Valley First

Travel Insurance Myths

Believing in myths is usually pretty harmless: if monster phobia causes you to skip Loch Ness on that upcoming trip to Scotland, then you’ll deprive yourself from some fine Scottish vistas but little else. However, if you skip the medical insurance for your trip because you believe, “Nothing bad ever happens to me,” then lake monsters may be the least of your vacation worries.

Whether you’re off to Scotland, heading out on a cruise, preparing for your annual snowbird migration south or simply eyeing a summer escape, a travel insurance plan needs to be at the top of your list.

Travel insurance is cost effective, easy to buy and flexible to suit any traveler’s needs. There is no good reason to pass on it and if you do, you could owe thousands of dollars.

And yet, every year thousands of Canadians find out the hard way that believing any of the following myths was the worst mistake they could make.

Travel insurance Myth #1: It'll never happen to me

This is probably true…if you’re talking about a shark attack or being struck by a falling coconut. According to scientific experts, the odds of either of those happening are respectively 300,000,000 to 1 and 250,000,000 to 1.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen and a lot of them happen while doing very mundane things like getting off a tour bus or walking down the stairs at your hotel.

And if you do fall, you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars.

Still not convinced? Check out these travelers’ tales. They all left home healthy and happy. But they soon found themselves in a world of hurt facing some hefty hospital bills. Good thing they had travel insurance.

Travel insurance Myth #2: I’ll just come home if I need treatment

Nobody knows when or where an accident is going to happen and a crystal ball is far too heavy to pack in a carry-on.

Bad food, a piece of glass on the beach, a burst appendix or a slippery pool deck can all send you straight to the hospital. And that’s exactly where you want to be if anything like that ever happens!

Accidents require immediate care. It’s unrealistic (not to mention unwise) to believe that you’ll be able to tough it out and hobble back home if you require urgent medical treatment.

Travel insurance Myth #3: I'm probably covered by my credit card/work

When you purchase travel insurance through your broker, you are able to tailor your insurance to your trip and to you to make sure that you are paying for what you need.

The insurance you get through your credit card tends to have lower coverage amounts, lower limits and fewer features. They have age limit exclusions and limitations if you have pre-existing conditions.

There are often additional requirements with most policies that you get with your credit card, such as having to report to the insurer before any treatment is given.

Many credit card companies will also cover you for reimbursements, whereas most separate insurers will pay up front.

The coverage you get through your work will vary depending on your employer and who they're getting the insurance with.

As a rule of thumb, blanket coverage is not as comprehensive as travel insurance customized for you. We highly recommend you always speak to your insurance broker before going on a trip so you understand exactly what you're covered for.

Travel insurance Myth #4: They always find a way to reject my claim

When you purchase travel insurance you enter into a contract and the insurer is obligated to pay based on the terms and conditions of your policy.

Every year, Canadians receive hundreds of millions of dollars in travel insurance claims. However, it’s important to clarify your coverage needs with your insurance provider so that you can rest easy knowing you have the proper coverage.

For example, included in your travel insurance policy might conditions regarding the stability of pre-existing medical conditions or limitations on participating in “high-risk activities.”

In either of these cases, you should review your policy and ask questions if you are uncertain.

Travel insurance Myth #5: I don’t need medical coverage while traveling within Canada

One of the biggest misunderstandings Canadians have when it comes to medical coverage is about domestic travel. A recent survey found that 79% of Canadians plan to travel across the country, but nearly half of those people (46%) said they wouldn’t need travel insurance.

Your Medical Service Plan (MSP) is sufficient for doctor and hospital charges outside of British Columbia but there are situations where you would have to pay out of pocket.

For example, if you need a medical service or drug that is not available in the province you are visiting and require air ambulance back home, be prepared to pay—it is not covered by BC MSP.

You may also want to insure yourself against trip interruption, cancellation or lost baggage—any of these incidents can cost you thousands without you ever leaving the country.

In conclusion

When you’re traveling and something unexpected happens, it sucks. There’s no argument there. But wouldn’t it suck even more if, on top of injury or illness, you were on the hook for hundreds or even thousands of dollars?

You should not spend your vacation abroad fretting about money. Getting travel insurance is a smart, simple and inexpensive way for you to enjoy your vacation. (Take a look at our travel insurance tips for more information.)

So, make your next vacation your best vacation. Bite the bullet, get that insurance and relax, knowing that you’re covered in case of sharknadoes.

Or terrible colds.

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