Before purchasing travel insurance, it’s helpful to equip yourself with some basic knowledge about travel insurance, including what it is, the main types of coverage available, and the circumstances under which it can be critical for you and your family.
At its essence, travel insurance provides protection against unforeseen events that can occur before
or during your trip
, ranging from minor mishaps to major misfortunes.
Depending on available plans, travel insurance options are usually first divided into two categories for:
- Canadian residents planning a trip abroad (whether travelling outside their home province or internationally).
- International visitors coming to Canada.
Travel insurance products offered to Canadian residents are typically available for two types of travellers:
- Travellers who are planning on taking an upcoming trip, and are looking to be covered for that specific trip only.
- Travellers who take frequent trips, and are looking to be covered for as many trips as they wish to take within a one year period. These plans for frequent travellers are often referred to as “Annual” or "Multi-trip" insurance plans.
- Medical Benefits – If you become unexpectedly sick or injured during your trip and require emergency medical treatment, these benefits will cover eligible medical costs for hospitalization and more, along with providing emergency assistance services.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Benefits – In case you need to cancel your holiday before you leave due to a Covered Reason, Trip Cancellation benefits will help you recover the cost of booking expenses such as flights and accommodations which you paid for in advance.
Typically, customers looking to be covered for one trip will be able to select from either a Medical Plan, a Cancellation Plan, or a plan that combines all benefits from both plans into one convenient package (available as the Medical + Cancellation Plan on this site).
While Medical and Trip Cancellation and Interruption are the two foundational categories of travel insurance, policies will often have additional supplementary benefits that can help further reduce financial and emotional stress when the unexpected interrupts your travel plans.
As an example, the Cancellation Plan offered by Allianz Global Assistance also includes benefits for Trip Interruption and Delay, Lost or Stolen Baggage, Baggage Delay, Flight Accident and more.
However, like any insurance product, such as auto insurance or property insurance, there are specific terms and conditions that outline when and how reimbursements are made – as well as situations that are not covered.
Additionally, the features and benefits of travel insurance can vary broadly depending on the provider offering the product, and the type of policy that’s selected. As a result, it’s important to educate yourself on the nuances of travel insurance to determine the best option for your unique needs.
To continue on your path to travel insurance enlightenment, dummylearn more about what is and isn’t covered by travel insurance.
Given the importance of travel insurance, there is no shortage of ways to find coverage. Depending on your budget, coverage needs and what’s most convenient for you, you can choose to purchase travel insurance online, by phone or in person from your travel agent, broker or bank. You can also purchase insurance directly online or by phone from a travel insurance provider such as Allianz Global Assistance.
Some Canadians may also have travel insurance through their employer benefits program or as part of benefits included on a credit card. In these instances, it’s important to never assume what level of coverage is included. We highly recommend contacting your employee or credit card benefits provider before travelling to review the types of benefits included, any special terms and conditions (i.e. whether your trip costs need to be paid on your credit card to be eligible for coverage) as well as the dollar limits for each benefit to ensure they’re adequate.
Regardless of how you choose to purchase travel insurance, always be sure to review your policy in detail before travelling in order to understand what is and isn’t covered. If any aspects of your coverage are unclear, contact your travel insurance provider to have your coverage explained and your questions answered.
To help you in the decision process, get familiar with some key things to consider when choosing a travel insurance plan.