Insurance – a must for travel outside Canada

I wonder how soon it is going to be mandatory to show proof of travel insurance when you leave your country and travel to another one. It certainly is in the best interest of each one of us, as well as our families back home, and for the large group of #ActiveSeniors like me. These are my thoughts about insurance when traveling abroad.

Anyone traveling to another country needs to make sure they have sufficient insurance to cover unexpected travel costs.  One thing I know is that you need to have emergency medical insurance outside our country,.  In Canada, we are accustomed to having Universal Health Care coverage but that is not applicable outside our borders. We need to buy ADDITIONAL INSURANCE.

There are many insurance companies with a variety of plans to suit your needs. I’m not an insurance broker and what I’m about to tell you is based on my experience, and if let me know if you have better solutions.

You can find and buy Travel Insurance online.

The Health Questionaire forms of 20 or more questions can be easily completed. Make sure your answers are accurate and true as any misrepresentation or non-disclosure of your medical status may render your coverage null and void and will result in non-payment of your claim. Rates for seniors Travel Insurance go up every five years so be sure to budget for the escalation of the premiums.

You can buy Annual Plans, Daily Plans, Annual + Daily Plans and deductible or non-deductible. These Travel plans usually cover Emergency Medical, Trip Cancelation, Baggage Loss, Flight and Travel Accidents and more.

Shop around.  About 18 years ago I wasn’t happy with the first quote I had for travel health insurance and contacted FIVE companies and found the best coverage for the best price in a small company out of Vancouver.

Read your policy carefully: it may apply to any or all of the coverage below.

Emergency Medical Insurance usually covers you for up to $5,000,000 CDN of covered expenses incurred by you as a result of medical attention required by you during your trip if a medical emergency begins unexpectedly after you leave home but only if these covered expenses are in excess of any amount covered by your government health insurance plan or other benefit.

Eligible expenses covered could be, but not necessarily your particular policy: Emergency medical attention, Paramedical services,

An ambulance

Ambulance transportation, Emergency Dental treatment, Extra expanses for meals, hotel, phone calls, taxi, expenses related to your death, expenses to bring you home, expenses to bring your vehicle home.

In the event of an emergency as a rule you must call the Insurance Company Assistance Center immediately. If you do not call you will have to pay 25% of the eligible medical expenses the insurance company would normally pay under the policy.

One obscure thought that came to mind is (before leaving home to travel) be sure your cell phone plan allows international calls from countries like Mexico or overseas, so that you can call the insurance company if/when necessary.  You may have to upgrade your plan or pay for a temporary add-on feature.  Also, know the international long distance access code to dial before the area code.  Ensure the setting for roaming is enabled on the phone before dialing.   A phone call to the insurance company is crucial to ensure no medical costs are disqualified, so the last thing you want is to have problems connecting with the insurance company.

A typical Emergency Room

If you are in an accident you may not be treated in an Emergency Room of a hospital without proving first that you have insurance. Costs in a hospital room in many countries can be thousands of dollars per day.

It is a good idea to make sure you have all prescription medications you may need if you are out of Canada for an extended time period. Some medications that are over-the-counter in our pharmacies are not available without a prescription in other countries. I make sure I have medications for those unexpected problems that would otherwise entail medical attention in another country. Cold sore medication is one example that I always take with me,

As a family we always bought Travel  Insurance when we crossed any border. Even if we were only going a few miles into the USA. It is much better to be safe than sorry. And sorry could mean a major financial problem.

Here is a sample of the costs at a Medical Centre in California.

A woman gashed her knee and needed stitches.  The three stitches came to a itemized cost of $2,229.11.  At the same clinic a toddler who had fallen and split open her forehead was treated.  A dab of skin glue  came to an itemized cost of $1,696.00.

Enjoy traveling while you are able but don’t leave home without Travel Medical Insurance.

Whatever mode of travel you take be it by plane, bus, train or vehicle I have a bit of advice to share with you.  Always be aware of your surroundings.   In other words, pay attention, it may keep you safe in your travels.

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Ruth September 21, 2018 @ 7:02 am

    Good article! I need to do some shopping!

    • Maureen O'Shea September 21, 2018 @ 7:42 am

      Thanks Ruth. Compare the different companies for coverage and cost. You might save enough to pay for a couple of green fees at a fantastic golf course.

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