Purchasing travel insurance when we leave Canada is a no-brainer. It’s paying a small amount to avoid incurring bills in the thousands and even millions. However, it is an extra expense. The cost for the baby boomer demographic is rising, and can become prohibitive if there are pre-existing medical conditions.

What are the important points to consider when purchasing Emergency Medical Travel Insurance? How do you balance price and coverage to ensure you are not paying too much, but also adequately insured if a problem arises?

Here are some tips from Roger Crandlemire, CFP of Ottawa Asset Management Inc. in Ottawa, Ontario:

  1. Coverage amounts vary widely, so be sure you are comparing apples to apples when comparing prices between carriers. Ask to read the policy document, or have an agent explain what is covered. Becoming seriously ill in the U.S. can rack up bills of over 5 million dollars. You could easily pay close to the same premium for $10 million in coverage as $5 million, and have twice the coverage.
  2. All-inclusive policies can easily be double the cost of the emergency medical insurance. To reduce costs, purchase emergency medical coverage and add stand-alone trip cancellation and interruption coverage, if deemed necessary.
  3. Purchase travel insurance as soon as you know you’ll be travelling – up to 6 months in advance. Rates typically increase once a year, and it’s best to lock in the lower price if possible. If your travel plans are cancelled, you can cancel the insurance and get a full refund.
  4. Families (usually covers up to 2 parents or grandparents and 2 children) receive a significant saving, and couples (applies to travel companions, not just spouses) receive a discount as well.
  5. If you only travel once a year, single-trip coverage would be sufficient. However, if you travel frequently for work, or if you plan on several trips during the year such as shopping trips into the US, trips to other Canadian provinces, and heading south for winter, multi-trip coverage will save you some money.
  6. If you regularly travel to another Canadian province, be sure to invest in emergency medical insurance – the coverage is usually provided at a 50% discount so is very inexpensive. It will cover costs of prescription drugs, ambulance travel and return transportation to your home province, as well as travel costs to have a family member come to assist you if you are hospitalized.
  7. If you have multi-trip travel insurance, you are automatically covered for any trips (regardless of the length) within Canada. That’s a nice bonus that gives peace of mind in the event of an accident or illness while away from your province of residence.
  8. Another way to reduce your costs is to take some of the risk, and choose to pay a deductible amount – $500 US, and upwards.
  9. If travel is important to you, and you’re under 65, you may want to consider Manulife’s Term80 plan that locks in your insurability until age 80. More on that in another blog post!

Travel insurance is a must – even for short trips and even for travel within Canada. Use these tips to help you own the key coverages at the best cost!

Contact us today for a free quote!