Whether you’re planning a month-long trek in Nepal or simply crossing the border to go outlet shopping in Buffalo or Bellingham, having coverage under a travel insurance policy is an essential part of every trip.
Here are a few tips to consider the next time you purchase travel medical insurance.
1. Even if you already have travel insurance under an employee benefits plan, it is a good idea to check your coverage -- out-of-country medical coverage might not be available, or may not cover your spouse or dependents.
2. Some policies require you to purchase additional insurance for adventure travel, which can include hiking, bungee jumping, skiing or even safer activities such as caving or boat tours.
Make sure to check the fine print. Review your existing policy to see if you can top up your coverage and make sure you’re fully protected.
3. Have you ever noticed that when you book a vacation online, you are almost always offered the opportunity to buy travel insurance? It might be convenient, but it is almost never a good deal.
Take the time to do your research -- check out and compare rates from your financial institution, travel insurance companies and brokers as well as the online travel agency you are booking with.
4. Consider buying a multi-trip insurance policy, which means you will be covered for all of your trips for one annual rate. This can be a huge money saver, even if you take just a few trips each year.
5. If you are travelling as a family, you might be able to buy a single policy that covers all members of your family at a much cheaper rate.
6. The cost of your insurance policy is usually based on your age, the type of coverage you choose, the duration and cost of your trip and, in some cases, your health.
Disclose any pre-existing medical conditions you might have, and make sure to get everything in writing.
7. Some insurance companies require you to pay out of pocket for any medical expenses incurred during your trip, which they will reimburse upon receiving your receipts. Be sure you understand how your policy works so there are no surprises.
No one books a vacation assuming the worst, but it is something that we all have to take into serious consideration. When you’re travelling, even a minor accident can quickly turn into a major expense.
Buying travel insurance and understanding what you are covered for will provide you with peace of mind as well as a stress-free vacation.
Do you buy medical insurance when you travel?
Krystal Yee is a marketing professional living in Vancouver. She writes about personal finance at Give Me Back My Five Bucks, and the Toronto Star’s Moneyville.ca. You can reach her on Twitter (@krystalatwork), or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.