The types of travel insurance coverage explained
Insurance companies typically offer a variety of travel insurance products to customers. Most of the time, travel insurance is sold as a comprehensive plan, meaning that there are multiple types of coverage included in one policy. However, sometimes, certain coverages can be sold as standalone policies, such as trip interruption insurance. To introduce you to the world of travel insurance, the experts at BrokerLink break down a few of the most common types of travel insurance below:
Travel medical insurance coverage
Travel medical insurance is a form of health insurance that protects policyholders when they are away from home. This type of coverage is often necessary because most provincial or private healthcare plans do not cover you when travelling, especially if you are travelling out of the country. Please note that most travel medical insurance plans do not cover routine medical expenses, such as check-ups, as well as pre-existing conditions. Some policies may also not cover the cost of medical attention resulting from certain recreational activities, especially ones deemed high-risk, like parasailing or skydiving. If you plan on participating in such activities while travelling, speak with your insurer about it in advance to ensure you have the necessary coverage. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your travel medical coverage carefully.
Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance coverage
Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance are two other common types of travel insurance. With trip cancellation insurance, policyholders can be reimbursed for any prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses that you are insured for, in the event that you need to cancel your trip prior to the departure date. Expenses may include the cost of flights, cruises, trains, hotels, and other accommodations. For trip cancellation insurance to be claimed, the reason for the cancellation must be covered by your policy. While policies vary, trip cancellation insurance usually applies if the policyholder must cancel their trip for any of the following reasons:
- If the tour operator goes out of business
- You become ill
- A family member who is not travelling with you dies or falls ill
- Natural disasters
Meanwhile, trip interruption insurance is fairly similar to trip cancellation insurance, with the main difference being that the former offers coverage after you have left for the trip. If you need to return home while travelling due to a reason covered by your policy, trip interruption insurance will reimburse you for any expenses paid for the remainder of your trip, in addition to the extra expenses incurred due to your early return home. For example, trip interruption insurance may pay for the cost of a last-minute flight or train home.
Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance are usually sold together and may be purchased as a standalone policy or as part of a comprehensive policy that also includes travel medical insurance, among other coverages.
Baggage loss coverage
Baggage loss coverage works like this: if your baggage or other personal belongings are lost, damaged, or stolen while travelling, you can receive a payout to repair or replace them. Depending on the terms and conditions of your baggage loss policy, you may even be reimbursed for additional expenses incurred due to the delayed arrival of your baggage for a set period of time. Please note that some homeowner’s or tenant insurance policies may also cover damage or losses of your personal belongings while travelling, so be sure to review the conditions of your home insurance policy, if applicable.
Emergency medical coverage
Next, emergency medical coverage is another type of travel insurance. This coverage can compensate policyholders for the cost of medical expenses if they become sick or injured while travelling. Some emergency medical insurance plans also include medical evacuation and medical repatriation coverage, the former paying for the cost of transporting you to the nearest medical centre or hospital and the latter paying for the cost of flying you back to your country of origin if necessary.
24-hour travel assistance coverage
24-hour travel assistance coverage is a type of travel insurance that might be part of comprehensive plans. However, it is only available if your insurance company offers 24-hour assistance. With this type of coverage, you will have access to a 24-hour hotline run by your insurance company that can help you with a range of travel-related issues, like booking a new flight after missing a connecting flight, locating lost baggage, or finding the nearest hospital or legal firm near you.
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage is a form of life insurance specific to travelling. If your travel insurance policy contains this type of coverage, your insurance company will pay a lump sum to your beneficiary if you die by accident while travelling. Please note that some accidental death coverage may only issue a lump sum payment if your accidental death occurs on a plane. You can also receive a portion of the sum if you are dismembered while travelling, such as if you lose a foot, hand, limb, eyesight, hearing, or speech.
