The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing Canadian Travel Insurance

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With the uptick in travel and the frustrations travellers are experiencing in airports, you’ll want to be prepared for anything. And while travel insurance can seem very confusing at times, by taking the time to learn more about travel insurance, you’ll be able to make sure you and your loved ones are covered no matter where your adventures take you. 

Things can change at a moment’s notice, so it’s important to make sure that you’ll be able to avoid a costly medical emergency abroad, losing all the non-refundable deposits you’ve put down for your dream vacation, and/or prevent a denied travel insurance claim. 

In this post, we’ll be breaking down travel insurance basics; the different types, why it’s important, how to purchase it, and a cheat sheet for choosing the right travel coverage. 

What’s travel insurance & why does it matter?

Travel insurance may not be the most exciting part of your travels, but it’s one of the most important. Purchasing coverage can seem like an unnecessary expense, but the right travel policy provides an important safety net when you’re away from home. 

Just like you wouldn’t drive a car without car insurance or own a home without home insurance, purchasing the right travel insurance protects you from the costs associated with things like unexpected medical emergencies, cancelled flights, or lost luggage.  

The pros & cons of buying travel insurance 

Of course, the top “pro” for purchasing travel insurance is simply peace of mind. As travel continues to ramp up, the right insurance policy will give you the flexibility you need to travel worry-free.  

Here’s a quick look at some pros & cons: 

Pros

  • Peace of mind
  • Ensures the best care in the event of an expensive medical emergency abroad
  • Covers trip cancellations, interruptions and delays 
  • Covers the cost of lost or stolen luggage and valuables 
  • Covers rental car damage 

Cons

  • Is an additional cost to your trip (although you’ll be thankful to have it when you need it) 
  • Depending on the insurance provider, age and pre-existing medical conditions can void or restrict coverage 
  • Certain high-risk sports or activities may not be covered 

The added expense of travel insurance is one of the main reasons some travellers may skip buying it. Stories from other travellers who’ve had their claims denied or found out they weren’t covered after an emergency already occurred, may also make you question the value of purchasing a policy.  

However, the best way to avoid these “cons” is to ensure that you read and understand your policy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your policy documents, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance professional or provider to ask for help! 

Airport signage baggage claim, ground transportation

Types of travel insurance

Travel insurance is split into two main types– emergency medical and non-medical coverage. Policies should be customizable for your specific needs; that’s why it’s important to reach out to an insurance professional to find out what’s right for you.  

Let’s dig in…  

Emergency Medical Insurance

This is the most common type of travel insurance and is a must-have for any trip. This insurance provides emergency medical coverage for unexpected injuries or sickness requiring attention while you’re travelling; make sure your coverage includes coverage for expenses due to COVID-19.

Non-Medical Insurance

Another common type of travel insurance is “non-medical” coverage. Especially if you already have emergency medical coverage, this insurance will help fill in the gaps—missing flights, lost baggage and more. These types of plans can be purchased individually or as a package. When a non-medical plan is purchased as a package, you’ll be covered. 

Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance

If you’re forced to cancel your trip, this insurance will reimburse your travel costs if your plans are cancelled before your departure, due to one of the covered risks listed in the policy. You’ll also be covered in the event of a delay or if your trip is interrupted during your travels.

Trip Interruption Insurance 

When you’re sure that you won’t cancel your trip, this coverage is an affordable alternative to Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance. It covers interruptions or delays, due to one of the covered risks listed in the policy, after your departure, and/or throughout your vacation. 

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

With AD&D insurance, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ll have coverage in the event of an accident causing death or dismemberment while on your trip.

Baggage Insurance 

With unfortunate baggage delays becoming a regular occurrence for many travellers, optional add-ons like baggage insurance can offer you even more peace of mind.

With TuGo, if your luggage ends up being delayed, lost, or stolen on your trip, this optional add-on coverage can be added to a variety of single trip insurance plans. With our Baggage Insurance, you’ll receive reimbursement for:  

  • Lost, damaged, destroyed or stolen baggage and personal effects, anywhere in the world, on water, land or in the air 
  • Stolen currency due to theft or robbery, up to the benefit limit 
  • Personal necessities if your baggage is delayed, up to the benefit limit 

Rental Car Protection  

Rental Car Protection says it in the name: it protects your rental vehicle against damage or loss. With TuGo, this optional add-on coverage can be added to a variety of single trip insurance plans to cover: 

  • Physical damage to a leased or rented automobile 
  • Loss of a leased/rented automobile
  • Towing, salvage, fire department charges, custom duties, and reasonable loss of use

Customize your travel insurance

Single trip versus multi trip annual plans

If you’re headed for one dream-worthy vacation a year, a Single Trip Emergency Medical plan will offer you the coverage you need for that one trip. This plan is customizable, and available for worldwide travel, for worldwide excluding USA travel and for travel within Canada.  

If you’re a frequent flyer who takes more than one trip in a given year, Multi Trip Annual Emergency Medical is your best option. With this plan, you get to choose the trip length and can have coverage for unlimited trips for your chosen number of days for the entire year.  

