When planning a trip for work, pleasure or personal reasons, it’s important to know what’s happening in the world around you. This year, many Canadians are changing their travel plans due to concerns about what’s happening in other parts of the world, and many more are choosing to purchase travel insurance.
Impact of Global Travel Concerns on Travel Insurance
According to a recent survey by the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA), travel habits are changing due to concerns about outbreaks of disease or political unrest. Forty-eight percent of Canadians travel at least once a year, and 64% plan to take a trip this winter. Here are more findings from that survey:
- 40% of respondents believe that trip cancellation is covered whenever a Travel Advisory is issued. That’s not necessarily true!
- 47% of respondents do not take the time to review their coverage before leaving on a trip.
- Because of fears about the Zika virus, 14% of travellers who are planning to get pregnant changed their destination of choice, and 35% cancelled their trip altogether.
- Speaking of pregnant travellers, 90% of expectant mothers did not know their travel insurance would not provide coverage for pregnancy-related difficulties in the last nine weeks of the pregnancy, and even if it did, that coverage would only apply to the mother.
It appears that when it comes to purchasing travel insurance in Canada, there is a lot that we take for granted!
What is Covered under Trip Cancellation Insurance?
Most people know that complications from an ongoing health issue will not be covered under a travel insurance policy, but the finer details around travel insurance with a pre-existing condition are not well understood. Previous medical tests, the length of your current period of stability, and medication history will all affect the coverage under a travel insurance or trip cancellation insurance policy.
Trip cancellation insurance is designed to protect against financial implications of a trip that was cancelled because of unforeseen circumstances. If you could reasonably expect there would be a problem with your health, like a flare-up of a pre-existing condition, or if you are planning to travel to an area where unfortunate circumstances are already present, exclusions may apply.
Cancelling for a reason that is not covered under the policy is one reason why claims are denied. There are travel insurance policies that offer the option to “cancel for any reason,” but they are generally very expensive. One could easily make the argument that if your travel plans are so precarious that you need expensive insurance to allow you to back out at the last minute, it might be better to reconsider the trip altogether.
If there is a known issue in an area you are planning to visit, you can always choose to go somewhere else for a vacation. However, not all trips are optional. If you are travelling to an area with a known outbreak of disease or political unrest, speak with an insurance broker. This can help you avoid buying insurance for a situation that may not be covered under your plan.
Work with an Insurance Broker to Avoid Costly Mistakes
When you book a trip, you will usually be offered the option to purchase travel insurance along with your package. While this insurance is better than nothing, it’s important to remember that travel agents specialize in helping you plan a trip. They are not insurance experts who can interpret the intricacies of a trip insurance policy. You may think your reasons for cancellation will be covered, but if they’re not, it won’t be the travel company left to pay the difference!
Choosing to work with an insurance broker is the best way to ensure that your insurance policy will be there to cover you when you need it. Insurance brokers can help you understand the language of trip cancellation insurance to ensure you purchase only what you need. Your broker can also work as your advocate if you should have a claim that does not go as expected.
In uncertain times, your travel insurance needs should be left in the hands of experienced professionals who can provide expert advice based on your specific circumstances. Contact our offices today for a no-obligation quote for travel and trip cancellation insurance.