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Top tips for purchasing travel insurance that's right for you

Elaine Elson is a Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker. She’s also the insurance services manager at Envision Financial’s Chilliwack City insurance office.

Over the years she’s seen many people come to her asking for travel insurance tips.

“Often times, travel insurance is an afterthought,” Elson says. “Most people don't leave for a trip thinking they're going to end up getting injured or in a hospital, but it happens more often than you think and the resulting bill can make staying at a five-star hotel seem like a bargain.”

Related: Read these real-life travel stories.

“We always encourage people to purchase travel insurance any time they go away - it gives great peace of mind knowing you're protected if anything happens.”

Elson cautions that not all travel medical insurance is created equal. Here are her travel insurance tips on how to navigate through the many options out there and choose the package that's right for you.

Travel insurance tip #1: Get the best value for your dollar by determining length of coverage needed

“Travelers need to determine whether it is most beneficial to buy single trip coverage or longer term insurance,” says Elson. “It all depends on the types of vacations you go on.”

If you take just one big trip a year, the single-trip coverage will be your best option.

But if you're a frequent traveller who takes multiple trips a year, you may want to consider getting an annual policy that covers all the travel you plan to do in one calendar year.

Travel insurance tip #2: Read the fine print

“When buying travel insurance, many people just think about the costs of the premiums—opting to choose the ones with the lowest price tag,” explains Elson.

“Of course, getting a good price is important, but you need to make sure the amount and type of coverage you buy is appropriate and sufficient to cover off any potential claim you may need to make during your trip.”

For example, Elson says that if you're going to be taking part in anything that may be considered a high risk activity, such as scuba diving or skydiving, you'll want to make sure your insurance covers that.

Travel insurance tip #3: Don't forget about out of province travel

“Generally speaking, we see most people buying travel insurance for out of country travel,” says Elson. “But travelers need to be aware that provincial health care coverage differs in each province.”

Even if you're just travelling within Canada, you need to make sure you're protected by purchasing travel insurance to bridge any potential gaps.

Related: Don’t fall for these 5 travel insurance myths.

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