Travel Advisory from the Government of Canada

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? Historic plummeting and soaring temperatures, snowstorms, forest fires, hurricanes, floods, political upheavals and unrest, a fluctuating market—and that only sums up what was happening in countries commonly referred to as “stable democracies.” How can travellers adjust to such an unpredictable world?

The Government of Canada’s travel advisory states: “If you plan to go abroad, even on a day trip to the United States, you should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada… No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories twice, once when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave. If a Travel Advisory is issued for your destination, after you make your arrangements but before or during your trip, it may affect your travel health insurance or trigger your trip cancellation insurance. Make sure you understand any terms and conditions in the policy in regard to travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canada.” (travel.gc.ca)

Travel insurance is more important than ever and insurance companies are collaborating with travel insurers to rewrite policies and improve public perception of a complex product. Now is a good time to review your policy for 2019 and beyond and ask some important questions.

A Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) of Canada (thiaonline.com) survey found that 42 per cent of Canadians are favouring domestic travel over travel to the U.S. Even so, not all provincial and territorial medical plans are created equal, so you should clearly understand what yours covers and where. Anything over and above that requires a supplementary travel insurance plan.

Also, following the Canadian government’s recent legalization of the recreational use of marijuana, THiA released results of another survey indicating some Canadians are unsure of the implications of travelling while in possession of the drug, be it for recreational or medical purposes. What does your policy say about this?

According to Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO for VisitorsCoverage (VisitorsCoverage.com), U.S.-bound Canadians might consider purchasing a U.S.-based travel insurance policy. Shrivastava cites many reasons. First of all, it’s apparently cheaper. Secondly, these policies often have Preferred Provider Networks (PPOs) that have little or no co-pays and no deductibles. And thirdly, travellers can be assured they will be medically cared for if repatriation is difficult due to bed shortages in Canada (a pervading issue according to the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal (itij.com).

Canadian passports, it seems, are a hot commodity. Global Affairs Canada reported 10,052 passports lost or stolen in 2017. Comprehensive travel insurance should always include coverage for lost or stolen luggage, passport loss or theft and border entry denial.

Families should never travel without three lesser-known travel insurance coverage options: Return of Minor Children, Emergency Reunion, and Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation for political unrest or natural disasters.

Global travellers should look into “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage as it’s the only type of travel insurance that allows cancellations for civil unrest.

If you’re the adventuresome sort, you always need a Hazardous Sports Rider or other specialized insurance for anything other than walking, swimming or light hiking. If you are injured participating in anything other than these activities, your travel medical insurance will not cover treatment or hospitalization.

As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

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