Buying travel insurance before leaving on vacation is vitally important. Whatever your destination, travel insurance will be your best ally in the event of a medical emergency and having it will allow you to travel with peace of mind. To protect yourself with the best available coverage and make an informed choice, here are some mistakes to avoid when purchasing travel insurance.
- Buying based on price instead of coverage
Before making a purchase, find out what is covered by each travel insurance plan. Pay close attention to the applicable reimbursement amounts or deductibles (i.e., the amount you must pay out of your own pocket in the event of a claim), and make sure you understand what is covered and what is not. Cheaper insurance plans may leave you unprotected if they don't fit your needs or travel plans.
- Not disclosing your true state of health
Most travel insurance policies will not cover an illness, an injury, or a medical condition that was present prior to your departure date. These are called pre-existing conditions. If you receive treatment for a pre-existing condition during your trip, your insurer could decline your claim. Answer all questions honestly and carefully check that all the facts you provide about your health are truthful. This will ensure you can avoid any surprises at time of claim.
- Purchasing a plan at the wrong time
Insurance companies insist that you purchase your travel insurance plan prior to you leaving your province of residence. Make sure both your physical and financial well-being are fully protected at the very start of your trip, buy before you leave.
- Not covering the full duration of your travel
Travel insurance must cover your entire trip – that includes the day you leave to the day of your return. If you’d like to leave earlier or extend the duration of your trip, you must contact your insurer before you leave and before your policy expires to inform them of the changes to your travel dates.
- Not reading your contract
It is essential to carefully read your contract before you leave. That way you’ll know what is covered and how the policy works. If you have questions about certain clauses or are unclear about them, don’t hesitate to call your insurer for explanations that are full and clear.
- Failing to re-read the contract before each trip
Get into the habit of re-reading your contract before you leave, especially if you purchased the policy a while ago. That way you can make sure that the statements you made at the time of purchase are still valid. If, for example, your health has changed or other circumstances have changed (such as having consulted a physician or your treatments have been altered), contact your insurer to make sure that you are covered and under which terms.
- Not questioning whether some activities are covered or not
Most insurance policies have exclusions and limitations concerning activities you might want to do while you are away. For example, your policy might not cover extreme sports like rock climbing or parachuting. When purchasing your insurance, make sure you discuss your travel plans with your insurer. Read your contract carefully before you leave for your trip and avoid any situation that puts your safety and your financial well-being at risk.
- Relying on your group insurance or credit card travel insurance
If you have travel insurance included in your group insurance plan or credit card, take the time to read the policies and make sure that they include the coverage you need. Often, these benefits have several limitations, especially regarding the maximum duration of the trip. If they are not suited to the trip you’re planning on taking, check if you can personalize your coverage to your needs.
- Travelling to another province in Canada without travel insurance
Despite what many people assume, your provincial health insurance plan does not cover all emergency medical care costs when you are outside your province of residence (for example, prescription drugs, ambulance, emergency repatriation, etc.). Even when travelling in Canada, having travel insurance will ensure that you are fully covered when you travel.