Travel & Trip Cancellation Insurance

Most individual and employer-provided health and medical insurance policies cover you when you are injured or become sick no matter where your injury or illness occurs. As a general rule, major medical health insurance plans sold in the Canada will provide coverage for emergency medical services while traveling. However, insurance companies cannot guarantee the quality of care that is available wherever you travel and not all health insurance policies cover you while you are traveling abroad.

Those who rely on the Ontario Health Insurance system should know that the program does not cover hospital and medical services outside of Canada. Before you leave the country, learn what medical services your health insurance will provide while you are abroad and consider purchasing additional insurance protection. Those traveling overseas for extended periods of time, such as business travelers, students, or volunteers need to know just what their health insurance does and does not cover. Often, extended stays abroad are not adequately covered under typical Canadian plans.

Trip Cancellation Insurance (TCI) can provide valuable protection for travelers who purchase expensive and non-refundable travel packages, such as cruises - but beware. Always be wary of trip cancellation insurance provided by the firm through which you purchased your travel services. Why? Coverage provided by travel service providers often carries a large number of conditions and exclusions, such as pre-existing medical conditions.

It is not unusual for these insurance contracts to limit your recovery to promises of future discounts. They frequently exclude changes in destination that the charter company may make for such reasons as bad weather. Additionally, TCI policies sold by travel providers usually do not protect you against the source of most travel interruptions, the travel service provider itself. To ensure that you recover non-refundable deposits should your travel provider suddenly go out of business, purchase your TCI from a third-party insurer that offers a tour operator default option.

Property Insurance While Traveling. If you insure your home, condominium or apartment, you probably have more insurance than you will ever need to cover you in the event that you experience theft or damage to your possessions while traveling. Most homeowners, condominium and renters insurance policies provide 10 percent of your "Personal Property" limit to cover your possessions that may be stolen while away from home. In other words, if you have a $100,000 of contents coverage to protect your personal belongings at home, you have $10,000 of coverage for your personal possessions while you are traveling in the U.S. or in foreign countries.

The typical homeowners insurance policy will even cover up to $500 for losses resulting from the theft and unauthorized use of credit cards, no matter where that theft occurs. Check with your broker to determine exactly how much credit card theft protection you have on your policy.

Auto Insurance. Unfortunately, your Personal Auto Insurance policy just won't cut it in the rest of the world. Most Canadian auto insurance policies have territorial limitations, meaning they cover you only while driving in the Canada, the U.S. and some U.S. possessions and territories, depending on whether or not your insurance company is a U.S. subsidiary. If you plan to drive in a foreign country, be sure to check with your broker to make sure you have the appropriate insurance and be aware of the country's laws governing drivers.

If you have the proper coverage through your personal auto policy - including liability, collision and comprehensive - it is generally not necessary to purchase a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) from a rental car agency - you already have coverage under your own policy if traveling in Canada. If, however, you do not own a car or do not have insurance, you will probably need to purchase the special coverage.

Rental car agencies typically sell CDWs for about $8 to $15 per day. These waivers are not insurance. In effect, a CDW is simply a promise made by the rental car agency that they will not hold you responsible for the repair or replacement of a damaged or stolen vehicle.

Flight Insurance, which provides life insurance benefits only in the event of fatality involving an aircraft, is not a prudent purchase for most fliers. It is expensive compared to the purchase of a regular life insurance policy. Statistically, you are more likely to be hit by a bus walking out of the airport than you are to die while flying in an airplane. The bottom line is, if you need life insurance, it is more cost-effective to buy a comprehensive policy.