Do you see travel insurance as a good investment or a waste of money? It seems like a good percentage of travelers say no to insurance for a variety of reasons.

Often, they believe they have the appropriate coverage or that the credit card they used to pay for the trip will provide them with enough coverage – however this isn’t always true.

I, like any travel professional worth their salt, recommend travel insurance to each and every one of my clients. Unfortunately, most travelers don’t understand what the policy covers and when they really should be spending the extra money to purchase travel insurance.

“We know we aren’t going to cancel so we don’t need cancellation insurance.”

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a client speak those words, I’d be jet setting the world and probably writing this from a luxury villa on the beach in Bora Bora!

Let me be clear, travel insurance is so much more than cancellation insurance! In fact, the “cancellation” part of your policy is one of the least important things to consider!

While there are simple cancellation insurance policies available, true travel insurance covers so many additional items that you probably aren’t even thinking of when you book your vacation. Things like travel delays, lost luggage, lost or stolen valuables, medical emergencies (for a member of your travel party or a loved one at home), dental emergencies, evacuations, lost travel documents, and more.

“We have health insurance coverage through work so we’ll be fine.”

That’s another comment I hear often, and while that may be true if you are traveling within Ontario, it is highly unlikely that your regular health insurance will cover anything at all if you are outside of Canada.

Check your policy carefully before you decide to rely on it for international travel. Even if it provides some coverage, you will probably be required to pay for any treatment or medication out of pocket and then file for reimbursement when you return. A good travel insurance policy will allow the doctor or hospital to bill them directly up to your coverage limitations.

There are certain situations where I believe travel insurance should be considered a must:

International Travel – A medical or dental emergency abroad can be financially devastating. Many hospitals will collect your passport at admission and will not return it until your bill has been paid. Do you have the financial resources to handle a medical emergency should one arise? It’s not uncommon for bills to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Cruises – While there is a doctor on board every cruise ship, the ship’s infirmary can only handle simple things like a sprained ankle or ear infection. Should you have a severe medical emergency, you would need to be evacuated off of the ship by helicopter.  That sure does sound awfully expensive!

Unexpected Weather Conditions – During my family’s recent trip to Thailand we had to evacuate due to a Typhoon approaching.  We traveled in January which is NOT typhoon season and the area had not received a severe storm in over 60 years – talk about unexpected!  Within 2 hours of the evacuation notice, we packed our bags and boarded the next plane we could out of the country.  This involved last minute plane tickets ($$$), loss of 3 days of our trip, additional expenses to stay in a new country etc etc. These changes cost us over $7,000 – all of which were reimbursed within 30 day from my insurance company.  What a relief!   The sad part was we lost 3 days of our Thailand trip however we were able to enjoy a few days in Hong Kong and visit Disneyland instead.

 

I say this over and over to my clients – travel is an investment. You’ve likely saved for your vacation for quite some time. Be sure you are making a smart decision in how you need to protect that investment!