What travel insurance is best to get? Trip protection, medical travel insurance — or both?

What travel insurance is best to get? Trip protection, medical travel insurance — or both?
When you travel, your government health insurance plan only provides limited coverage, which can leave you with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Purchasing travel insurance will help ensure you have proper coverage in case of a medical emergency, trip cancellation or interruption.

More than two-thirds of Canadians intend to travel between May and October, according to the Conference Board of Canada. But as COVID-19 continues to loom, many travellers are once again concerned about the possibility of having to unexpectedly cancel their trip at the last minute.

Amid the uncertainty, it can be even more confusing to understand trip-protection add-ons, and how they compare with travel insurance that helps pay for unexpected medical costs.

So, what’s the difference between the two — and do you need either for your upcoming vacation? Here are the facts.

Trip protection insurance

Trip protection insurance

Travel insurance can help with unexpected costs from delayed or lost baggage, trip cancellation and trip interruption, and flight and travel accidents. Trip protection coverage typically covers any prepaid expenses due to cancellation of your trip if you become sick and covers reimbursement for lost baggage.

For more useful information on trip protection coverage, read our blogs

If you have spent your saved up funds for your trip and don’t want to lose it, or if you are travelling with your expensive possessions… we recommend you purchase trip protection insurance.

Emergency medical travel insurance

Emergency medical travel insurance

When you travel outside your home province or territory, even if you’re still in Canada, there are limits on how much your government health insurance plan will pay – and they typically only pay a very small portion of medical expenses incurred abroad. Costs that may not be covered include air and ground ambulance, emergency dental treatment and prescription drug expenses, and fees charged by hospitals or facilities. In fact, many hospitals abroad may require immediate cash payment or proof of insurance, which the assistance services included with travel insurance would help coordinate.

Emergency medical travel insurance helps with these costs, so it makes sense to have it whether you’re visiting another part of Canada or another part of the world. If you have a medical emergency and don’t have this coverage, you may be facing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.

Our recommendation: don’t travel out of province without emergency medical travel insurance.

For more useful information on trip protection coverage, read these blogs

Comprehensive Coverage Plans

There are travel insurance plans that combine both trip protection and emergency medical travel coverage, often called ‘all-inclusive’ plans. To keep life simple, many people choose this option, but it can depend on different factors like your family size, age, and the type of trip you are taking and the cost of your trip.

And although you may want to count on the travel insurance provided through your credit card, you should review the fine print because not all policies cover every situation.

Read this for more information

So, what is the best travel insurance to buy?

While adequate trip cancellation coverage is important, the financial impact of a medical emergency away from home can be far more costly.

Here are some key questions to  consider when buying travel insurance or evaluating your existing coverage, as recommended by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association:

  • Will my policy cover me for the entire length of my absence from Canada or my home province? If I decide to extend the length of my stay, can my policy be extended? How would this be done?
  • What types of restrictions and limitations does my policy have? If I don’t understand them, who should I call?
  • Does the policy provide benefits if a medical emergency arises because of a pre-existing condition?
  • Does my insurance company have a toll-free telephone number for emergency assistance that I can reach from anywhere I travel? Do I have it handy?
  • Does my policy exclude specific activities/events like sports, war, suicide, substance abuse?
  • Do I know what maximums, deductibles and/or co-insurance would apply in the event of a claim?
  • How do I submit a claim? What are the procedures?
  • Does my policy pay for any type of emergency return home?
  • Are there certain locations/countries that are not covered under the policy?
  • Does my policy provide for trip cancellation, baggage loss and other damages?
  • If I have out-of-country coverage through my group plan, are there any restrictions? Does it cover me for business travel only?

Still have questions? We can help

Many travel insurance plans may be purchased right up until the date of departure, however, if you are considering coverage for trip cancellation it is recommended to purchase insurance on the day your trip is booked.

So don’t wait. Call us and buy your travel insurance as far ahead of your travel time as possible — especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are over 55. Don’t wait until the day before you leave to call SBIS.

We can help complete the forms and any necessary medical questionnaires without hurrying, and you will have the time to read the certificate of coverage from start to finish before you leave. Getting the right insurance is serious business; it’s all about your safety. Get started now by calling us at 1-800-667-0429 during our regular business hours or emailing us at [email protected] for prompt service at any time.


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