If you ask me, should I buy travel insurance? My answer will be Absolutely Yes!
When you are young and healthy, you probably don’t even think about it or are absolutely sure you don’t need it. Nothing going to happen?! Right?
More experienced travelers or people of a certain age, probably purchase it.
Personally, with age, I am more concerned about having travel insurance and coverage for unexpected medical or emergency situations, because everything might happen on the road, whether it’s a business trip or just a vacation… Any accidents, injuries, emergency or health problems…
My husband and I always buy Trip Cancellation and Interruption plans for our trips, but Medical Travel Insurance is included in our standard benefits package from work.
I think traveling without insurance might be a costly mistake.
But what type of insurance should you buy?
What is the right coverage?
Let’s figure it out together.
Types of insurance:
There are three important plans: Medical travel plan, Trip Cancellation and Interruption plans.
Most of the time Travel Insurance includes only Medical travel plans. Trip Cancellation and Interruption plans are sold separate.
Sometimes Cancellation and Interruption plans can offer coverage for baggage loss/ damage/delays and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance.
Medical Travel Plan
While you are traveling, accidents and health problems can occur. To protect yourself, you might consider buying a Medical Travel Insurance.
What Travel Health Insurance should COVER:
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Unexpected injury
- New medical conditions which occur while traveling
- Physician services
- Ambulance Services
- Dental Emergency
- Prescription medication
- Emergency Transportation
- Return of the deceased
Trip Cancellation & Interruption plans:
Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption plans offer financial protection for events that cause cancellation or disruption of your travel plans.
This is another important plans, which might look the same at first glance, but it is not. They are different.
But what is the difference between them?
Trip Cancellation Plan – covers expenses before your departure date.
Provides reimbursement for prepaid trip payments and deposits if your trip needs to be cancelled before you leave for an unexpected covered reason.
Trip Interruption Plan – covers the rest of your expenses after departure date.
Provides reimbursement for unused, prepaid trip payments and deposits, as well as economy airfare home, during your interrupted trip.
Extra Insurance: Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance ( AD&D ) – Usually added to a Health, Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption insurance policy.
AD&D insurance is limited and generally covers unlikely events: accidental death or dismemberment, which includes loss of body parts or functions (e.g., limbs, speech, eyesight, and hearing).
The questions to ask before you purchase the plan:
- What does insurance cover? For example: unexpected injury, new medical conditions, chronic conditions, hospitalization, ambulances, physician services, diagnostic services, prescription drugs, etc.
- Is there any deductible, and how much is it? Note: Plans with 100% of coverage are more expensive, but may save money in the long run.
- How much and what percentage of the cost of emergency treatment is covered by the insurance? For example: 100% with a maximum of $250,000 or 80% with a maximum of $150 per doctor visit, etc.
- Do you have a waiting period? Note: Usually it is 48 hours
- In the case of a Medical Emergency during your trip how quickly should you report the incident and open the claim?
- Do the benefits provide the direct payment option or do you have to pay out of pocket and submit a claim for reimbursement after the trip?
- Do benefits cover transportation for your return home?
- Do benefits include Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance?
- Does it offer coverage that is renewable from abroad and for the maximum period of stay?
- Do benefits include coverage for baggage loss/damage/delays, trip cancellations and interruption plans? Note: Usually not, but I think it is ok to ask.
- Do benefits cover expenses for replacing lost or stealing documents and tickets?
Carefully review and verify all information: the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy.
What is NOT COVERED?
This is another important question to ask your agent.
Conditions that might not be covered are:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Abuse of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicants
- Sports and high-risk activities
- A child born during a trip
- Claim related to pregnancy, delivery or complications
- A travel advisory issued by the government stating ‘Avoid all non-essential travel’ or ‘Avoid all travel’ regarding the country, region or city of your destination.
What you need to know before making a claim:
There are some more things to know about your coverage.
You have to understand that insurance never wants to pay you. To make a claim and be covered you have to have a real serious unexpected situation and provide evidence that you can’t travel and have to stay/return home.
If something happened and you have to cancel or interrupt your trip you will need to gather all records:
- medical bill,
- doctor notes, etc.,
to proof that serious situation causes cancellation or interruption of your trip.
Situations like changing the mind, breaking up with a girlfriend/boyfriend, the death of a friend, someone’s surgery, unstable preexisting condition, pregnancy, etc., might be NOT COVERED.
Also, the price for your coverage will be based on your age, health condition and smoking.
Where should you buy it?
Where should you buy it ?
- Broker agency – they work with different insurance companies, and they can find better coverage for you.
- Insurance Companies – Contact directly with insurance companies and see what they can offer. Popular companies in Canada are Manulife and Blue Cross.
- Banks – banks offer travel insurance, but usually more expensive
- Work – Some people have benefits plan from work and most likely the travel insurance included in the standard benefits package.
- Visa or master card – Some credit cards offer coverage if you buy tickets or rent a car using their credit cards. Usually it is cover baggage lost/delays or rent a car.
- Flight Tickets – Usually, you can buy insurance together with your flight tickets. This is probably cheapest option.
Hopefully, all this information will be helpful and you can make the right decisions before your trip.