Taking A Vacation

By Steve Manville  | 
Feb 29, 2016

Taking a vacation


Vacations are good for you. No really. According to numerous North American studies taking a vacation helps to reduce stress, lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, decrease your waistline and increase your positive emotional levels (making it easier for you to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty).

But taking a vacation doesn’t mean ignoring your responsibilities—and quite often taking a vacation requires a bit of planning and forethought.

While it might be easy to remember to put on your out-of-office email responder, you might actually overlook a very important part of vacation planning: travel insurance.

Travel insurance protects you and your belongings from loss or damage while you’re away from home. As some Canadians have discovered, travel insurance is an important element in making sure fun week away doesn’t turn into into a financial and medical nightmare.

To make sure you have the appropriate coverage, consider the following:

1. Where are you travelling to?

If you’re travelling within your province or territory, you probably won’t need to purchase additional travel insurance. That’s because most provincial health care plans will cover you for any medical mishaps while you’re in your province of residence and most car and home insurance policies will cover any loss or damage that could happen to your belongings.

But as soon as you leave your home province consider buying additional coverage. Why? Because buying travel insurance is the simplest and most cost-effective way to protect against nasty financial surprises and hefty medical bills for treatment outside your home province. Even a quick trip to the United States can turn into an expensive day out should you require medical attention (it’s not unheard of for x-rays and other medical tests to cost upwards of US$30,000).

So, if you’re planning on a trip outside your home province, even within Canada, start investigating travel insurance coverage options. A small upfront fee now could save you from owing tens of thousands in the future.

2. What coverage do you need?

When buying travel insurance make sure you get enough coverage to cover all expenses. You’ll want a policy that offers between $2 million to $5 million, which is known as the claim limit coverage. While, only a small percentage of travel-related claims cost more than $1 million, it’s these rare, catastrophic events you need protection from and that’s what travel insurance was designed to do. By opting for coverage up to $5 million, you’ll be covered against these unforeseen catastrophic medical emergencies. Moreover, the difference in premiums between a $1 million policy and a $2 to $5 million policy are actually quite minimal.

3. What coverage do you currently hold?

For those employed at companies with comprehensive health packages you may want to make a quick call to your health care plan provider. Quite often, these employer-sponsored plans will offer at least some travel insurance coverage. While it might not be enough, it’s a great starting point for you and your independent insurance broker to determine what coverage you need to pay for and what coverage you can choose to skip.

4. How long is your vacation and how often will you be travelling this year?

For some travellers, buying travel insurance is a once-per-year practice. It’s the one time we get to get on a plane or in our car and leave our neck of the woods. But for many travellers, leaving home for a sunnier location or an exotic climate is a regular occurrence—a right earned in retirement after many years of hard work. For seasoned travellers and snowbirds, consider buying travel insurance on a per year basis, rather than per trip. By lumping all your travel time into one policy you can reduce your per trip premium costs.

5. Do you need to protect your home or car?

If plan to be away from home for more than 48 hours, remember that your home insurance provider may require you to take certain precautions in order not to accidentally void your coverage. For instance, some providers require you to drain pipes and turn off the water, while others will require evidence that a responsible family member or friend is checking up on your place every two or three days. To make sure your home and belongings continue to be protected while you’re on vacation read your insurance policy, which lists details of what is required of you to maintain coverage. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call your independent broker.  

For those travellers planning to drive their car while on vacation remember to call your insurance provider before you leave. This will help you in the event of an accident of if your car is stolen or broken into, as your broker will be in a much better position to help you.

Finally, remember to read your policy thoroughly and to review your coverage. It might be a bit of a tedious process but it’s essential to making sure you’ve got the right coverage. Remember, your travel insurance coverage is your emergency plan, so you want to make sure that everything is accurate and in place, in order for the plan to work. For any concerns or questions call and talk to your insurance broker. Your independent broker can help identify all insurance you require to make your travel plans stress-free and relaxing.

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