With Canada dropping all COVID-19 restrictions for travellers starting October 1st, 2022, and the holiday travel season approaching, it will be important for those planning to travel to speak with their Ontario insurance broker about getting travel insurance so they are financially and medically protected when travelling.
When planning a vacation or trip, it is important to invest in travel insurance to ensure your safety, health, and financial investments will be protected. Even if your trip is perfectly planned out, there are always unexpected circumstances that could arise, leaving you unprotected while abroad. We’ve highlighted some important information below to help you understand exactly why travel insurance is crucial for any vacation or trip.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a type of insurance you can buy that can help to protect you if you are travelling abroad or domestically. Travel insurance can help to protect and cover you from sudden and unexpected accidents, emergencies, costs, and losses leading up to or while you are on your trip or vacation.
Is it Mandatory to Have Travel Insurance in Canada?
Although travel insurance is not mandatory by law in Canada, it is highly recommended to help keep you and your family safe and covered while away from home.
Why is Travel Insurance Important?
Travelling while uninsured can be very risky and result in huge consequences. One of the main concerns is the extremely high medical expenses that can result if uninsured while travelling outside your province or country. Your domestic healthcare may not extend overseas and accessing healthcare in other countries can be incredibly expensive if you don’t have the right insurance and coverage. Travel insurance can also help to protect the financial costs and investments associated with travelling, including non-refundable deposits, and your luggage.
What is Single-Trip Travel Insurance?
Single-trip travel insurance covers you if you are leaving and returning home one time. Even if you are visiting multiple locations, if you are leaving home and returning once, it is considered single-trip insurance.
What is Multi-Trip Insurance?
If you travel multiple times a year, multi-trip insurance may be the best option for you. This type of insurance offers coverage for one calendar year, beginning when you first purchase coverage.
When Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
It is recommended that you buy travel insurance immediately after you have bought your ticket and arranged for your travel and accommodations. You may not be eligible for travel insurance once you have already departed for your trip.
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
There are many different types of travel insurance available, and your insurance broker will be able to help to find the best plan for your needs. Most travel insurance packages will include one or all of the following:
1: Medical coverage in case of an emergency, including accidental death or injury ( this can also include a medical evacuation)
2. Trip interruption, cancellation, or delays ( this can include a missed connecting flight due to a delay)
3. Delay or loss of baggage or other valuable belongings, including travel documents
Different Types of Travel Insurance
If you are booking your trip or vacation far in advance and it requires a lot of deposits, trip cancellation insurance may be a good option for you! Many things can change before the trip that could cause you to be unable to attend. You don’t want to miss out on refunds or be stuck paying non-refundable deposits, so be sure to consider trip cancellation insurance for your financial protection. Trip cancellation insurance is the only type of travel insurance that can be used before a trip or vacation.
Only certain reasons for a trip cancellation may be covered under trip cancellation insurance. Some of these reasons could include the following:
-Adverse weather, causing cancellation and delays from your carrier
-Sickness, injury, or death for you or your travelling companion, or if a family member is hospitalized or passes away and you are unable to travel
-New Vaccination requirements in the country you are travelling to, that you are unable to receive due to medical reasons.
-Job loss- if you have been employed with a company and are involuntarily terminated.
-Adoption- if you are adopting a child and have to cancel your trip because you have to attend a court proceeding, or if you are planning a trip to attend a proceeding and the proceeding is cancelled.
-Terrorist Act that happens within 30 days of travel in the area you are departing from or travelling to
-Extension of a school year of exams- if you or your travelling companion are not able to travel because the pre-defined school year is extended, or an exam period for you or your travel companion is extended
-Military- if your approved military leave is revoked before your trip, or you are called into active military duty due to a natural disaster.
-Labour strike- if a labour strike affects public transportation, making it not possible for you to travel
-Home or destination uninhabitable- if something like a fire, flood, or other natural disaster makes your home residence or the destination you are travelling to uninhabitable.
-Travel document theft- if you are unable to travel because your passport or visa is stolen
For a full understanding of what would be covered under trip cancellation insurance, make sure to speak to your Ontario insurance broker.
Trip Interruption/Delay Insurance
As trip cancellation insurance typically involves cancellations that occur before your trip starts, trip interruption insurance helps to cover you if your trip or vacation has already begun. This type of travel insurance is similar to trip cancellation insurance but covers you if you have already started your trip and have to end it early due to unexpected illness, forces of nature, or other covered reasons as listed in your policy. This type of coverage can help to cover the costs of returning home, as well as pre-paid trip arrangements and deposits.
