Winter and Christmas are right around the corner and many people are booking their winter vacations. The snow-lovers are planning to hit the slopes and the sun-soakers will be racing towards the islands. No matter where you decide to go this winter, travel insurance is something that you will probably be thinking about before you go.
Although you hope that nothing will occur on your trip, it is better to be prepared and confirm your travel insurance is in place and is right for your trip? Check out these 5 questions you should ask yourself when reviewing your travel insurance.
What is covered?
Often times when people purchase travel insurance, they assume that it will cover everything. It is human nature not to think that anything will happen on a trip, but if it does are you sure your travel insurance will cover it? On the other hand, many people believe that they have “travel insurance” on their credit card, but there are so many different types of travel insurance it’s difficult to know what it covers. The most common types of insurance for travel include emergency medical, trip cancellation, and lost or damaged baggage. Make sure you are prepared for anything and check out what your travel insurance covers before you leave so you aren’t suddenly left with huge bills on your return.
How many days are available on your policy?
Something to consider when you are reviewing your travel insurance is just how many days are available on your policy. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that insurance covers you for as long as you are gone. Travel insurance will have a certain number of days covered by the policy you have chosen. Will you need to top up your group insurance travel benefits to cover you and your family for your whole trip? You should also consider how long you would need to be in Canada for your travel insurance days to reset on your multi-trip or group insurance policy. It would be an unpleasant experience to go on a trip, come home and realize that your number of available days will not be ready for your next planned getaway. Also, check whether or not you can just come back to Canada or if you have to actually come back to your home province. All of these are important things to consider when booking extended or back-to-back trips!
Is there a pre-existing conditions clause?
If you have an existing medical condition it is a good idea to check if you are covered for any medical expenses related to that condition while traveling. Sometimes pre-existing medical conditions will not be included in the clause unless the condition has been considered stable. Speak with your travel insurance representative to find out about your stability period. Some stability periods will vary between policies and can be anywhere between 30 days to 365 days. Do yourself a favor and find out about any pre-existing conditions that could affect your trip and ensure you avoid any outrageous medical bills.
What is the claims process?
One of the biggest obstacles in claims being paid out is that people often forget to call the travel assistance number listed on their travel insurance card when an incident occurs. Many individuals do not realize that if a medical emergency was to occur on your trip, it is necessary to call the travel assistance number on the card within 24 hours. That way the travel insurance company can coordinate the claim directly with the medical staff at the time of the incident. If you do not call the number and make the claim when it occurs, when you return home you will have to apply for reimbursement from Alberta Health first, and then later through the travel insurance company. In some instances, this process may end up with your claim being denied. Save yourself the time and stress and avoid this long and tedious process. Be sure to figure out your travel insurance claim process so that if something is to occur on your trip you’re covered long before you get back.
The more information you have regarding your travel insurance, the more likely you will save yourself time, trouble, and money. If you find that your travel insurance does not line up with your plans, do not be afraid to switch to another company. If you don’t already have travel insurance please give us a call or visit our website and we can set you up for safety on all future trips.
We have included a short video for members of the Chamber of Commerce Group Plan. If you have Extended Health benefits on your group policy (and you did not opt out of the coverage) travel insurance is automatically included in your group benefits plan. This video will tell you about your travel insurance and give you information about how to make a claim. Please contact our office for more information.
Don’t take the risk of hoping the trip will be incident-free. Find the travel insurance that will be there for you 100% if anything were to happen. Even once you have fully covered travel insurance, we hope you don’t have to use it! May your travels be safe and filled with fun and joy this winter!