Your trip is booked. It’s time to escape the winter and soak in the sun on a beach for a week. You remembered to pack your bathing suit, sandals and sunscreen… but did you remember to get travel insurance?
“When you’re travelling outside of Canada, health coverage is important,” explains Andrea Higgins, CAIB, with Caldwell Roach’s Truro office, “For a relatively small fee, you’ll be covered for up to $10 million in medical expenses, like hospital fees, ambulances, and so on.”
If you’re under 65 and in good health, plans start at less than $50, and vary depending on the duration of your vacation. If you’re a snowbird heading south, plans are also available for longer trips, but may have provisions for existing medical conditions.
“If you’re a frequent traveller, we also have an annual policy option,” she says, “That way you don’t need to worry about a new policy every time you take a trip.”
Your travel insurance must be arranged before you leave, preferably at least a week ahead of time. If your policy is more complicated due to medical reasons, you should allow for more time as a doctor’s approval of your trip may be required for coverage.
“For an average policy, we can start the process over the phone and email you the documents,” Andrea says, “You can literally look after your coverage while you’re packing.”
But keep in mind, having health coverage doesn’t mean you’re invincible when you travel.
“All policies have fine print and exclusions,” she goes on, “But one of the benefits of purchasing your coverage through an insurance broker is that we will take the time to review that information with you.”
You may not be covered for hazardous activities, like skydiving, and you may be denied coverage for illness or injury due to use of illegal drugs or abuse of alcohol.
“But nothing is more dangerous than not having health insurance when you travel,” Andrea concludes, “Medical costs outside Canada add up quickly, and could be in the thousands of dollars for just a minor illness. Your vacation could end up being memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.”