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
One of the biggest stressors people have when travelling is the worry that the airline is going to lose their luggage. Depending on your destination, lost luggage can be a big bump in the road, or it can even become the centre of your entire trip. Due to how expensive it can be to replace the essential items in your luggage, this mishap can be very difficult to manage, especially if you don’t speak the local language at your destination. Lost or stolen baggage insurance provides coverage if your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen. This type of insurance may also provide coverage for important travel documents such as your driver’s license, travel visa, passport, or birth certificate if they are lost or stolen during your trip.
Baggage delay insurance helps to cover out-of-pocket expenses you may pay for buying items such as toiletries and clothing if your baggage is delayed in getting to you, due to no fault of your own.
Emergency Medical and Dental Insurance
As the name suggests, emergency medical and dental insurance helps to cover the costs of an unexpected medical emergency, such as an injury or illness that happens during your trip.
The following costs may be covered:
-A doctor’s visit, ambulance trip, hospital stay, or prescriptions.
-Meals and accommodations for you or a travel companion due to a medical emergency
-Returning your vehicle or a rental vehicle if you are unable to do so due to a medical emergency
-Emergency medical evacuation fees
- Bringing a family member or friend to your bedside or escorting you back to Canada
- Pet return, should their owner require a medical evacuation.
This type of insurance will replace your provincial medical insurance while you are away. The amount of coverage and costs for this insurance type can vary depending on your destination, age, and many other factors, so make sure to speak to your Ontario insurance broker about which coverage would be best for you.
It is highly recommended that you speak with your insurance broker before undergoing any medical treatment so that you can make sure you have adequate coverage.
Medical + Cancellation Coverage
An all-inclusive travel insurance bundle offers the most protection and comfort. This will be a combination of all the previously mentioned insurance coverages. Even though this plan is usually the most expensive, it has the most protection and can ease your travel stress immensely.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Covid-19?
Some insurance companies do have an Epidemic Coverage Endorsement that can offer cover for some losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. Make sure to ask your insurance broker for full details on the coverage stipulations.
What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?
Travel insurance is there to protect you on your trips or vacations when emergencies and unexpected mishaps occur. However, there are some preventable situations travel insurance may not cover. Each policy will have its own exclusions, but we’ve listed some of the most common exclusions for travel insurance below:
Reckless Behaviour and Activities
Vacations are a time to relax and let loose but if you are taking part in reckless behaviour that leads to an incident, it may be rejected for an insurance claim.
High Risk/Dangerous Sports and Activities
If you try to make a claim from any high-risk activities or sports you took part in, travel insurance may not cover you. Plan your activities ahead of time and check with your Ontario insurance broker to see which sports and activities are covered by your plan.
Leaving Belongings Unattended
Covering baggage loss or theft is common for travel insurance policies. However, if you have been reckless and left your bags unattended, in an unsecured location, or with a stranger, your travel insurance may not cover this.
If you plan to rent a car while on your trip, you need to ensure you are still following the rules of the road and practicing safe driving habits. If you are driving under the influence or someone unauthorized is driving the car, your claim may be rejected.
Changing Your Mind
With trip cancellation or interruption insurance, simply changing your mind is not enough to make a claim. The reason for cancellation will likely have to be an uncontrollable emergency circumstance.
It is important to note that travel insurance may not cover claims related to pre-existing medical conditions that existed before you purchased your travel insurance policy. Some insurance companies may require that any pre-existing condition be stable for a certain amount of time before the effective date on your policy. This can typically range from 90 to 180 days. It can vary depending on the insurance company, but “stable typically refers to the following: no new, or changes to treatments, no new symptoms or change in symptoms, no hospitalization, and no referral to a specialist.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
Travel insurance will vary depending on where you live, the type of coverage you decide on, your age and gender, how expensive your trip will be, and your departure and return date. It will usually cost an average of 4% to 10% of the total trip cost.
Before Buying Travel Insurance it is Important to Consider the Following:
-Where you are travelling to
-How old you are
- What method of transportation you are using for travelling
-What kinds of activities do you plan to do while you are travelling
-How often do you travel
The type and amount of coverage needed will differ for everyone, so make sure to contact your insurance broker to discuss what type of travel insurance is best for you.
Youngs Insurance Brokers can help you to feel protected and comfortable on your next vacation or trip by finding the best policy for your travelling needs so you are fully protected and can travel with peace of mind!
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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as professional insurance advice. The coverage, terms, and conditions of each insurance policy are unique and subject to individual circumstances. The information provided does not guarantee the availability or suitability of any insurance policy for your specific needs. You should not rely on the information in the blog as an alternative to professional advice from your insurance broker or insurance company. If you have any specific questions about any insurance matter, please consult a licensed insurance broker for personalized advice and guidance.