Have an exciting weekend across the border planned? How about a long vacation in Spain? Shopping for travel insurance definitely isn’t as fun as the trip itself (or even any other part of trip preparation), but being prepared is essential. You’re probably super busy packing, preparing for pet sitters and all the wonderful things that go into being away from home for any period of time, so you don’t want to be messing around looking for the right package.
The easiest and quickest thing to do is to check with your current insurance providers (for house, car and non-work-based health) to see if they offer short-term trip protection.
The second easiest and quickest method is to see if your credit card company offers insurance, beyond just covering your goods if they’re lost, stolen or damaged.
The third option is going to a “third-party” of sorts; a company you don’t already deal with in some way. Many travel agencies offer trip insurance, for example.
No matter where you choose to buy your trip insurance, keep in mind the following points as you shop around.
Ask A Ton of Questions About Coverage
Each insurer is different and you need to know what is covered and what is not, to what amount, for how long, for how many people, if there’s any out-of-pocket (deductible) etc. What is the cap on emergency services? Is a dental emergency covered (sometimes, they’re not). What if you get into an at-fault car accident? What liability coverage do you have? Does it combine with your existing auto insurance? (this is also something to check!). Worst case scenario, but a required question, are funeral costs (like transportation of your remains) covered?
Get extensive details of your coverage in writing to carry with you at all times on your trip.
Know Someone Who Travels A Lot?
Ask them for a referral. No doubt they have their finger on the best price and best coverage.
Multiple Trips Coming Up?
Ask your insurance agent about any possible extension plans. Depending on your needs, it may turn out cheaper to insure multiple trips at once instead of buying separate plans each time. It really depends on how many trips you’re taking and how spaced out they are.
Consider Your Activities While Away
Are you going to St. Lucia and relaxing on a beach all day, every day? Or, are you planning on sky-diving, snorkeling with sharks (that may not all be friendly) and other high-risk activities? If so, you need to disclose this information to your insurance agent. Some policies may have higher premiums for risky behaviours, or they might opt your coverage out completely. You want to make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident.
Is This a Birthday Trip?
Sounds crazy, but this might be relevant depending on the age you were before you left and the age you’ll be while away. Let your insurance representative know you are turning a year older because it may affect your policy, however unlikely.
Are You Pregnant?
If so, especially in your last trimester, it is incredibly important to find a policy that will cover any kind of complications that might result in you being hospitalized. You want to make sure that you (and possibly your newborn) are covered in the event you go into labour in a foreign country.
Travelling to War-Torn Areas?
One, we’ll commend you on your bravery. Two, we won’t question why you’re going, but know that some policies won’t cover injuries sustained in these kinds of zones.
Don’t Know Where To Start?
Here is a list of Canadian insurers to help get you going. Happy travels!
Learn even more about travel insurance from the Canadian Government here.