The Travel Insurance Guide for Canadians

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1. About this guide 2. Why you need cover 3. How to buy 4. Get the best policy 5. What's not covered? 6. Make a claim

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Get oot and aboot!

There’s no better feeling than escaping the daily grind; the wind in your hair, not a care on your mind. But travel is not all rest and relaxation! On the contrary, heading to new and distant regions can throw you any number of curveballs
 
Whether you’ve taken a spill on the sidewalk, been mugged in a market or picked up an exotic disease, our resident travel insurance guru Eugene Wylde can help to get you back on track quicker than you can say ‘take me away'!

In this guide you'll discover:

Why you need travel insurance and the type of cover you can expect. You'll learn the six steps to help you buy the right policy for your trip. We also provide you with some terrific tips on how to find the best cover available for your vacation. And if travel insurance exclusions are what you’re after, we’ve got that too! Finally, if your trip takes a nosedive (although we certainly hope it doesn’t) we’ll show you the ins and outs of making a claim.
 
Although you shouldn’t bank on the worst possible scenario, it’s hardly worth taking a gamble on your travels. Start reading to find out more and use the guide menu above to navigate your way around.  Happy holidays!
 

Why you need travel insurance

We know when you're on a tight budget, travel insurance can seem like an unnecessary expense. You’ve been planning this trip all year and the last thing on your mind is that something may go wrong. We love that you’re a positive thinker with an "it will never happen to me" attitude, but unfortunately things do happen to anyone, anywhere. So if you're not sure why you need cover...have a read of these:

 

Medical and hospital expenses

Medical and hospital expenses

Your Canadian health insurance is not valid outside of Canada! Falling ill or sustaining an injury while travelling overseas can be extremely costly. Hospital costs in the USA alone can reach a whopping $10,000 per day! If there is one reason to buy cover, this is it!

Luggage and personal effects

Luggage and personal effects

Loss, theft or damage to your prized possessions can be a common, yet gut-wrenching experience. If your personal belongings go AWOL on vacation, your policy will pay to replace or repair them. Phew!

 
 
Cancellation cover

Cancellation cover

Imagine you’re mid-way to the airport when you have an accident on route. Or at the last minute a relative falls seriously ill and you have to cancel your vacation. Should you need to return home, or cancel, you'll be covered for a range of unforeseen events such as accidents, injuries, illness or the death of travelling companion or close relative.

Travel delay expenses

Travel delays 

Disasters can strike no matter your vacation destination. You can't predict when a natural catastrophe might happen affecting travel, nor when accidents halt your holiday. Should you be delayed before or during your vacation due to a covered reason, travel insurance is there to save the day. 

 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What is travel insurance?
 

How to buy travel insurance

 
There are hundreds of companies in the market all offering cover. So where do you start? You can jump online and compare quotes online using a comparison site like ours, go direct to the insurers, or even buy over the phone. Whichever method you decide is right for you, you still need to follow the same steps. From where you're going, to what you're going to do when you get there...we take you through the six steps to buy travel insurance.
 

1.Pick your destination

When getting quotes, some insurers ask you to select the countries you are travelling to, and others ask you to choose a region. 

 
 
WW
Worldwide

means anywhere in the world

 
AS
Asia

generally means Asia and the India subcontinent excluding Japan

 
CA
Canada

means domestic travel within Canada

 
EU
Europe

means all European countries, including UK

 
PC
Pacific

means the South West Pacific including Australia, Indonesia/Bali, Fiji

 
If you’re travelling to multiple destinations in different geographical regions, you must select the highest / furthest away region so that it covers travel in all the lower/closer regions. Good news, you don’t need to select stop-over countries if your stop-over is less than 48 hours.



 
 
 
 

 
 2.  Select your vacation date range

When buying travel insurance online you’ll need to enter a start date, and end date of travel. The start date should be the one that you leave home (not the date you land in your destination if you’re flying) and the return should be the date you get back from your trip. If you travel interstate and overseas multiple times a year, it might be beneficial for you to purchase one annual multi-trip policy that covers you for unlimited trips within a year,  rather than buying an individual policy each time you go away.

 

3. Add traveler details

You need to select the number of travelers to be included in the policy, and enter the name and date of birth of each person. In most cases kids are included for no additional cost within your policy as long as they’re under 21, not in full time employment and named on your policy. Yippee!

 

4. Add cover for adventure activities

It’s easy to get caught out by participating in 'extreme' sports before realizing you’re not covered! Quite a few sports and activities are excluded from standard policies, so it’s always a good idea to check whether your intended adrenaline activity is covered.
 

