Question: With all of those insurance plans out there, how can you be sure you’re getting the best price?
Answer: By doing what you would if you were buying a car: compare products from different insurers, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and not oranges, and be realistic.
Though most Canadian insurance plans offer pretty well the same benefit levels—they vary a lot in terms of their eligibility requirements, pre-existing conditions allowances, deductible levels, the complexity of their medical applications. And jumping from website to website to compare these elements can drive you crazy.
Consequently, we have assembled most of the major travel insurance providers in Canada on this site so you can make direct comparisons of their products, eligibility requirements and premium prices, and you can shop right online—whether you are planning to leave on your vacation next week, or not until your next March break.
Though there are literally thousands of plans available to you under various names from brokers, motor leagues, membership associations, banks, and credit unions, the great majority of them are administered or underwritten by only a small number of plan providers or underwriters, among them Manulife, TIC, etfs, Travel Underwriters.
Our advertising team has assembled plans from all of these major providers so you can have the broadest possible choice of policies to analyze, ask questions about, ascertain that they fit your health needs, and compare.
Make use of this consolidation system, it can greatly ease your shopping and assure you that you’re getting what you need, at a price that’s within your budget.
What should you look for when comparing products?
Deductibles. Don’t compare a product that requires a $250 deductible to one that offers $0 deductible. But please do consider deductibles as part of your prudent purchasing. They can save you a lot of money over time.
Pay for only what you need: Most snowbirds will likely not need trip cancellation insurance. You’re not likely to lose any deposits and you’re probably not travelling by plane on a tight schedule. Ask you insurer if trip cancellation is automatically included in your plan and are you paying extra for it? Others may well need trip cancellation coverage and it’s a good benefit, but maybe you don’t.
Consider annual multi-trip plans if you intend taking more frequent, shorter trips, say, no more than 30 or 60 days. (They also come in different trip duration denominations). These plans base their prices on only the 30 or 60 day coverage segments, not the totality of time you will spend out of the country in a year. You also sign up only once a year and take as many 30 or 60-day trips as you wish during the year. It’s a lot cheaper, because the coverage periods are shorter. All of the advertisers on our site offer annual plans.
Groups. If you’re travelling with a group, ask your insurer for a discount. If you can bring in additional customers, your agent may be able to squeeze out a lower premium for all of you. It’s worth asking.
Non-USA. Because the United States has such high health care costs, premiums for travel south of the border have to build those costs into their premiums. But several plan providers advertising on TIF offer non-USA plans which offer lower premiums for travel to areas outside the U.S. But be careful: if during an emergency you need to be air- lifted to a hospital in the U.S., you will likely be charged a premium. And in case of a life and death emergency in say Mexico, the Caribbean, or South America, you may very well have to be air-lifted to a hospital in Houston, or Miami, or Los Angeles. But if you know you are not going to traverse the U.S., consider the Non-USA plan.
Premium prices may soon rise, so even if you’re not planning on travelling right away, you can still lock in insurance for a future date and pay today’s premiums. The only caution is, if your health status changes between the time you sign up, and the time you leave, you must tell your health insurer of the change.