TORONTO TRAVELERS’ CARDINAL RULES OF INSURANCE PLANNINGUpdated on Feb 15, 2014
For as studiously as Toronto travelers plan their snowbird migrations or simple week-long vacations to sunny southern climates, wisely chosen travel insurance policies still sometimes must offset the worst-case happenings that happen anyway.
Not all locales throughout the world pose the same potential risks. Just the same, many travelers carry varying degrees of travel medical insurance depending on offerings from credit card companies, policies extended as a part of employer benefits and coverage extended by retirement benefits. There’s also always the influence of cost and individual travelers’ currents states of health.
Before a vacation, a few trip-specific considerations deserve substantial forethought. Thinking of some things uniquely could save a bundle in the event not only of incidental emergency healthcare needs but other unforeseen inconveniences.
INSURE WHAT YOU PACK
If you don’t know for certain or believe there may be a policy loophole in it, don’t optimistically assume that your household insurance policy will cover replacing any belongings damaged during your trip – even though there are a number that do.
Instead, be sure. Confirm before departure that any policies provided through credit card providers or home insurers will cover the loss, damage or theft of any pricey personal electronics that you plan on bringing. One set of lost luggage or a hotel room break-in later, and replacing a nicked camera, iPod, phone or GPS suddenly adds up fast.
Luckily, a number of credit card brands in particular extend purchase assurance or security insurance to their cardholders, providing a full-refund window after a purchase in the event an item ends up lost or stolen.
KNOW YOUR RISKS
Wherever you travel, look into any frequently encountered risks and check them against all current insurance umbrellas.
If headed somewhere particularly exotic, develop a conscientious understanding of unique local health hazards such as pandemics and seasonal weather alerts. Many Canadians travel on humanitarian missions to severely impoverished or unstable regions. Many of these destinations, as demonstrated by recent events in North Korea, are characterized in part by the risk of kidnapping or detention. Still other regions pose certain higher risks for travel-delaying natural disasters that could strand travelers indefinitely.
If traveling internationally, one of your most important calls should be to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada for a thorough profile of known risks. While you’re at it, become familiar with policy provisions that can extend coverage, make coverage adjustments on short notice and provide grace periods for one or more flights canceled or missed due to emergency conditions.
PRETEND THERE IS NO “LAST MINUTE”
Make your travel insurance one of the first things you secure before leaving Toronto’s friendly confines, not one of the last.
Many policies can provide timely refunds should sudden illness or other circumstances force your trip’s cancellation. The catch is, qualifying to include this bail-out provision usually means purchasing the policy practically immediately after booking your trip – usually within days or hours.
Most importantly, cast a wide net among providers before choosing a travel insurance policy. Travel insurance is a competitive market and securing four or five quotes could certainly net you a prime deal. Finally, always consult your physician when applying. More than one wandering Torontonian’s claim has been declined on account of an improperly filled-out questionnaire that either fraudulently or unintentionally misled an insurance company by failing to properly represent preexisting conditions or other major health concerns. It could be the difference between comprehensive coverage and being left with a bank-breaking set of expenses.