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Planning a vacation? Don’t forget the sunscreen – and your travel insurance!

Debbie

POSTED BY

Debbie Saleem

Associate Financial Advisor

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Now that the U.S. border is finally open, and Covid restrictions are beginning to ease worldwide, many of us are starting to plan the vacations we’ve yearned for. If you travel outside of Canada – even for a day trip to the U.S. – one of the most important items to pack is travel insurance.

If you have group benefits through your employer, you most likely have travel insurance coverage. However, there are some common limitations to be aware of before you leave:

Stability Clause: This is a statement that coverage will not be available to plan members who have a change in health within a specified timeframe before a trip (usually 3 months). Stability usually applies to any change in your medical condition – whether negative or not – and often includes things like an increase or decrease in medication dosage, and scheduled appointments or tests for possible medical issues.

Trip Duration: Most group travel insurance policies provide coverage for trips between 60-180 days. However, this is often reduced for older employees.

Full Time Employment: In order to continue to be eligible for coverage through your group benefits program, you often need to continue to work full time. If you no longer work enough hours to meet this definition but remain on the plan, you could run into problems at claim time.

Many credit cards also offer travel insurance as part of the annual fee. Be careful when relying on this type of coverage as there are many restrictions including trip length, age, and health stability. It may not cover mental health disorders, drug or alcohol related incidents or extreme sports such as bungee jumping or mountain climbing. Always read the fine print carefully and ask for clarification if needed.

If you don’t currently have coverage through an employer or credit card company, or want supplemental coverage, individual insurance can be purchased. There are policies available for emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, and lost baggage. There’s also coverage available for visitors to Canada, students and those who are temporarily working outside of Canada.

 One of the newest individual policies available is COVID-19 specific protection for worldwide travel. It covers both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related emergency medical benefits. These policies include interruption coverage in the event you need to be quarantined during your trip, and a range of expenses for health, services, transportation and more.

Here’s some tips to help you confirm that your current coverage is sufficient before you travel:

1) Read the fine print of your policy carefully. Ask the insurance provider to explain the definition, limitations and restrictions on any pre-existing conditions, tests, and treatments you may have had. Make sure you get a written agreement that your insurance covers your pre-existing medical condition, or you could find your claim “null and void”.

2) Check for travel advisories for your destination twice – once when planning your trip and again just before you go. The insurance company may not pay if the Government of Canada has issued a travel advisory for the area. Here’s the website: Travel Advice and Advisories - Travel.gc.ca

3) Confirm that you are covered for COVID-19 related medical expenses, and if quarantine costs are covered should you become infected during your trip.

4) If you have concerns that your current travel insurance coverage doesn’t cover your needs, you can purchase additional “top up” insurance that’s tailored to your situation. If you’re interested in any of the individual insurance options mentioned, please contact your advisor for a quote.

Regardless of the type of coverage you get, remember to carry a copy of the insurance information with you while travelling, and leave a copy with a friend or relative at home. Bon Voyage!




The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of RGF Integrated Wealth Management, which makes no representations as to their completeness or accuracy.