A Gift to You—For 2016

There is no better time than this Christmas–New Year season to do a little thought-planning about the forthcoming 12 months and if (and where) you’ll likely be travelling. If you’re like millions of other Canadians, you’re likely planning more than one trip

And if any of those trips are out of the country, you should definitely consider the annual multi-trip policy as an anchor of your itinerary. Why has the annual plan become so popular, rapidly becoming indispensable for seasoned travellers? Simple: it saves money. And, depending on how much you travel, a lot of money.

Other reasons? Flexibility and simplicity. You apply and sign up only once, travel when and as often you want (even on the spur of the moment), don’t need to call your insurer, and benefit from a fixed rate. No hassle. No time-consuming paperwork.

Here’s how the annual multi-trip works and why it’s one of the fastest growing options in travel coverage today.

Different insurers offer various coverage periods. But generally it goes something like this: choose a specific coverage period—say seven days (perfect if you’re a frequent day-tripper, sports fan, or weekend border-hopper) or 15, 30, 45, 60, or more. Then take as many individual trips up to your designated maximum throughout the year, with no limit. But you must return to your home province (not just anywhere in Canada) for at least one 24-hour period before you head out on another trip—no fusing one trip segment to another. However, if you do need to extend one of your trip segments (say you have a 30-day plan and you need 15 or 20 extra days on one or more occasion), you can buy a top-up for that segment from your insurer. Just call and tell them what you need, and they’ll arrange it.

Why is this a cheaper option? Let’s say you buy the 15-day annual multi-trip. In effect, your insurer is taking the risk of covering you for 15 days. That’s far less risk than ensuring you for 60 consecutive days, so your rate is considerably lower per covered day. Why? Because the longer you’re out of your province, the greater the chance you might have an accident or heart attack and run up some big medical bills while on the insurer’s watch. Think of it this way: if you’re a golfer, your chances of being struck by lightning are far greater if you are out on the course 200 days than 20 days. Less risk per day.

There is also the reality (and you should have your insurance agent explain this to you) that if you generate a claim on one of your trips, you will have to notify your insurer, who will then adjust your rates for your forthcoming segments. You’ll still have your remaining segments, but they may be priced differently and perhaps have some additional conditions put on them—depending on your new health profile. But if you have no claim, your policy remains intact—no changes, no hassle.

We’ll make one caution: though you will not have to advise your insurer when you leave on a trip segment, be sure to document your exits and entries from your province. Such documentation may become necessary should you generate a claim and your insurer asks for proof that the claim occurred during one of your designated trip duration segments. That’s easy enough to do with your trail of gas, hotel, and restaurant credit card bills or passport stamps, though passports only track when you have returned to Canada, not necessarily your province. Talk to your agent about this aspect.

Save money and simplify your life. What else  could you possibly ask for this year?

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