Activities usually covered include:
 
Cycling covered
Cycling
Kayaking covered
Kayaking
Swimming covered
Swimming
Trekking Covered
Trekking
Recreational sports covered
Recreational sports
Surfing covered
Surfing
Zorbing Covered
Zorbing
Horse riding covered
Horse riding

Activities sometimes covered include:
 
skiing sometime covered
Skiing
abseiling sometime covered
Abseiling
rock climbing sometime covered
Rock climbing
heli skiing sometime covered
Heli-skiing
sailing sometime covered
Sailing
bungee jumping sometime covered
Bungee jumping
scuba diving sometime covered
Scuba diving
white water rafting sometime covered
White water rafting
 


Activities rarely covered include:
 
skiing off season never covered
Skiing off season
base jumping never covered
Base jumping
fundraising trips never covered
Cross country charity
motorbiking never covered
Motorbiking
motor racing never covered
Motor racing
professional sports never covered
Professional sports
running with bulls never covered
Running with bulls
shooting hunting never covered
Hunting/shooting
 
 

5. Get your expensive items are covered

Watch out for single item limits within your cover. If you’re taking your Louis Vuitton luggage, surfboard, DSLR camera, golf clubs, laptop, or even your wedding rings you should make sure your policy covers for these high value items. You can usually increase the total amount you are covered for by paying an additional premium for your valuable goods.
 

high value itemswhat can you take golf clubswhat-can-you-take-wedding-ringwhat can you take surfboardwhat can you take camerawhat can you take laptop

 

6. Declare your pre-existing medical conditions
 

Travel insurance exists to cover the unforeseen, not medical conditions you’re already aware of. Medical conditions that exist prior to purchasing your policy may not be covered. Whether you’ve broken your arm, undergone hip replacement surgery, or suffered a bout of bronchitis, you’ll need to disclose any injuries, illnesses and major procedures to your insurer. Depending upon your condition, you might have to fill out a medical declaration signed by your doctor and have it assessed by the travel insurance company before you buy your policy. Pre-existing medical conditions apply to everyone listed on the certificate of insurance. So, the person who buys the travel insurance policy, travelling companions, and close relatives too. In the instance of cancellation, it also applies to close relatives that aren’t necessarily travelling with you.

How to get the best policy

With a market flooded with options, how do you know which one is best? Choosing the right policy is all about informing yourself of the alternatives available – and being realistic about what cover you need.  Remember what is best for one, is not best for all! Here are six tips to help you find the right policy for your trip...

 

1. Pick the type of policy

Vacation once a year? Single trip policies cover you for one trip (from one day up to 18 months in duration). Whereas Annual multi-trip policies allow you to travel as much as you like - take an unlimited number of trips in the the course of a year (internationally and/or domestically).  

2. Choose your level of cover

Most insurers have a few levels of cover to choose from: Basic (often medical cover only), mid-range and/or trip cancellation cover and comprehensive.  Pick the cover that best suits the type of vacation and activities you have planned. 

 

3. Go with a reputable brand

A good way to find a decent policy is to ask friends and family who they’ve bought from before. Reading past customer reviews is an excellent way to get the inside story - there’s no sugar-coating it!

4. Shop around

Just as you might compare flight prices, you can compare insurance policies too. Travel insurance policies really do vary in price and benefits. A comparison website like ours is a really easy way to digest all the information in one place. How's that for convenience!?

 

5. Be honest

Don’t tell porky pies. It’s important to be honest with your insurer when you take out a policy. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions be upfront about them so that you know you’re covered.

6. Buy early 

If your trip is cancelled or delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, you’ll be covered for any pre-paid expenses. As soon as you’ve booked your vacation, travel insurance should be next on your list!

 
What is best travel insurance
 

What's not covered?


 
Travel insurance is a must have for any vacation, but like any type of insurance it’s important to realize there are cases where you will not be covered. Because holidays don’t always go to plan, it’s a good idea to understand your policy before you head off. Keep reading to learn the most common travel insurance exclusions. You’ll find a full list of general exclusions within your chosen Product Disclosure Statement.


