It’s very important to carry health & travel insurance coverage when you travel. Not only will you enjoy your trip more, this coverage may save you from financial ruin!
- Ensure you have complete travel insurance before leaving – trip interruption insurance, trip cancellation insurance, travel accident insurance, delayed or lost luggage insurance are all possibilities.
- Out-of-country emergency medical insurance is essential. Your normal medical insurance carrier may not cover you in foreign countries, or may only cover you for the costs that you would normally incur in your home country. Sometimes, your normal medical insurance carrier will offer you a better deal for out-of-country coverage than another carrier might (such as those offered by your travel agent). Shop around for the best coverage, but don’t leave home without it!
- Virtually all travel insurance sold in Canada and the USA contain “pre-existing” clauses. This means if you see your doctor AFTER you purchase your travel insurance but BEFORE you travel, it is highly likely your travel insurance is invalid. If you must see your doctor for some reason within this time window, you should call your travel insurance provider, notify them of the circumstances, and ask them to confirm you are still covered. If they say “no”, enquire what options you have to ensure you have coverage while traveling. Personally, I make it a practice to take care of any medical issues that I can well before my travel date (including prescription renewals), and I also wait to buy my travel insurance (including medical coverage) until a day or two before I travel.
- As a preventative measure, I recommend all travellers seriously consider taking the vaccine Dukoral, which provides protection from Cholera as well as Travellers’ diarrhea caused by ETEC. Yes, there is effective protection available for the dreaded Travellers’ diarrhea!
- If you plan to rent a car while in a foreign country, be aware than purchasing rental car collision/loss damage insurance from car rental companies is costly. Some auto insurance carriers at home will extend their coverage to fully cover you when you rent a car while travelling. Otherwise, blanket coverage offered by some premium credit card companies may make sense. The per day insurance charges you might otherwise pay to a car rental company may pay many times over for any annual fee for a premium credit card, assuming you travel on a regular basis.