protection and if not, buy a second plan to fill in the gaps.

Coverage is very quick and easy to obtain – I ran a quick quote online for a 40 year old that’s planning a 3 day trip to the US. Total cost for a full featured medical insurance policy was $7.70! With such a low cost, the only excuse for not setting this up is pure laziness. For those under age 60, purchasing a plan is as easy as going online for 5 minutes and answering a few simple questions.

You must follow the rules – If you find yourself needing to visit the hospital while away, call the insurance company immediately. The companies are very strict with this rule and they want to be brought in to the situation as soon as possible so that they can co-ordinate payment from the start. Make sure to take the time to read the details of your plan and understand the exclusions and the coverage that you have. If you’re not sure how a plan works, take the time to ask questions and seek clarification.

Seniors should seek help – Once you hit age 60 (or 65 depending on the company), travel insurance becomes more involved. For anyone in this age category, I suggest you seek the assistance of a trusted advisor to help assess what plan is right for you. When filling out the application, it’s very important to list every possible pre-existing condition, medication and any other detail they ask about. When it comes to claim time, the worst thing that can happen is that the insurer finds out about something that you did not disclose. If you’re honest and open up front about everything, the insurer will have no reason to deny your claim.

Pregnant Women Beware – While many policies state that they cover pregnant women up to the 32 week mark, what they don’t tell you is that your unborn baby is not covered (or if they are, only for a very small dollar amount). I wrote a separate article on this issue last year and am happy to forward a copy to anyone that wants more information!

Once again, I’m running out of space here and I still haven’t covered half of what I’d like to say. Travel medical insurance is an absolute necessity for anyone venturing beyond our borders and based on the number of denied claims currently facing Canadians, it’s something that must be approached properly. Feel free to contact me or go to our website for more information. Travel safe!