 

Unattended items

In a nutshell, look after your stuff! Anything you leave out of reach, that isn’t properly supervised, or isn’t safely locked away will be considered unattended and (most probably) won't be covered if you try to claim for it being lost or stolen. E.g. you wouldn’t be covered if you left your phone in the back of a taxi, or on the table in a restaurant. Luggage that is left in a storage room of a hotel once checked out is also considered unattended!

whats not covered luggage
 

    
 
 
 
 
 
whats not covered being wreckless

Claims relating to alcohol & drugs

Whilst a tasty tipple or two is all part of the pleasure of travel, knowing when to stop can mean the difference between a pleasant buzz versus a night with the fuzz. It’s also worth knowing that if you fall down some steps after a few beers too many and injure yourself (or your pride), you’re not covered by travel insurance. Insurers do not pay claims if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

  

 
 
 
 
 

 

High risk activities & being reckless

Hey there adrenaline junkie! Many high risk activities and extreme sports (e.g. American football, boxing, skydiving, competitive cycling , rock climbing, polo and motor sports) are not covered automatically. Always check whether your planned activities are covered before you go jumping out of a plane!

 
 

   

whats not covered high risk activities
 
 
 




Countries With Travel Warnings

whats not covered travel warningIf you visit a destination or region where Travel.gc.ca has issued a travel warning saying it is not safe to travel, then going to that place irrespective of the warning could void your cover.  Many insurers have general exclusions for events such as acts of war or terrorism, pandemics, civil unrest etc. 
 
 
 
 
 

  

Some Cancellations

Your trip cancellation cover will protect you from events such as unforeseen transport delays or cancellation of your travel plans because of illness, accidents, or a sudden natural disaster. However, unlike many American travel insurance policies you can’t just cancel your trip for any reason and be reimbursed. 

whats not covered cancellation
 
 
 
 

 

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions that exist before you travel won’t be covered. But if you do have a pre-existing condition, it’s not to say that you will be travelling without any cover at all. You can still buy a policy that would cover you for all other benefits, and for any unrelated illness or injury to your pre-existing condition would of course still be covered. Note: A few insurers consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition, so it’s sometimes trickier to get cover in the later stages. Most insurers cover until 26 weeks, but some exclude cover for pregnancy altogether.
 

Conditions that are usually covered:

 
conditions that are usually covered asthma
Asthma
conditions that are usually covered cataracts
Cataracts
conditions that are usually covered diabetes
Diabetes
conditions that are usually covered DVT
DVT
conditions that are usually covered high blood pressure
High blood pressure
conditions that are usually covered high cholesterol
High cholesterol
conditions that are usually covered migrane
Migrane
conditions that are usually covered osteoporsis
Osteoporsis
 

Conditions that may require medical assessment: 
 

 

conditions that require medical assessment awaiting surgery
Awaiting surgery
conditions that require medical assessment cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis
conditions that require medical assessment epilepsy
Epilepsy
conditions that require medical assessment heart problems
Heart problems
conditions that require medical assessment lung problem
Lung problems
conditions that require medical assessment organ transplant
Organ transplant
conditions that require medical assessment pacemakers
Pacemakers
conditions that require medical assessment stroke
Stroke
 
 
 

Conditions that are typically not covered: 

 

Conditions That Are Not Covered blood thinning
Blood thinning meds
Conditions That Are Not Covered child birth
Child birth
Conditions That Are Not Covered alcohol addiction
Alcohol or drug addiction
Conditions That Are Not Covered elective surgery
Elective surgery
Conditions That Are Not Covered mental illness
Mental illness
Conditions That Are Not Covered STD
STD
Conditions That Are Not Covered surgery complications
Recent surgery
Conditions That Are Not Covered terminal illness
Terminal illness
 
 

  

 

How to make a claim

From time to time holidays don’t go to plan, baggage goes missing, flights are delayed or people are unwell, all of which mean it’s time to claim on your travel insurance policy. Here's some tips for when holidays don't go to plan.

claims familiarise yourself

Read your policy docs

Understand what is covered and what is not, paying particular attention to exclusions and how to make a claim.

 
claims evidence

Have evidence

Like receipts, bank statements, photographs, photocopies or serial numbers so you can prove ownership of your belongings.

 
 
 
claims written proof

Get written proof

Get letters from your airline of flight delays & cancellations, and medical certificates for hospital stays  - all written proof helps to back up your claim.

 
claims report incidents

Report incidents asap!

It is vital that you report any loss, theft or damage to your insurer, the local police, transport provider, or the relevant authority within 24 hours, or asap!

 
 
 
claims be honest

Be honest

When you buy your policy and disclose any pre-existing conditions. If you lie about your medical history and become ill overseas your insurer may deny your claim.

 
claims know who to call

Know who to call

All insurers have telephone numbers to call in an emergency. It is a good idea to keep this number on you, along with your policy details.

 
 
Whats the deal with claims
 
 
 
Our travel insurance comparison helps you save time, worry and loads of money!