Avoiding a travel nightmare

We’ve all heard about Canadians travelling abroad who find themselves stranded in a hospital and running up huge medical bills.

Hospital bills can run from $5,000 to over $1,000,000 depending on the health issue.

How can you be sure that you have sufficient coverage and that a claim won’t be denied?

It’s important to understand that travel insurance is not a health plan, but is designed to cover expenses if you suffered a medical emergency while travelling outside your province of residence.

Be aware of what a pre-existing medical condition is. Even simple illnesses that you don’t think are a problem can come back to haunt you when you try to make a claim.

Do not believe that if your medical condition is being managed and causing little disruption to your daily living, that it’s of little importance to the insurer.

In reality, travel insurance policies exclude coverage for some medical conditions, and failure to disclose these could invalidate the policy and leave you without any coverage.

If you have a medical claim, the insurance company WILL look through your medical history. If you did not disclose a pre-existing condition, your policy can be considered void even if your medical emergency has nothing to do with your preexisting condition.

If you are travelling while pregnant, make sure that you yourself are covered.

With pregnancy, your unborn baby is not covered for insurance as you cannot insure an unborn child.

If you go into labour while on vacation, the medical bills for your newborn can become monstrous.

Read your policy carefully before you travel. Ask for help to fully understand the eligibility requirements, terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.

Coverage may be limited or denied for things such as participating in sporting events, certain recreational activities or if you are intoxicated at the time of your injury or sickness.

If your health changes in any way, including a change in medication since the time you purchased your policy and the time you leave on your trip, you must inform your insurer or the policy may be invalid.

Applying for travel insurance online is easy, but you need to be aware that the responsibility is completely on you to declare all the medical facts which can be both confusing and contentious.

When shopping for travel insurance, cheaper and convenient is not necessarily better. If you do have a pre-existing condition, you may not qualify for regular travel insurance, but you can still apply for travel insurance with medical conditions included.

Your premium will be higher but you will have the peace of mind that a medical emergency will be covered.

You need to ensure that you have the right insurance for you.

The last thing you need during a holiday medical crisis is finding out that you’re not covered.


Peter Boys,

Boys Financial Services

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