Tips for buying travel insurance

by Joy Blenman

You may be in perfect health, or just going away for a day or 2.  But accidents can happen.  Here’s what you need to know about buying travel insurance.

Imagine you’re on vacation in the Caribbean.  The sun is warm, the water that surrounds you is a vibrant blue and the landscape is lush.  You’re in a picture-perfect paradise.  But suddenly, you begin to feel ill.  When you can’t shake it off, you decide to go to the local doctor, who treats you and assures you that you’ll feel better soon.  But then you feel worse, because as you leave the office, you get a hefty medical bill.

Nobody wants to pay for added expenses after splurging on a vacation, but a trip to the hospital overseas could leave you on the hook for a medical bill in the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.  Each year, there are countless headlines about Canadians who’ve run up exorbitant medical bills while on vacation without travel insurance.  Even a quick jaunt across the border to shop or catch a ballgame carries the risk of a crippling expense – and while your provincial health insurance may reimburse you for a small portion of the cost, your coverage is capped at the provincial fee limits for the treatment you received, if that treatment is covered at all.

And yet, only 47% of Canadians “always purchase travel insurance” before taking a trip, according to a 2014 Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada survey.

So why are so few of us insuring ourselves when we travel?  Insurance terms can seem complicated, but a good insurance provider will clarify what the jargon means and make getting insured a smooth process.

How to pick a good travel insurance provider

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