At the onset of January 2020, the Canadian government updated a Middle East travel advisory, recommending against non-essential travel due to the “volatile security situation” in Iran. Two weeks later they updated their travel advisory for the Hubei Province of China to limit the spread of a novel coronavirus. Factor in the latest scrutiny surrounding the safety of Boeing 737 Max and you can see why travelers around the world are on edge. Within one month alone we are able to highlight the absolute necessity of travel insurance, and perhaps more importantly, a call for greater understanding about what it does and does not cover. In anticipation of spring break 2020 Park is here with a look at why you need to update your insurance for travel this year, and beyond.
Four Reasons Why You Need to Speak With a Broker About Travel Insurance Before Planning Your Next Trip
1. Trip-Cancellations Are Becoming More Common
Political conflict, viruses, airplane and helicopter malfunctions, extreme weather. All of these headlines are becoming unfortunately common, and typically lead to trip cancellations. Yet so many households neglect to check-the-box on trip cancellation insurance. We understand that vacations are expensive and you are looking to cut costs wherever viable, but the odds of an airline cancelling flights and/or government issuing a trip advisory are higher than ever. You no longer have the budgetary luxury of skipping this add-on. Moving forward it’s highly recommended that you secure trip cancellation coverage. That said, the coverage provided by airlines and other parties is often not enough (more on this below) which is why you need to speak to a broker about a plan that directly includes trip cancellation benefits. Keep reading.
2. Your Credit Card’s Travel Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover Enough
Many credit card companies offer default travel insurance to cardholders, but not all policies are created equal, nor are they as comprehensive as you may have assumed. Travel insurance provided through credit cards often include restrictions based on vacation destination, length of stay, age, cost of treatment and any pre-existing conditions you may have. For instance, it is not uncommon to find that a credit card travel policy expires after the age of 64. In other cases the coverage does not apply to trips longer than 15 days. It is also important to understand the fine print on any policy. Many policies (credit card and otherwise) void coverage for injuries sustained due to participation in a “risky” activity such as skiing, scuba-diving, skydiving, and so forth. So, make sure you understand which activities are covered and which are not.
Contact your credit card provider today and ask them about what is and isn’t covered, and to what amounts. Take this information to your broker. They can review the information and provide additional coverage where possible.
3. Your Employer-sponsored Health Plan Has Holes
Your employer may provide medical insurance, which often includes coverage for international travel. However, like with credit card companies these plans may have gaping holes. Coverage typically extends up to a percentage of the total cost. Even if that percentage is large, the remaining balance for treatment may tally into the thousands, especially in the U.S. (most popular destination for B.C. residents) where the cost of receiving medical attention is very high. Employer-sponsored plans also have the same restrictions relating to age, destination, duration, pre-existing conditions, and activity participation. Contact the policy provider to find out what’s covered and what may void your coverage before consulting with a broker. Again, your broker will validate the information and can build a more robust plan around it.
4. Your Travel Agent is Not an Expert in Travel Insurance
While your travel agent (in-person or online) may be an expert on which Cancun resort serves the best margaritas, they are likely not adequately versed in travel insurance. They do not have an in-depth understanding of policy wording, and may not keep up to date on how policies could be impacted by recent government (Canadian or otherwise) travel advisories that relate to world health, political strife, weather events, and more. Go ahead and book your trip and activity schedule with them. But, when it comes to insurance, head straight to your local broker’s office so you can build a comprehensive policy from the ground up.
An independent broker will provide an unbiased assessment of your current coverage (if any), will consider your vacation destination and duration, your existing health and wellness, your activity schedule, and even any state of affairs that may impact travel advisories relevant to your plans. Contact a broker at Park Insurance today to schedule your consultation.