It may not quite “feel” like spring yet, but many Canadians are starting to pull themselves out of that winter funk and plan for their family vacations. While packing your new bathing suit, there is one thing you should remember to bring with you as well: travel insurance—something you should always have when going out of province or out of the country.
“What If” Scenarios
Most people don’t like to think about the scary “what if” scenarios that could occur while on vacation, but wouldn’t it be easier to enjoy your time away if you didn’t have to stress about the financial aspects of an emergency?
Pamela and Aaron are a young married couple in their mid 20’s from Ontario. They recently took a one-week vacation to Cuba and stayed at an all-inclusive resort. On the second day of their trip, Pamela’s face started to swell and her skin became red and itchy. Soon she was breaking out into hives. This had never happened to her before.
Unaware of any existing allergies, Pamela became concerned. Aaron suggested they purchase allergy pills from the hotel gift store, but realized the next day the medication wasn’t working. Pamela and Aaron made the decision to seek out medical help. Upon direction of the hotel staff they went to the nearest medical centre for treatment. After being treated by a local physician, she was prescribed medication that alleviated her symptoms. However, Pamela and Aaron were left with a medical bill just shy of $2000 CAD. This is far more expensive than the few dollars a day premium they would’ve paid for travel insurance.
For two healthy young people, who would have thought something like this would put such a big financial damper on their vacation, which ended up costing them more than the actual vacation did!
These “what if” scenarios happen more than you would think. Taking pre-emptive measures to protect yourself should not be disregarded as a ‘waste of money’. Think of it like putting sunscreen on to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. If you don’t, you are taking the risk of getting a painful and uncomfortable sunburn, wrinkles, sunspots, and even skin cancer. You are aware of these risks, and that’s why you protect your skin. Why wouldn’t you protect yourself from even higher and unpredictable or unknown risks—especially when they have the potential to become financially catastrophic? Enjoy your vacation stress-free by equipping yourself with the proper coverage. If you are unsure whether this is something you and your family need, consider the basics of travel coverage.
Travel Coverage Basics
Even if you are a young, healthy person, keep in mind that accidents do happen. Travel insurance will cover the costs associated with medical evacuation and hospital/clinic charges. The Canadian government will not bear any of the associated charges incurred while traveling.
Most travel insurance covers hospitalization costs in a semi-private room in the event of treatment for a medical emergency. Physicians’ fees and emergency transportation charges (by ambulance or air transport) are usually covered as well.
Some travel policies also cover the costs of transporting the body back to the point of departure in the event of death. This is called “repatriation of remains” and specialized companies organize and handle these situations. This is not something anyone wants to consider, but in case of a tragic, unforeseen circumstance, this is an enormous burden off the family’s shoulders if the person has travel insurance coverage.
Another factor to consider are travel advisories. Travel Advice and Advisories issued for your destination may impact your travel insurance. Some insurance providers may not cover travel claims that take place in countries with a travel advisory from the Government of Canada. Make sure to check the advisory status of the country you are planning on travelling to before booking on the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories page.
Employee Benefit Plans
Travel insurance is usually part of an employee benefit plan so if you have extended health coverage through your workplace, you will most likely already have travel coverage. Double check your travel policy before you leave and ensure you have everything you need in the event of illness or injury. Some travel policies have special rules surrounding existing medical conditions so make sure to go through it thoroughly if you think you may fall under this category. If you don’t have a group benefits plan with extended health coverage, individual travel insurance is easily available online or through your credit card and most likely through the travel company or agency you booked your trip with. Protect yourself, protect your family, and most importantly relax on your vacation without having to worry about the “what ifs”.