Rental car coverage
One final form of travel insurance is rental car coverage. Rental car coverage pays for the cost of repairing or replacing a car you rent if it is damaged or lost. For this type of coverage to kick in, the damage or loss must have occurred due to a covered risk or peril, such as vandalism, theft, natural disasters, or a vehicle collision. Please note that rental car coverage does not typically include liability insurance, which is the type of coverage that pays for expenses relating to an accident that you caused. Lastly, before adding rental car coverage to your travel insurance policy, make sure that the coverage applies in the country you are travelling to and renting the car in. Depending on the area you are travelling, there may be coverage available as an extension of your personal auto insurance, check with your broker or agent before purchasing additional coverage.
Who is travel insurance for?
Travel insurance is suitable for all kinds of travellers, whether you are a snowbird heading south for the winter, a post-grad student studying abroad for a year, or even an adventure-seeking Canadian looking to explore their own backyard.
You might think that if you’re travelling within your own country, you don’t need travel insurance. While you might be able to access some health care services in other provinces due to a nationwide interprovincial agreement, this coverage may not be very comprehensive. Plus, you won’t be covered for other non-medical travel risks, like baggage loss, trip cancellation, or trip interruption. Thus, even if you’re travelling within your own country, travel insurance can still be important.
Meanwhile, if you’re travelling abroad, travel insurance is always a good idea. Whether you’re going away for a few days, weeks, months, or longer, having the right travel coverage is crucial. Otherwise, you run the risk of something going wrong, like falling ill, and you having to pay for the cost of medical coverage out of pocket.
Finally, travel insurance is also strongly recommended for long-term travellers. For example, if you are a retiree who is heading to Florida for more than 30 days, make sure that you purchase adequate travel protection. Many insurers offer long-term travel insurance policies specially designed for snowbirds. With such a policy, you can rest easy knowing that if you fall ill or become injured, you will be able to afford the medical treatment you deserve. It is also worth noting that if you plan to leave home for a period of 30 consecutive days or more, you must notify your home insurance broker. Not only will this ensure that your home is covered while vacant but your broker can give you tips on how to prepare your home when leaving for a trip. For more information on how a broker can help you and insurance broker benefits, contact BrokerLink.
The cost of travel insurance explained
The cost of travel insurance is different for everyone. This is because travel insurance rates are dependent on a variety of factors that are different for each person. For example, where you are travelling, how long you will be away, how much coverage you’re looking for, your personal health, your insurance claims history, and more, will all be considered when an insurance company calculates your premium. As such, premiums vary widely. For instance, if you are a senior citizen with a pre-existing medical condition, the cost of travel insurance will likely be higher for you than for a policyholder in good health. Meanwhile, travel insurance for a one-week trip to the United States is also likely to cost less than a policy for a multi-month trip around the world.
Factors that affect travel insurance
To give you a better idea of how much your travel insurance policy will cost you, we have put together the following list of factors. While each insurance company uses its own formula to calculate risk, you can generally expect the following details to be assessed:
An insurer will ask if you have any pre-existing conditions. Certain pre-existing conditions may result in a higher insurance premium as your odds of filing a claim may be higher.
Length of travel
The longer your trip is, the more coverage you will need. In addition, the longer you are travelling, the higher your odds of getting sick or injured while abroad.
Generally speaking, the cost of travel insurance goes up the older you get.
The cost of travel insurance will also depend on where you are travelling. It may not only vary between countries but also between regions. For example, travel insurance for one Canadian province might be different than for another. If you are travelling to a country that is considered dangerous or high-risk, your insurance premium may also be higher.
The cost of the trip
If your trip is expensive, such as if you are travelling somewhere far and the flight is costly, or you are staying in high-end hotels, the cost of your policy will likely be higher.
The cost of local healthcare
If you are travelling somewhere known for its high healthcare costs, then the cost of your travel insurance plan will likely reflect this.
The amount of coverage you choose
The more coverage you wish to include with your travel insurance policy, the more your policy will cost.
