Industry News > Travel Insurers Offer Tips for Buying Winter Vacation Coverage

Travel Insurers Offer Tips for Buying Winter Vacation Coverage

posted on 12:52 PM, September 1, 2009
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2009) - With economic recovery predicted, and the loonie holding strong against the U.S. dollar, Canadian snowbirds can start their annual search for fall and winter vacation destinations with a renewed sense of optimism.

And according to the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, they can also benefit from a growing inventory of out-of-country health plans designed not only for the young and healthy, but for travellers of all ages, even those in less than perfect health.

"There have never been more private insurance plans available to travelling Canadians," says Martha Turnbull, president of THIA. "The key is to get the right plan for the traveller's individual needs. One size does not fit all.'

THIA suggests the following tips when shopping for travel insurance:

  • Don't judge a plan by price alone. Insurance products differ-sometimes a lot. Make sure it fits your health profile and your individual need.
  • Don't look only at a plan's benefits. Look at limitations and exclusions-those things it does not cover. All travel plans have exclusions. They are meant to supplement your provincial health insurance, not be substitutes for it.
  • If you're an early shopper and your health changes in any way between the time you buy your insurance and the date it goes into effect, you must notify your insurer. A health change in the interim might invalidate your coverage.
  • Because you have pre-existing conditions does not mean you can't get insurance. Many plans will cover a pre-ex if it is stable and controlled. But you need to know the ground rules. Read your policy carefully and if you are required to complete a medical questionnaire do it completely and accurately. Get the help of your doctor if you need to. Speak to your insurance company directly if you have questions. Non-disclosure of medical information can void your coverage even if the non-disclosed conditions or symptoms have nothing to do with the conditions causing your claim.
  • If going on a cruise out of a U.S. port, make sure you have Canadian travel insurance that coordinates with your provincial health plan. Cruise lines tend to sell insurance designed for Americans and that is inadequate protection for Canadians. Make sure your travel agent knows the difference.
  • Don't put off getting your insurance until the last minute. You need to understand your policy's benefits, limitations and exclusions and you want to take a copy of your policy with you. Most claim denials are caused by customers who don't read their policy, don't understand their own obligations and don't realize that it's impossible for travel insurance to "cover everything."
"Given the variety of travel insurance products in the marketplace, there are very few Canadians who don't qualify for some coverage. And the best way to find it is to deal with a qualified agent who specializes in travel health insurance, or visit travel insurance companies online," says Ms. Turnbull.