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Travel insurance is a type of insurance that protects your travel investment. It covers travel cancellation or interruption costs, as well as emergency medical assistance while travelling, emergency evacuation, damage to rental cars, lost luggage and other expenses. In a country like Canada, the medical component is crucial. Care outside the province is more expensive and offers fewer services than care in the home province.
Travel insurance comes in different forms. It is available as a stand-alone policy or as an add-on to a travel purchase, such as a flight.
This insurance is purposely made for adrenaline lovers with wanderlust. World Nomads insures a long list of volunteer/work experiences, sports equipment loss/theft and adventure sports. You also get access to a 24/7 customer center that offers information adventurous travelers may need: from travel advice, weather reports and help finding the nearest trail to finding a store for gear. The standard policy covers urgent medical expenses up to $5 million, trip cancellation/interruption, emergency dental care, luggage theft/damage and more. The downside to this wonderful insurance package is that you must be under 66 years of age to sign up.
CAA is a long-trusted Canadian institution that offers flexible travel plans for every type of traveler and holiday. However, their policy is particularly suitable for families only. Their standalone emergency medical policy of up to $5 million in health coverage is extremely comprehensive, including emergency dental care, medical repatriation, and pet care benefits. The Vacation Package Plan offers full cancellation/interruption insurance, ideal for prepaid, all-inclusive vacation packages, as well as family transportation and assistance for children during emergencies.
For vaccinated customers traveling during a Level 3 (avoid non-essential) travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada, CAA’s emergency medical plans now include coverage for COVID-19 related illnesses. If only partially vaccinated, coverage is up to $2.5 million, and if fully vaccinated, coverage is up to $5 million.
Blue Cross has been around for over 70 years and one in four Canadians uses their travel insurance. Blue Cross’s medical emergency coverage is up to $5 million, and it offers specific “snowbird” travel insurance packages for Canadians who spend part of the year in warmer climates, making it a great choice for retirees. The newly established Serenity Service is included in the package and it’s a free bonus that gives you access to an airport lounge or even a hotel room if your flight is delayed (depending on the length of the delay). In most cases, pre-existing conditions are not covered.
Travel CUTS starts at $1.36 per day. This insurance has been the “go-to” travel policy for many Canadians – thanks to their cheap travel insurance packages. Their insurance is also good for students as you can change your travel dates for free due to an exam schedule issue. Hospital and Medical has coverage of up to $1 million for air ambulance evacuation, dental care, accidental death, trip interruption/cancellation, and flight accident. These are all included in the basic package.
For those traveling as a family, a visitor to Canada or a student, Manulife offers very comprehensive travel insurance packages, as well as access to the TravelAid smartphone app, which provides directions to the nearest medical facility and local emergency phone numbers. However, TravelEase, a specific policy designed to cover fully reported medical issues, is undoubtedly the most notable service offered by this insurance company. It covers a variety of health services and transportation costs for travelers with pre-existing illnesses, as well as up to $10 million in emergency medical care, something rare in the travel insurance industry.
Medipac is one of the few travel insurance providers that has a team of certified medical professionals available to assist you through their Medipac Assistance hotline. In the event of a medical emergency, Medipac’s medical specialists are your first point of contact. This service is also beneficial in dealing with foreign medical systems and avoiding additional costs with a high deductible.
Medipac’s travel insurance policies offer several attractive features, a claim-free discount, no age restrictions and a 90-day stability period for most pre-existing conditions. If a regular Medipac insurance plan doesn’t cover your pre-existing medical condition, Medipac also offers custom underwritten insurance coverage to meet your needs.
Customers who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the new MedipacMAX option, will earn a 5% vaccine discount from Medipac. In addition to the other benefits, this COVID insurance option offers maximum coverage of up to $5 million for COVID-19.
What your travel insurance covers is determined by the insurer and the cover package you choose. Urgent medical care, trip interruption, lost or damaged luggage and trip cancellation are all common coverages.
If you already have additional individual medical coverage and are traveling within Canada, a basic plan that only covers flight cancellation may suffice. On the other hand, if you’re planning a ski trip to the French Alps, a comprehensive plan that includes emergency medical care and home evacuation can give you peace of mind if you take a bad fall on the slopes.
While it is not mandatory to purchase travel insurance when taking most vacations, it is still a financially credible thing to do. Because the financial cost of something going wrong while traveling is typically greater than at home, and travel insurance provides added security and peace of mind. Medical treatment is the best example of this, as most health insurance policies, both public and private, will not cover you if you travel outside of Canada. An uninsured foreign emergency can cost you thousands of dollars due to the exorbitant cost of medical care. Therefore, consider signing up for one of the insurance policies mentioned above.