TuGo also offers Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance and AD&D as single trip or multi trip annual plans

Already have Emergency Medical with another provider? You may need a Top Up plan!

If you have travel insurance through your credit card or employee benefits plan and realize that it won’t cover the full length of your planned trip, Top Up coverage is available. 

If your existing plan only covers 10 days, but you’re planning to leave for 14 days, you can get TuGo Travel Insurance as a top-up policy to cover the remainder of your trip; in this case, it’d be 4 days. That way, you’ll never be without coverage. However, you should verify with your existing provider that they allow their coverage to be topped up by another insurance provider as they may void or restrict coverage if you don’t extend or top-up with them. 

Group of young men cheering after whitewater rafting

Optional coverage add-ons available with TuGo 

Sports & Activities Coverage 

TuGo offers an optional coverage that allows you to be as adventurous as you want to be!, When added to TuGo’s standard Emergency Medical Insurance,  get coverage for sports/activities like:  

Wondering if your sport or activity of choice is covered? Learn more about what’s covered under TuGo’s Optional Sports & Activities Coverage.  

Cancel for Any Reason 

This optional coverage is available as an add-on to TuGo’s Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance, All Inclusive Holiday Package and Non-Medical Package. It’s great if you’re looking for flexibility. When purchased in the 5 days from the date of making the initial payment, or before any cancellation penalties from the travel supplier apply, you’ll be able to: 

  • Cancel your trip for any reason not already listed as a covered risk in the policy 
  • Be reimbursed up to 50% of the pre-paid, unused non-refundable travel costs, or up to the sum insured selected before departure which is non-refundable and non-transferable to another date—as long as you cancel your trip more than 5 days before your departure date.

Types of travel insurance packages available with TuGo

All Inclusive Holiday Package 

This all-in-one travel insurance package is available to travellers 59 years of age or younger, and provides comprehensive coverage including Emergency Medical, Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption, AD&D and Baggage Insurance. 

Non-Medical Package 

If you already have emergency medical coverage but are looking to protect yourself from other travel mishaps, a Non-Medical Package may be right for you. This package combines Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) and Baggage Insurance, so you’ll be covered for missed flights, lost baggage and more.  

Terms to know 

Understanding your insurance policy is paramount to ensuring you have the coverage you need, and helps you avoid a denied insurance claim. Below, you’ll find 3 key travel insurance terms to help you review your policy.  

  1. Premium: This is the amount of money you’ll pay an insurance company in exchange for coverage. The cost of your premium amount will be different depending on the type of policy, the individual, deductibles, limits, of coverage. 
  2. Deductible: The portion of eligible expenses you must pay from your own pocket when an eligible claim occurs. For example, if you have a $500 deductible for medical emergencies on your insurance policy, and you’re in an accident that results in $5,000 in hospital costs, the policy would pay $4,500.
  3. Exclusion: Exclusions outline situations or events that your travel insurance policy does not cover.
Older woman with open luggage using her laptop

When to buy travel insurance

You can purchase travel insurance as long as you haven’t already left on your trip. However, it’s best not to wait until the very last minute since your policy must be purchased before departing on your trip to be valid.  

For Trip Cancellation Insurance, it’s important to note that if you purchased your policy more than 72 hours after you booked your trip, you won’t be covered for disease, illness, or death (other than caused by an accident) within the 72 hours after the date the insurance is purchased.  

The sooner you purchase, the better. Once your vacation is booked and your deposits are paid, this insurance will cover unexpected events that happen before you leave. An untimely illness or injury, job loss, or other circumstances outlined in your policy wording that thwart your vacation plans will likely be covered.  

Preparing to buy travel insurance 

We hope that this deep dive has given you the tools you need to feel confident to purchase the right travel insurance policy. Taking the time to understand your travel coverage always pays off in the long run. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller, or just starting out, here’s our cheat sheet to help you ask your insurance professional the right questions to get the coverage you need. 

Travel Insurance Cheat Sheet

If you want:  Make sure your travel policy includes: 
Payment of medical expenses if you get sick or injured on a trip and need emergency care that’s not covered by your government health insurance plan Emergency Medical Insurance 
To be covered under your emergency medical plan if you’re participating in extreme sports or high-risk activities  Sports & Activities Optional Coverage (specifically available from TuGo) 
Reimbursement of non-refundable reservations if you get sick and have to cancel your trip or end a trip early; reimbursement if you incur extra costs (e.g., lodging) due to a delay by the airline or other carrier.  Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance 
Reimbursement of your non-refundable pre-paid travel costs no matter why you have to cancel your trip.  “Cancel for Any Reason” Coverage (specifically available from TuGo) 
Payment for lost, stolen or damaged baggage.  Baggage Insurance
To be covered if you are renting a car while on vacation and want to have protection for rental car damage.  Rental Car Protection 

For more information, visit our Travel Insurance FAQs page, or contact your trusted insurance professional or TuGo’s Customer Service team

Safe travels,
Angie

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