Get a free travel insurance quote from BrokerLink
For a more concrete idea of how much travel insurance will cost you, contact BrokerLink today. We provide free travel insurance quotes to all customers. Get in touch by email, phone, or in person at one of our insurance offices, and ask one of our licensed insurance brokers for a complimentary travel insurance quote. After answering a few basic questions about yourself, your travel insurance needs, and your upcoming vacation, we will provide you with an accurate and competitive quote in minutes. It’s that easy!
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Find quality travel insurance through TuGo
Now that you know a little bit more about the different types of travel insurance available to you, you might be ready to purchase a policy of your own. If so, why not partner with TuGo®? TuGo offers a wide range of quality travel solutions to Canadians. As one of Canada’s top travel insurance providers, you can’t go wrong with any one of their comprehensive options. They specialize in emergency medical coverage, which includes the option of 24/7 emergency travel medical assistance, as well as baggage loss protection and trip cancellation and trip interruption protection. Plus, their plans are flexible and fully customizable, allowing customers to find a policy that fits their needs. For example, through TuGo, you can find the following types of travel insurance policies:
- Worldwide single-trip, top-up, or multi-trip policies
- Canada-only plans
- Full coverage or stability options
- Emergency medical
- All-inclusive coverage (includes emergency medical coverage plus trip cancellation, trip interruption, and baggage loss)
Travel insurance plans through TuGo
Canadians, visitors to Canada, and international students can purchase a multitude of coverage for their upcoming travel plans. With TuGo these plans can include coverage for single or multi annual trips. Emergency medical insurance within Canada and worldwide, which includes emergency medical treatments, such as ambulance services, follow-up visits, childcare costs, family transportation and other out-of-pocket expenses. There are additional options for trip cancellation or trip interruption, or interruption only insurance, with options for $0 deductibles.
Additional coverage options
- Baggage protection
- Rental car protection
- Sports and activities coverage
- Extreme sports and activities protection
- Pre-existing medical condition coverage
Still have questions about TuGo travel insurance? Contact TuGo directly or BrokerLink today. Further, if you are interested in purchasing more than one type of travel insurance coverage, whether for an individual or a group, contact BrokerLink or TuGo for more information on the bundles or packages that may be available. Bundling travel insurance coverage options is a great way to save money.
Contact BrokerLink for more information on travel insurance in Canada
Want to learn more about travel insurance in Canada? Reach out to BrokerLink today. We can explain how travel insurance works, provide expert coverage recommendations, or even give you a copy of our travel guide. Through our partner, TuGo, one of the leading travel insurance companies in Canada, we will make sure that you have the right coverage for your upcoming trip. In partnership with TuGo, we can also provide you with a free travel insurance quote to help you start your journey. Overall, BrokerLink is pleased to help individuals and groups, such as the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, find the best possible travel insurance plans for their needs. We are also dedicated to saving you money on travel insurance wherever possible. Reach out to BrokerLink to inquire about travel insurance discounts today.
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Travel insurance FAQs
Can I get trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance through my credit card?
Some credit cards in Canada include travel insurance, such as trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. However, usually this coverage is extremely limited. If you wish to use the insurance coverage included with your credit card, make sure to confirm the maximum limits for each type of coverage. For example, some credit cards may only offer trip interruption insurance coverage up to a maximum of $1,500 per person. If your trip costs much more than this, you may need to purchase additional coverage through an insurance company or broker. Further, some credit cards have age limits and may only offer coverage to those aged 65 or higher. Again, it is important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of any travel insurance coverage included with your credit card to ensure it is adequate for your upcoming trip.
Where can I buy travel insurance?
Travel insurance can be purchased through insurance companies, insurance brokers, and even banks and credit unions. Further, some credit card companies offer travel insurance as one of the perks of purchasing certain cards. Generally speaking, if you are in the market for travel insurance, make sure that you shop around and compare your options. Given that so many travel insurance products are available to customers, the only way to know which ones offer the best coverage at the most competitive price is to obtain multiple quotes and compare them.
Is travel insurance required?
