March Break Travel Plans? Make sure you have insurance!

by John McKiggan

Next week is March Break here in Atlantic Canada and I know many families are planning on travelling during the break.

I recently wrote an article for the Atlantic Canada Legal Examiner in which I discussed the plights of two unfortunate Canadians who were stuck with extraordinary medical bills after their travel insurance claims were denied.

So I decided it might be helpful to write a follow-up article with some advice on purchasing travel insurance.

Buying the Right Travel Insurance

Of course, I’m not an insurance broker, but I have seen the problems that people can get into if they don’t have adequate insurance or if their coverage is confusing or unclear.

So here are my tips for buying travel insurance:

(1) BUY IT! Travel insurance will usually cost a few dollars a day, but will be well worth the cost if you do end up in a tricky situation. Also, just the peace-of-mind it will give you on your trip will make having the insurance worth the cost.

(2) Do some research! I found this article to be particularly helpful.

(3) Buy a policy with a high healthcare coverage limit. You do not want to end up with an injury or sickness – receive treatment – and discover that your insurance only covered a fraction of it. Hospital bills can run up quickly, do not get caught in a policy where you are left holding most of the bill at the end of your treatment. I represented a client who was involved in a car accident in the States who received a bill for more than $200,000.00 for the medical treatment he received before he returned home.

(4) Ideally your policy should cover evacuations back to your home country.

(5) Pay attention to what your policy does not cover. Most policies will not cover extreme sports/activities unless you pay a premium. You need to think beforehand if you plan on bungee jumping or white-water rafting on your trip. Also, note that most policies will not cover anything that occurs while the insured is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

(6) Unless you want to end up like poor John and Joanne (the two Canadian seniors in my Legal Examiner article) be careful to disclose all of your previous medical conditions when you are buying your insurance. If you are not sure, make an appointment with your family doctor and read them forms to your doctor to make sure you answer the questions correctly.

Some More Tips

Here is another useful tip sheet put together by the CBC for the “tricky” world of travel insurance.

The cheapest injury is the one that never occurs, but the next cheapest injury is the one paid for by an insurance company.

I find that I enjoy my vacations even more knowing that I am covered if something terrible were to occur.

Pick a suitable policy, read the forms carefully, disclose all the relevant information, do not violate the terms of the policy while you are on the vacation – and most of all enjoy your trip!

Oh and say hi to Mickey Mouse for me.

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