It doesn’t matter if you are booking a weekend get-away in Seattle, an all-inclusive week-long vacation to Cancun, or a three-week backpacking adventure around Asia or Europe—whenever you are booking a trip, inevitably you will be asked if you want to add travel insurance to your transportation package.
The question is, do you always need to say yes? Well, you hardly ever have to say ‘yes’ to anything in life, but there are several good reasons why you should say yes to travel insurance.
Here are the top 12 reasons to always buy travel insurance:
- Trip Cancellation – One of the most popular forms of travel insurance, a policy that includes trip cancellation insurance is designed to offer coverage to people who have prepaid for non-refundable travel expenses such as airfare and hotel deposits. Coverage only applies if the cause of the cancellation falls within the policy, so read it closely.
- Trip Interruption – Usually included in trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance covers the cost of your transportation in the event you have to get back home to tend to an emergency. While most emergencies take precedent over the cost of returning home, trip interruption insurance helps ensure you can afford to make it home without any financial set-backs.
- Emergency Medical Expenses – We know it’s not in your itinerary to break your leg on an epic hike, or have a severe allergic reaction to shellfish while in the Caribbean, but it happens. And when it does, emergency medical expenses are hefty. There is a wide range of packages out there that cover medical expenses, with a variety of different deductible options to choose from.
- Hospital Expenses – Paying to see a doctor and receive medical treatment in a foreign country is one thing, but having to pay for an overnight stay at the local hospital is an entirely out of this world experience/expense. Travel insurance can help you avoid these expenses in the case of the unthinkable happening.
- Prescription Coverage – Just like your employer’s insurance plan here in Canada might cover a variety of your day-to-day prescriptions, your travel insurance will cover unexpected ones that come up during your trip. Just don’t try to get your travel insurance to cover any pre-existing conditions—the adjusters will catch on right away.
- Natural Disasters – Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes take place far too often these days. If your holiday destination is ravaged by a hurricane or an earthquake, some travel insurance packages will kick in their travel cancellation policies and refund your money for your airline ticket back home. Nope, you can’t count on the airline automatically refunding you to get the heck out of there.
- War-torn Countries – Likewise, if a travel advisory from the Government of Canada is placed on the region where you are heading, your travel insurance might reimburse your prepaid expenses. Check the federal government’s Travel Advice and Advisories page as you are planning your trip and again just before you leave. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, call your insurance broker to verify your policy.
- Disease Outbreaks – No one can forget the most widespread epidemic of Ebola virus disease in history, which began in West Africa in 2013. And of course the current Zika outbreak of South America we are up against. While rare, these types of events are a real threat, and travel insurance offers coverage in the form of trip cancellation packages.
- Extended Stay Plans – For those 55+ snow birds out there, there are travel insurance packages suitable just for you. They are essential for anyone on fixed incomes who can’t afford unexpected surprises, and the premiums are quite reasonable, even for travellers with pre-existing health issues.
- Pet Return Benefit. Many travel insurance policies provide coverage for your pet’s safe return home if something happens to you. It’s not a widely advertised perk of travel insurance packages, so if you’ve got a furry family to consider, ask your insurance broker about this offering.
- Annual Coverage Options – If you’re a frequent flyer, travel insurance doesn’t have to be a built-in cost every time you book a plane ticket. Look into annual coverage options, which will make your life a whole lot easier. Multi-trip emergency travel medical insurance is designed for customers who travel frequently and want the convenience of having an annual policy that will cover all of their trips (up to a set limit of days per trip).
- Baggage Insurance – This one is among the most disputed travel insurance options out there. People wonder if it’s really worth paying to insure their baggage. “Doesn’t the airline reimburse me on the spot when they lose my stuff?” People think. Or, “Can money really help heal the pain associated with losing my favorite dresses and shoes?” SeaFirst Insurance Brokers believe that yes, it can! Baggage insurance is a form of travel insurance that covers you in the event your luggage is missing/lost. It’s a nice safety net, as airlines typically don’t cover you as well as travel insurance will. Think about it, and think about what you have to insure. Make sure to check with your broker about what coverages are included, and if any limits or restrictions apply. In some cases, the contents coverage under your Homeowners/Condo/Tenants insurance policy can offer better protection.
We are living in a turbulent world, which means that most travellers today view travel insurance as a necessary cost of the experience. To most people it is as essential as paying to bring a bag on an airline these days. Many people say their house is their biggest expense in life, but a mortgage will pale in comparison to the cost of healing yourself or your family in the event they experience a medical emergency in a foreign country.
The Government of Canada has this to say on the subject: “If you plan to go abroad, even on a day trip to the United States, you should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada.”
Why? Well, they spell it out for you, plain and simple: “Your Canadian insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada. Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover nothing or only a very small portion of the costs if you get sick or are injured while abroad.”
The Best Places to Get Travel Insurance
There are a variety of ways to obtain travel insurance. Many online booking sites will offer an option to add insurance upon checkout. While convenient, the price is often higher than if you were to go through a local insurance broker, especially if the charge is in American funds. What’s worse is that when you buy travel insurance at random like this, there is no one around to spell out exactly what you’re buying.
A better plan is to consider going through your travel agent, your employer’s insurance provider, or an insurance broker. Your credit card company might also offer travel and health insurance, but the coverage information might not be great, or readily available to you in time.
If you’re still unsure of what to do when it comes to booking travel insurance, or if you find yourself asking “Why should I get travel insurance?”, your best bet is to come see us at SeaFirst Insurance Brokers. We welcome you to call us at 1-877-655-1141 or you can visit one of our seven locations to obtain a custom proposal to fit your travel insurance needs.