You’re an expert traveller. You deftly navigate airports, you fill out customs cards with your eyes closed, and you can be packed and ready to go for a quick weekend getaway in a matter of minutes. But there may still be one part of the travel experience that continues to challenge you: insurance. Even worldly travellers can be forgiven for being aggravated by applications, puzzled by pre-existing conditions, and confused by claims. So let us dispel 10 of the most common travel insurance myths and make you a better traveller than you already are. After all, your next trip is just around the corner.
- The Myth: The travel medical coverage through my work benefits or credit card is all the travel insurance I need.
The Truth: Even if you have travel medical coverage through your work benefits or credit card, additional non-medical travel insurance may be necessary. Check your existing coverage carefully to make sure it covers everything you need. And, if you require customized coverage for special needs like pre-existing conditions or adventurous activities, we will help you by shopping around on your behalf.
- The Myth: Travel insurance won’t cover my pre-existing medical condition(s).
The Truth: Look closer at most Canadian travel medical insurance plans and you’ll find that they’ll cover you for unforeseen expenses related to pre-existing conditions that have been stable prior to the start of your trip. To get the coverage you need, make sure to provide accurate and complete medical information when applying, and familiarize yourself with the exclusions and stability requirements in your policy.
- The Myth: Purchasing travel insurance is difficult because of complicated, lengthy applications.
The Truth: Most plans can be purchased online or over the phone in a matter of minutes. Even plans that require information about your health can have as few as 5 medical questions.
- The Myth: Travel Insurance is prohibitively expensive.
The Truth: Travel medical insurance can cost less than $2 a day, and there are many ways to save on coverage costs, including companion and family discounts, multi-trip annual plans, and early bird rates. The coverage you need may not be as expensive as you think. And when you think about how much it would cost to pay for medical care abroad, travel insurance is well worth a few extra dollars.
- The Myth: I don’t need travel insurance for trips within Canada because I am covered by government health care.
The Truth: While you’re provincial health insurance will travel with you throughout Canada, you may be surprised to find out what it doesn’t cover. Topping up with some additional travel insurance will fill in any gaps in coverage.
- The Myth: There’s no point in buying travel insurance because insurers always find a reason to deny a claim.
The Truth: An insurance policy is a contract between the policyholder and the insurer; this means that insurers must pay all valid claims. Not convinced? In 2011, Canadian travel insurance policyholders were paid a total of $620 million in claims.
- The Myth: I only need travel medical insurance for trips to the US because medical care is so expensive there.
The Truth: Travel insurance is not just for trips south of the border. We’ve all heard the horror stories about outrageous medical bills incurred in US hospitals, but you may be surprised to learn how much it costs to receive medical attention elsewhere in the world.
- The Myth: I won’t qualify for travel insurance because of my age or health.
The Truth: There are Canadian travel medical plans with no age limits. While some high-risk or unstable medical conditions cannot be covered, it is still possible for you to qualify for coverage for expenses that are not related to your existing health issue. This means that an unexpected illness or injury, like food poisoning or a broken bone, would still be covered.
- The Myth: I don’t need travel insurance because if I get sick on a trip, I’ll just pay to fly home right away.
The Truth: In the event of a serious illness or accident, you won’t have the chance to book a last-minute trip home. Instead, you’ll be rushed to the nearest hospital—at which point your medical expenses will begin accumulating. Travel insurance comes with emergency assistance services to help make sure you get the attention you need when you need it most and to transport you home, if deemed necessary.
- The Myth: It’s impossible to get travel insurance once I’ve already left on a trip.
The Truth: Some travel medical plans are still available for purchase after you’ve left home. Don’t give up quite yet! Speak with an insurance expert if you need post-departure coverage.
Consider yourself warned. Knowing the truth and ignoring the myths will make you a better consumer and a more informed traveller. Safe travels!
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