If you’re regularly travelling for business or personal reasons, multi-trip travel insurance can help ensure you’re protected while away. Your credit cards and employer may offer travel insurance, which often has limits for the amount of time per year you can be out of the country. The protection may not be as robust as you’d like – especially since some policies exclude coverage for COVID-19.
Do you need multi-trip travel insurance?
Not everyone needs multi-trip travel insurance. You should consider the following before purchasing:
- How many days per year do you travel outside of Canada.
- If the coverage offered by travel insurance through your employee benefits or credit cards meets your needs.
We recommend multi-trip travel insurance to anyone who travels more than 21 days per year and is not adequately covered by any other policies.
The Number of Days You Travel Outside of Canada
Most credit card and employee benefit travel policies have limits on how many days they’ll cover you for travel outside of Canada. You will be uninsured for any days over that limit.
With a separate travel insurance policy, you can set the number of days per year you’ll be out of the country when you purchase the policy. In many cases, you can extend this amount even while you’re travelling.
Note: If you extend the number of days, there will be a premium increase. There may also be a gap in coverage if you make an extension after you’ve hit your previous maximum number of days. We recommend extending your coverage as soon as you know you’ll be exceeding the original limit.
Travel Insurance Coverage
In addition to ensuring you’re protected for your full travel time; you need to check the coverage details and policy limits and make sure these meet your needs.
There are four different types of travel insurance coverage:
- Trip cancellation begins before you leave on your trip and helps cover expenses if you are forced to cancel your trip due to an insured reason. ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ coverage is also available.
- Trip interruption applies after you leave on your trip and helps cover expenses if your trip is interrupted due to an insured reason such as a missed or delayed flight.
- Lost baggage helps cover getting essentials (like toiletries and clothing) and replacing lost items if your baggage goes missing.
- Travel medical insurance covers emergency medical expenses and transportation if you get sick or injured while travelling.
The most important coverage to have is travel medical insurance. While no one wants to get hurt or sick on vacation, you want to ensure you can get treatment or get home if you need to!
With COVID-19, it’s essential that you check if quarantine and medical expenses are covered. In some cases (such as with most credit card travel insurance policies) these costs are not covered. However, some travel insurance companies do include this coverage or offer it as an add-on.
You’ll want to check that your destinations are covered. Many policies do not cover you if you go into an active conflict area. In rarer cases, there are travel medical exemptions for the United States or policies are only designed for domestic travel. If either of theseis the case, you can get more comprehensive travel insurance.
Many policies won’t cover certain activities considered to be more dangerous. Commonly excluded activities include:
- Backcountry skiing or snowboarding
- Hang gliding/paragliding
- Ice climbing
- Mountain biking
- Scuba diving over 40 metres
- Sky diving
You can usually purchase a sports or extreme activity add-on through a travel insurance company (not an option with a credit card or employee benefits policy).
Some activities are considered to be too dangerous to be insured – interestingly, this includes most rodeo events! You also won’t have coverage if you go into a closed or out-of-bounds area.
It’s important to be aware of any age limits around travel medical coverage. Some travel insurance companies offer more flexibility with this than credit cards or employee benefits travel coverage.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you are clear if it will be covered under a travel insurance policy before you book a trip, particularly trip cancellation or travel medical coverage. With some travel insurance policies, if your condition is stable, you will be covered.
It’s important to read through all the listed exclusions. Keep in mind these may differ by travel insurance policy.
Policy limits are the maximum amount that will be paid out in the event of a covered claim. There are often separate limits for each section of coverage (for example, lost baggage will have a much lower limit than emergency evacuation under travel medical coverage). Make sure the limits offered in any existing policy meets your needs – if they don’t, we recommend purchasing additional travel insurance coverage.
Claims and Customer Service
A final factor to consider for multi-trip travel insurance is the quality of claims and customer service. Check reviews of the travel insurance provider as well as ways to get in touch with them. This is especially important if you need to access them while travelling.
We all hope we’ll never need to use our travel insurance policy, but COVID-19 demonstrated the importance of this coverage. If you’re not sure if you need multi-trip travel insurance or want to learn more, speak to your broker.