Travel Insurance FAQs

July 25th, 2019

A woman smiling as she pulls a rolling suitcase through the streets of Barcelona, knowing her travel insurance questions have been answered.

Travel insurance helps give you peace of mind about your financial security when the worst happens. No one wants to get sick while travelling or be forced to cancel a trip or lose their bag… but it happens. Travel insurance can help protect you by covering your costs for medical emergencies, cancelled trips, interrupted travel, and lost baggage. But we understand there is a lot of conflicting advice about travel insurance and often, there are a lot of questions. Our travel insurance experts are here to answer your frequently asked questions!

What does travel insurance cover?

What travel insurance covers depends on which type of travel insurance you have. There are three main areas of coverage:

  1. Travel medical insurance.
  2. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
  3. Lost baggage insurance.

Travel medical insurance provides coverage for emergency illness and injury treatment while you’re abroad. It does not cover medical tourism or routine care. Pre-existing conditions may also not be covered. If you broke your ankle while hiking in Switzerland or came down with an illness in India, you’d be covered. If you have diabetes and were hospitalized due to this condition, however, you may not be covered. Travel medical insurance should also cover your transportation to medical facilities or home if it is deemed necessary to continue treatment.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance can reimburse you for your costs in the event you need to cancel your trip or head home early, including transportation, accommodation, and pre-booked activities. This can include:

  • A travelling companion or immediate family member’s unexpected sickness, injury or death
  • Natural disaster at home or at your destination
  • A new travel advisory
  • Denial for your travel visa
  • Loss of your job
  • Cancelled flight or missed flight due to weather or schedule change

Keep in mind that any warning listed on the Government of Canada’s travel advisory site before you book your trip will not be covered. These events must also be unexpected or sudden; if your travelling companion is already ill when you book your trip, your claim may not be accepted.

Finally, baggage insurance covers you for lost or damaged baggage including funds to get you the essentials you need.

Some travel insurance companies also offer specialized coverage for sports or risky activities and rental cars. Your coverage will vary depending on your insurer and your coverage options.

I regularly travel. What is the right coverage for me?

Few people know that there are often limits on the number of days travelled on provincial, company, credit card, and personal health and travel insurance plans. Make sure your policy offers coverage for the length of your trip or for the number of days you will be out of the country over a year. Standalone travel insurance is customizable to the length of your trip; you can also get multi-trip travel insurance if you’re a frequent traveller.

Travel insurance is essential to anyone who travels frequently for personal or business purposes. If anything should go wrong, your expenses can be at least partially covered. Other plans that include some travel insurance may not provide the coverage you need, so it’s important to understand your benefits.

What does my travel medical insurance include?

Travel medical coverage is vital when you travel, given the costs of emergency expenses outside of where you live. Often, provincial health care offers very limited coverage outside of Canada. Even inter-provincial travel can leave you paying out of pocket for medical care.

There are different packages for travel medical insurance. A good plan should include emergency evacuation and repatriation. This will help cover the costs of getting you to medical facilities and transporting you home if you need to continue treatment. Some plans also offer things like prescription replacements, which may be essential for you. While pre-existing conditions are not always covered, some companies offer special exceptions for a higher premium.

You should also consider what activities you’ll be engaging in while travelling, as some won’t be covered by travel medical insurance. Skydiving, for example, is a risky sport that may require the purchase of an add-on coverage to ensure you’re covered.

As an example, here are some fees that can be covered by travel medical insurance:

  • Doctor’s services
  • Ambulance services including emergency air transport
  • Diagnostic laboratory tests, including x-rays
  • Prescription drugs
  • Essential medical supplies
  • Professional medical services such as physio
  • Emergency dental services
  • A hospital allowance for incidental charges
  • Return travel to your home country (including for immediate family or travel companions)
  • Out of pocket expenses relating to your medical emergency

How many days will I be covered by my travel insurance?

Always ask any travel insurance provider how many days you’ll be covered. If it is a generic plan, the limit is usually between 10 and 30 days. With a specialized travel insurance plan, you can extend your coverage to the length of your trip or account for multiple trips.

When should I buy travel insurance?

If you want coverage for trip cancellation or trip interruption, you should purchase your travel insurance before you book.

You should purchase travel medical insurance before you leave. Some insurance companies allow you to purchase it after you’ve already left, but there may be a waiting period.

What is the maximum amount I’ll get for a claim?

Ever travel insurance policy will have a “policy limit.” That is the maximum amount you will receive. There are usually options for what this amount is. Remember that you’ll also be responsible for paying a deductible.

If I have a medical condition, can I get travel insurance?

Yes, you can get travel insurance even if you have a medical condition. However, you may be required to fill in some paperwork or visit your doctor for documentation. You may also not be eligible for coverage if your trip cancellation, interruption or medical emergency is related to that medical condition. In other cases, you may simply need to pay a higher premium. Talk to your broker about your options.

Will I need coverage for lost or misplaced baggage?

Depending on your travel insurance policy, baggage coverage will be optional. Some policies automatically include it and some insurers offer it as standalone coverage.

A recent study suggested that 15% of bags that are lost or misplaced are never recovered. If your bags are lost, stolen or delayed, baggage coverage offers payment as well as funds for necessities.

Does my travel insurance include both domestic and international travel?

Yes, your travel insurance will cover you for domestic and international travel. The exception is any place where the Government of Canada advises against all travel.

Your provincial, credit card and company health and travel insurance may not cover you internationally or may be limited. Check your policy to ensure you’re covered for your type of travel.

Do I need coverage for trip cancellation or interruption?

If you pre-book a vacation, you could be out a lot of money in the event you need to cancel or head home early due to a family emergency. Trip cancellation or interruption coverage could help cover the money you invested in your trip or the expenses of getting home. Of course, not all scenarios are covered: anything warnings listed on the Government of Canada’s travel advisory site and situations you had prior knowledge of will not be covered.

Should I get rental car insurance?

If you plan on renting a car, it’s important to protect yourself in the event of an accident or damage to your vehicle. In order for your personal car insurance to cover rental vehicles, you’ll need a special endorsement. There are sometimes restrictions such as you must have an international license or that rental cars are only covered in certain countries.

You can also opt to purchase a standalone rental car insurance policy, use the rental car agency’s insurance, or your credit card insurance – or all three!

Your broker is always available to answer questions and help you determine what coverage you need. The more frequently you find yourself travelling, the more exposed you might find yourself to risks. Proper travel insurance can help you rest easy without having to worry over extensive costs if an incident should occur.

Contact your Rogers Insurance Professional to get a quote today.

Blog Author: Gabrielle Reid

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