Assistance

A Helpful Guide to Plan for Travel Emergencies

Travellers need to stay informed and have a plan for emergencies in today’s world of increased security risks. Before you travel, make sure that you have a plan in place for your safety and security, as well as peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Step #1: Well before leaving home, make sure to keep a record of all of your travel documentation—flight numbers, destination details and arrival times, transit locations, hotels, passport number and photo—and don’t forget to record and copy the country and city codes of your destinations and transit points and make them immediately accessible to your people at home. And designate one responsible person to be the coordinator of the documents and any contacts should you run into problems. Remember also that if your itinerary changes in any way, your home base coordinator will not know about it as soon as you do.…

Brussels Attacks: A Security Perspective

Terrorist attacks are often perceived as unpredictable and random events, which increases societal levels of fear. Despite their randomness, however, there is often a logic behind the attacks that draws from underlying geopolitical, sociological, and security conditions. For instance, prior to today’s attacks in Brussels, the national terror threat level in Belgium was 3 out of 4. The general security environment in the region had been drastically altered following the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, particularly in light of the attackers’ potential links to areas of Belgium (specifically, the Molenbeek municipality within the Brussels-Capital Region). Salah Abdeslam, one of the suspected Paris attackers, was arrested just four days ago in Brussels. Stopping one terrorist cell, or apprehending its members, can push other cells into action. Some have wondered whether Abdeslam, speaking through his lawyer, could have used coded language to trigger members of the cell to carry out attacks.…

Protect Your Travel Investment in Times of Terror

Ongoing travel reservations to most parts of Europe have taken an unexpected nosedive in the wake of the Paris attacks and Brussels terror threats. France, perennially the top tourism destination in the world (84 million visits in 2014—far ahead of second-place U.S., which had about 70 million) has seen advance reservations and sales to museums, hotels, restaurants, and the Eiffel Tower plunge by a half or a third since mid-November. Will tourism rebound? Barring any new or recurrent catastrophe, it probably will. But to normal levels? And will there be a new normal? We can only wait and see… What does this mean for your plans for the upcoming holiday season and into 2016? We suspect that most of you who had planned to travel will follow through with your plans. And so you should, albeit with some new or added protections built in. One thing is for sure: you’ll need…

Understanding Your Medical Coverage When Travelling Within Canada

With the low Canadian dollar, the cost of international travel has significantly increased for Canadians. As a result, domestic travel from province to province is becoming a more attractive option for Canadians. Canadians are fortunate to have provincial Government Health Insurance Plans, but the gaps in health care when travelling province to province is still widely misunderstood. The Canada Health Act guarantees Canadians universal coverage throughout Canada, however “additional benefits” (e.g. prescription drugs, ground and air ambulance services) that provinces and territories may include under their respective health insurance plans, are generally not portable outside your province/territory of residence. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid, 50% of Canadians travelling in Canada still do not have travel insurance. The emergency involving Amy Savill, a 7-months pregnant Albertan resident, visiting family in Northern Ontario, is a recent example of how far Canadians still need to come in understanding the medical costs when…

How Long Can Canadians Stay Out of the Country?

How long Canadians can stay out of country or out of province is one of the most frequent questions asked of us. And though you might think it would require a simple answer, I must admit it could get a little complicated. Consequently, it’s time for an update. First is the issue of US immigration rules that apply equally to all Canadians, regardless of the province that you live in. Canadians are allowed to visit the US for up to six months (182 days) per calendar year. Nationals of other countries are allowed only 90 days. You can accumulate those days by one long trip, or an aggregation of several short ones. (There is some pending legislation in the US Congress that would extend that period for Canadian snowbirds to 240 days, but predicting what might happen in Congress is a hazardous game and we will explore the ramifications of…

Tips for Safe International Travelling

Lately, the world has been looking like a scary place to travel, especially in European countries like France and Belgium, where terrorist attacks and plots are dominating the media. Religious and political protests and manhunts have followed the January 7 attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which ultimately left 20 people dead and was then followed by anti-terrorism raids in Verviers, Belgium. Since the Paris attacks, it seems like a domino effect of world unrest has followed, with protests, threats, and an overall sense of unease. While the world will always be a place of conflict, it’s important to continue living and enjoying pleasures in life like travelling. If you have a trip planned overseas or were thinking of planning one, follow these tips to ensure safe travels abroad. Monitor government agencies If you know you’re travelling to a specific destination experiencing civil or political unrest, or if you’re unsure whether…

