Important Information about Travel Insurance: Expert Advice for Your Next Trip

Important Information about Travel Insurance: Expert Advice for Your Next Trip
Important Information about Travel Insurance: Expert Advice for Your Next Trip

Travel Insurance: Protecting Your Sunny Getaway

Planning to escape the cold and head to a sunny destination this winter? Before you pack your bags, it’s important to consider the potential risks and uncertainties that may arise during your trip. While the travel industry has made significant progress in resolving pandemic-related issues, there are still some kinks to be worked out. That’s where travel insurance comes in. According to Matt Hands, vice-president of insurance at Ratehub.ca, travel insurance can provide the necessary protection in case things don’t go as planned.

“The travel industry is still in a state of flux. It’s in a much better position today than it was a year ago, but flight delays and baggage loss can still happen,” Hands explained in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance Canada. “Having that peace of mind in coverage, which isn’t quite expensive to add on to a policy, is just something to give peace of mind in case something goes wrong.”

However, despite the benefits of travel insurance, not everyone chooses to purchase a policy before their trip. A 2022 survey from insurance software firm Ancileo found that approximately 68% of Canadians planned to buy travel insurance, with Baby Boomers being the most likely group to purchase coverage.

Choosing the Right Travel Insurance Plan

When it comes to selecting a travel insurance plan, both Hands and Suzanne Morrow, senior vice-president at InsureMyTrip.ca, recommend starting with a base package for short road trips or weekend getaways within the U.S. However, for longer or more adventurous trips, a more comprehensive plan may be necessary.

“If you’re engaging in risky activities like skiing overseas or paragliding, you’ll want a specific type of policy that covers these activities and provides adequate medical coverage,” Hands advised. “Standard policies won’t offer the same level of protection.”

In addition to considering the nature of your trip, factors such as pre-existing health conditions, trip cost, transportation methods, and destination should also be taken into account when determining the level of coverage needed.

Morrow emphasized the importance of insurance for trips with non-refundable expenses. “If you’ve already paid for a portion of your trip and something happens that forces you to cancel or interrupts your plans, having insurance can help protect your investment,” she explained.

Understanding Your Coverage

Many Canadians may already have some level of travel insurance coverage through their credit card or employer. However, it’s crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions of these plans to understand the extent of the coverage provided.

“With credit card travel insurance, you’ll need to purchase any additional coverage you require through your credit card,” Morrow noted. “If you’re concerned about limited coverage or specific risks, it may be wise to explore options in the retail market.”

Morrow also highlighted that employer-provided insurance often only includes emergency medical coverage, so travelers may need to seek additional coverage for trip cancellation or interruption.

It’s essential to know what coverage you have and what you may need to purchase separately. “The biggest mistake people make is assuming they’re covered without verifying the details,” Morrow cautioned.

Special Considerations for Snowbirds

If you’re a snowbird, spending your winters in a warmer climate, it’s crucial to have a specialized insurance package tailored to your needs. These packages offer multi-trip coverage for extended stays and provide comprehensive medical expense coverage.

“Snowbird insurance packages are designed with older individuals in mind, offering all-inclusive coverage that includes travel medical expenses,” Hands explained. “They anticipate the need for hospital treatment, medical supplies, ambulance services, physician services, emergency dental work, or even emergency return to Canada.”

According to Statistics Canada, around 375,000 Canadians spend part of their winter in the U.S. or Mexico. As the population ages and U.S. officials consider loosening restrictions on snowbird travel, this number is expected to rise.

Hands advised snowbirds planning to be away for more than a month to inform their home insurance provider about their travel plans. Neglecting to take necessary precautions or leaving your home unattended could result in rejected insurance claims if something goes wrong.

Conclusion

When it comes to travel insurance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While the travel industry continues to navigate through uncertainties, having the right coverage can provide peace of mind and protect your investment. Whether you’re embarking on a short road trip or an extended stay as a snowbird, understanding your insurance options and choosing the appropriate plan is essential. So, before you embark on your sunny getaway, make sure you’re adequately covered.

About the Author

Ben Cousins is a freelance journalist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @cousins_ben.

Quote from the Author

“Having that peace of mind in coverage, which isn’t quite expensive to add on to a policy, is just something to give peace of mind in case something goes wrong.” – Matt Hands, Vice-President of Insurance at Ratehub.ca

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