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Don’t be excluded! Know what your travel insurance covers—and more importantly, what it doesn’t.

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Finance

Whatever your travel plans, buying travel health insurance is a smart idea. Without proper insurance, you could subject yourself and your family to potential risk — and huge financial losses.

Why travel insurance?
When you are away from home even the most minor injuries or illnesses can become a major expense. So while an accident or illness can happen anywhere at anytime, emergency medical travel insurance helps to protect you from the unexpected costs that can come with a visit to a doctor or hospital outside of your home country.

Out of country medical expenses are costly.
The cost of medical treatments and services abroad can be staggering. Even the most minor injury or illness could cost you thousands of dollars. Consider the following example provided by a leading Canadian travel insurance provider – the total cost of medical expenses for a 44-year-old who accidentally fell from a ledge was a staggering $457,370. His provincial health plan only covered $29,149, which means that, without emergency medical travel coverage he would have been $428,221 out-of-pocket.

Your provincial health plan may not cover the bill.
Many travellers don’t realize that their provincial health plan doesn’t cover all the costs of medical treatments received outside Canada. At best, your health plan may cover a small portion of your medical emergency costs.

A flight home may not be an option.
Medical evacuation can easily cost more than $10,000, depending on your location and medical condition.

The good news is that even the most basic emergency medical policies can cost as little as $13 dollars a week and provide coverage for emergency medical treatment and services such as:

 Hospitalization
 Ambulance services
 Lab tests
 X-rays
 Prescription drugs
 Emergency flights home

In addition, more comprehensive packages can be purchased that include:

 Transportation of a relative to your bedside
 Dental accidents
 Vehicle return
 Out-of-pocket expenses
 Childcare attendant
 Meals and accommodation
 Pet return
 Baggage loss or damage

However, you should be aware that emergency medical travel insurance policies do have exclusions, which is why it’s important to read through the coverage details carefully.

Common travel insurance exclusions
In general, most emergency medical policies do not cover the cost of medical treatment for accidents, injuries or illnesses caused by or related to the following conditions or activities:

 Professional Sports
 Elective treatment or surgery
 Alcohol or drug use
 Pre-existing conditions
 Mental, emotional or nervous disorders
 Speed contests or organized motor contests

In addition, most basic emergency medical policies do not provide coverage for or have significant restrictions on the following activities or events:

 Scuba diving, sky diving, rock climbing etc.
 Pregnancy/Childbirth
 War or Terrorism

If you plan to participate in any sports or activities similar to the ones highlighted above you should speak to a travel insurance representative to get more information on any exclusions or conditions. Additional coverage may be available for certain activities.

Finally, some travel insurance savings tips

 Don’t accept the first package you’re offered. Travel insurance policies can vary by over 100% for similar coverage. By doing a little legwork, you could save a lot of money.
 Don’t feel pressured into buying a policy from your travel agent. Although you may save a little time by buying your policy through your travel agent, it is unlikely you’ll get your policy at the best price.
 If you are a frequent traveller consider purchasing an annual policy. If you plan to take more than one trip this year, buying an annual policy instead of a single trip policy could save you both time and money.

Before you leave, get emergency medical travel insurance quotes from competing insurers online and get the coverage you need. Compare emergency medical travel insurance today!

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