Travel Medical Insurance Tips

Did you know, that according to a recent survey, over half of Canadians planning to travel this summer don’t have travel insurance in place for their trips?  Some travelers believe that they have adequate medical coverage through their provincial healthcare plan, credit card or group benefits plan. But, what are the specific terms of your benefits plan?  Do you have local or international travel plans? Even if you purchase a dedicated policy, travel medical coverage hinges upon many variables.  For many travelers, what is and isn’t covered becomes a very grey area. Park Insurance is here to make sure we clear up the matter before you gas up or book a ticket to your next vacation destination.

6 Things You Need to Know About Travel Medical Insurance Before You Take Your Next Trip

1. Full Disclosure Before You Get It

When securing travel medical insurance full disclosure will make or break eligibility and coverage. You must disclose any preexisting medical condition. Failure to do so may impact or completely void your policy. Everything from an allergy to a heart condition and beyond must be presented to an insurance provider. This includes pregnancy, so even if you only suspect that your expecting find out before making international travel plans. In addition, if your health changes after you’ve purchased your policy, you must inform your provider as the diagnosis may alter your existing coverage.

2. Full Disclosure After the Fact

In the event that you have received treatment on your travels, make sure that you disclose everything to your insurance provider when the time comes to file a claim. When attempting to recoup expenses they may follow-up in great detail with the medical staff and physicians that received and treated you. Omitted facts can end up voiding your policy and leave you with a hefty bill.

3. Dangerous Activities May Void Your Insurance

Adventuresome souls, extreme athletes, and those with a penchant for activities outside of the normal human comfort zone will need to take note. Your activities across the border or abroad may void your travel medical insurance policy. What are these activities? They may include but are not exclusive to the following:

  • Scuba diving without PADI or other internationally recognized certification
  • Parasailing / skydiving
  • Cliff diving
  • Base jumping
  • High-speed motor sports
  • Big wave surfing
  • Other

This is not to say that you cannot partake in any of the above. Your policy may or may not cover you. For instance, professional action sport athletes will likely have a policy via their sponsor or representation. The point here, is that you need to find out (see item #6 below) before you take that trip to partake in a dangerous activity.

4. Keep Necessary Documents on Hand at All Times 

When you get travel medical insurance you will likely be given a card to carry along on your journey. Keep this on you at all times. Most international facilitates will not admit you and treat an ailment without documentation of your coverage. Keep a copy back at your hotel too, and in a place that a travel companion knows about in the event that they have to return to retrieve it for you.

It is also ideal to free up space on an internationally accepted credit card. Most international medical facilities will require up-front payment for a portion of the visit and treatment. For example, let’s say you suffer a severe arm fracture while traveling in the U.S. and that you require surgery to have it put back in place with titanium screws. Even with adequate travel medical coverage you may have to pay upfront for the surgery while the materials (titanium) would be billed after the fact. While your policy may recoup all expenses to you at a later date, you will want to have cash (debit) or credit to cover the initial payment.

5. Make Sure You’re Insured for Those Day Trips Across the Border Too

Lower Mainland residents can appreciate this better than any. It is common to make a quick hop across the border for gas, groceries, leisure, shopping or to pick someone up from the airport. Households either forget to get proper travel medical insurance for these short trips or decide that they won’t need it. The latter is a very bad decision. The assumption is that if there is injury or illness that they can make it back across the border and home to a local medical facility. Don’t be one of them. An accident or sudden illness (allergic reaction, etc.) can leave you or a loved one incapacitated or facing escalating harm if not treated immediately. Not having coverage can either delay/prevent treatment and/or cost you tens of thousands, or more. For this reason alone it’s a good idea to maintain annual coverage so that you’re prepared for spontaneous trips across the border.

6. Have an Independent Insurance Broker Assess Your Travel Medical Insurance Plan

Consider travel medical coverage in the same way you do your automobile and homeowners insurance policy. Without adequate coverage a fun excursion can become life threatening and lead to years of debt. Have an independent insurance broker assess your current coverage for national and international travel as a B.C. resident before you take your next trip. Contact Park Insurance today so that you can move about the world with complete peace of mind.

Happy (and Safe) Travels!