Making sure that you have the right travel insurance coverage before you travel is crucial. Travel insurance for business travellers is essential.

Medical care

Costs for medical care in many places around the world, particularly the US, can be very expensive.  An unexpected visit to a doctor’s office or clinic can easily run into the thousands of dollars.  If hospitalization is required, costs could escalate to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the medical issue and the length of your hospital stay. Business travelers and the self-employed in particular may overlook the need for adequate protection.

"Since Canadian provincial health insurance plans pay only a small portion of medical expenses incurred out-of-country, it is essential to have private travel insurance to protect against expenses from unexpected medical emergencies."

Policies

Travel insurance policies provide specialized assistance services designed to provide you with support while you are travelling or in the event you need to make a claim.

These include:

  • A toll-free assistance number staffed by specialized representatives who speak several languages and can direct you to the nearest medical facility around the world and monitor your progress.
     
  • Direct payment to the hospitals, clinics and doctors that are treating you, so that you have no out-of-pocket expenses.
     
  • In the event you are hospitalized, provide assistance with bringing a family member to your bedside.


Consider the story of the consultant who goes for an early morning run prior to a conference in the United States. Through an unfortunate turn of events she shattered her ankle requiring immediate surgery, a hospital stay and special airline arrangements for the return home. The consultant in this case had a travel medical insurance policy that directly covered all the associated costs which exceeded $35,000 US.  Since Canadian provincial health insurance plans pay only a small portion of medical expenses incurred out-of-country, it is essential to have private travel insurance to protect against expenses from unexpected medical emergencies.  

The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada has identified three simple rules to help Canadians have carefree trips:

  • Know your health, and don’t be afraid to check with a healthcare. provider if you have any questions
     
  • Know your trip.
     
  • Know what kind of existing coverage you might already have and what kind of policy you’re getting.

If you don’t have existing travel medical coverage and are purchasing it specifically for your trip, it is available from a variety of sources, ranging from insurance company and travel agents to insurance advisors, banks and professional associations.

Knowing your health

The first point, knowing your health, is key. After that, ensure you have an idea about the frequency and length of trips you will be taking.  If you are a frequent traveler, it may be that an annual plan that covers all of your trips within a yearly period up to a specified number of days is best.  In addition to medical, do you require enhanced protection such as car rental collision damage insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance and lost or delayed baggage insurance?

Understanding your benefits

It is crucial to read and understand the benefits, exclusions, limitations, eligibility, and pre-existing conditions for your coverage before you travel.

If you are relying on existing emergency travel medical coverage through a benefit of your credit card, review the insurance certificate and benefits guide. If you are unsure about any aspect of your coverage, call the toll free customer service number in your certificate.

If you don’t have existing travel medical coverage and are purchasing it specifically for your trip, it is available from a variety of sources, ranging from insurance company and travel agents to insurance advisors, banks and professional associations.