Need Help with Your Schoolwork? Visit Your University’s Writing Centre

One of the reasons we’re dedicated to taking care of insurancefor students like you is because we know you have enough things to worry about without adding health care to the list. A university education takes a lot of hard work. Many new students struggle with learning how to write according to their university’s guidelines—and that includes both native English speakers and those working with English as a second language. If you’re struggling with writing your assignments, you are not alone. Virtually every student faces this challenge—it’s part of the process! What you may not know is that there are resources available to help you improve your academic writing. That’s right—nearly every university has a writing centre, offering free consultations with tutors or writing workshops to help you out. From improving your writing style, or learning how to make a clear thesis statement, to learning how to properly cite your sources and avoid plagiarism—your school’s writing…

Planning to Study in Canada? Scholarships Can Help You Get Here

Are you planning to come to Canada as an international student? You’ve made a great choice! Canada has extensive study abroad programs that attract close to 100,000 international students each year. Taking the leap to study in a foreign country is a fast way to immerse yourself in a new culture. But between saving up for your tuition fees and considering overseas health care, studying abroad can seem more daunting than not. Luckily, international students can depend on financial resources and health insurance to help them afford such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t know where to start? The government of Canada’s website provides a simple way to find scholarships for international students like you. Select your home country to find a list of awards that you’re eligible for, then read on for more details on how to apply. Best of luck! For information on travel insurance and products, visit the…

Choosing a Roommate? Ask Yourself These Questions First!

While choosing the right roommate is a good way to head problems off before they start, there’s not much you can do to change your mind once the lease is signed. You’ll need to do your best to get along with the people living inside your home. And it’s not just about their behaviour… It’s also about yours! Consideration for others When sharing space with anyone, you must be considerate. Keep in mind that your daily routine is important—but so is theirs. There will come a time when you’ll have to adjust for your roommates—it’s inevitable. Don’t see it as a fight for your own space, but as a delicate balancing act for all of you. (This is easier when you and your roommates communicate well… and when there’s not one person doing all the adjusting.) For instance: I spent two years living with up to seven people in a…

You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers (Part 2)

We get plenty of interesting questions from readers like you—be they looking to purchase travel insurance coverage or simply confused about how much time they can spend in the US. Here’s a look at some of the questions you’ve asked us lately… Q: I am planning to travel abroad for an extended period of time—at least 10 years. How will this affect my health care? Will I have trouble re-entering the country? A: Did you say 10 years? If you’re a Canadian citizen, you won’t have trouble re-entering the country. But health care is a different story. Related: How Long Can Canadians Stay Out of the Country? All provinces have rules about how much time you must spend in-province each year to qualify for health care benefits. In most cases it’s six months; in some (like Newfoundland or Alberta) it’s five. You will definitely need expatriate insurance while you are…

You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers (Part 1)

At Travel Insurance File, we get plenty of interesting questions from readers like you—be they looking to purchase travel insurance coverage or simply confused about how much time they can spend in the US. Here’s a look at some of the questions you’ve asked us lately… Q: I am a Canadian citizen who has recently moved back to Canada after living abroad for an extended period of time. How long until I am eligible for provincial health care benefits again? A: You will be eligible for provincial health benefits three months after you return to your province and notify the government of your presence. During that time you must be physically present in the province. Since you wouldn’t want to be uninsured during that period, consider purchasing a short-term insurance plan to fill the gap. Q: I live near the Canada-US border, and sometimes I cross over for a few…

Save Money While Living Overseas

Go abroad and save money? While it may sound like an oxymoron, it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You don’t have to choose between your dream of studying abroad and all of your life savings! We all know that going on vacation requires a bit of a budget. But one of the greatest parts of life overseas is getting the chance to experience a new society. In other words: You are no longer a tourist. You’re a resident. So you don’t have to spend your time—or your money—hopping from one tourist spot to the next. Taking a more relaxed approach to discovering your new home will be rewarding for you and your bank account. How, you ask? Keep reading for some tips on how to have fun and save big! Learn how to cook Restaurants aren’t the only place to get a taste of authentic Canadian cuisine. Ask…