No, travel insurance is not a legal requirement in Canada. This means that it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not you wish to purchase it. That said, travel insurance offers many benefits to travellers. Just think of how expensive it would be to have to fly home last minute in the middle of your trip or cancel your trip altogether just a few days before you’re set to depart. Similarly, having a medical emergency in a place where your Canadian health care policy does not cover you could also have major financial consequences. Therefore, purchasing travel insurance is important, no matter your age, destination, or length of the trip.
Can I purchase travel insurance online?
Yes, travel insurance can be purchased quickly and easily online. Contact your local insurance agent or broker to find out more about the travel insurance options available to you. Nowadays, you should have the option of binding coverage over the phone, in person, or online via your insurer’s website.
Should I buy a single travel insurance policy or a long-term travel insurance policy?
If you want coverage for an upcoming vacation you are taking, such as a two-week family vacation to Mexico, then a single travel insurance policy likely makes the most sense. However, if you have multiple upcoming trips, then a long-term travel insurance policy is probably the way to go. That said, long-term policies typically have limits on how long you can be away from home for a single trip. Further, with long-term policies, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance may not be offered or may be restricted to a set amount that might be a lot less than the total cost of the trips taken during the duration of the term.
If I decide to drive my car outside of Canada, is my existing car insurance still valid?
Your Canadian auto insurance provides full coverage while travelling throughout the Unites States. If you’re planning to drive to Mexico, you will need to purchase Mexican auto insurance as your Canadian coverage will stop as soon as you enter the Mexican border. You can either purchase your Mexican insurance in advance by contacting a Mexican insurance company or on the spot once you arrive at the Mexican border. For other countries, be sure to contact a BrokerLink broker to discuss options.
You may want to increase your auto liability limit while travelling abroad. Most policies have a $1 million liability limit, however injuries resulting from an accident or lawsuits could exceed this amount. Contact your BrokerLink broker to confirm the maximum amount of insurance coverage available.
I am leaving my car at home for several months. Should I cancel my auto insurance?
No, you should keep your vehicle insured in case damage occurs while you are away. If your vehicle is parked privately, securely and no one has access to it, such as parking in a garage, you may be able to remove liability and collision coverage from your policy. This will reduce your coverage to fire and theft. If you are leasing or financing a vehicle, the financing rules may require you to maintain full coverage on the vehicle, no exceptions.
Does my car insurance cover me while driving a rental car outside of Canada?
Generally your existing auto insurance policy will automatically extend third party liability coverage to the rental vehicle. Regarding collision and comprehensive coverage you will need to check with your broker to find out if you have this coverage on your auto policy back home. Any limits on your existing auto policy will also extend to the rental vehicle. Make sure that your current coverage matches the value of your rental car or you may be liable for the difference. Note, that if you decide to reduce the coverage for your car back home to fire and theft, your rental car will not be insured through your auto insurance policy. To make sure you are properly insured and to update your coverage limits contact your broker before you pick up the keys to your rental car.
If you rent a car in the US, your car insurance extends to the rental car, however, some types of vehicles such as vans and trucks may not be covered. If you rent a car in Mexico, you will need to purchase alternative coverage or check if you have rental coverage through your credit card. Speak with a BrokerLink broker to check limits and details on your existing auto insurance before you rent a car outside of Canada.
What can I do to protect my home while I am away on vacation?
To prevent water damage, turn off the main water supply, open your taps and drain any water remaining in the pipes. If you go away for a longer period of time, add anti-freeze to your drains and toilets. Does your house use a water heating system? Make sure you can turn off your water without shutting down the water supply to your heating system. You may need to consult a plumber to add an additional valve if necessary. Arrange for a trusted friend or neighbour to inspect your property regularly while away and pick up your mail. Inspections need to include all levels inside your house. Check your home insurance policy or ask your broker to find out how often your property needs to be inspected to maintain valid coverage. Regardless of your policy, we recommend daily inspections of your property while being away for an extended period of time, especially during the heating season. Learn more on how to protect your home while away.