How Do You Know Which Plan Is Right For You?

The plan that’s right for you is the one that fits your age, the length of time you will be traveling, where you will be traveling, what you’ll be doing (climbing mountains or sky-diving), what you can afford, and most important, your individual health profile. The healthiest people usually get the cheapest plans. Remember, first and foremost, this is a restricted health policy and coverage is based on the insurer’s accurate knowledge of your health status and your own compliance with the terms as they are written in the policy. The fine print may be dense and interminable, but it rules. I have seen some travel policies that go on for more than 50 pages. And though you keep hearing “Read The Fine Print”, who are we kidding? But Please, at least read the summary of Covered Benefits and also Exclusions, and read carefully the definitions of Pre-existing Conditions, Stable and Controlled, Treatment, Trip Interruption and Cancellation conditions, and if you complete a medical questionnaire-read it all.

Misunderstanding questions about your health, not revealing pertinent health facts, “shading” the truth about your health so as to qualify for a lower premium category, failing to understand the terms of the contract with the insurer, or not complying with the policy requirements account for the vast majority of claims denials by insurers.

To make sure you get the best policy for your individual needs, start out by buying from an insurer, broker or agent that specializes in travel health insurance and doesn’t simply sell it as an adjunct to other coverages just to make a few extra dollars in commissions. If you have any doubts about who you are dealing with, ask if your agent, broker or the company issuing the policy is a member of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada. They should be. Sometimes you will see the THIA logo stamped on the policy. That’s a good endorsement. THIA is a professional group with established standards and educational programs for its members.

Travel health insurance is a specialized product and it requires specialized knowledge. For example, there are many travelers who will spend hours investigating the hotels and side trips they have purchased in a guided tour of Europe, but will simply accept the travel agent’s word that their medical policy add-on will “cover everything,” without even reading it. One thing you can be sure of: No Policy Covers Everything.

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