Richard Fecteau

By Richard Fecteau

December 15, 2016


Travel Insurance: Questions You Should Ask Before You Leave

Article revised on 19 June 2018

You’ve packed your bags and told people about your trip. You have taken all the necessary precautions, and you’ve even purchased Travel insurance. That’s all good, but before you go, ask yourself these few questions to ensure peace of mind.

Does my Travel insurance cover me for the entire time that I’ll be away?

Many travellers are covered under more than one Travel insurance contract. They can have coverage under a group plan, an individual Health plan and a credit card plan. That way, they have more than one insurance contract for reimbursement of medical expenses incurred outside their province of residence.

In such a case, some people might be tempted to use the Travel insurance provided under their credit card for the first part of their trip and then the individual Travel insurance they purchased prior to departure for the second part of their trip. However, it’s important to be vigilant, especially when it comes to “pre-existing conditions!”

A pre-existing condition is essentially a health problem you were aware of prior to the effective date of your Travel insurance. Say something happens while you are covered by your first insurer (in this case, the coverage provided under your credit card). If you experience a relapse while you are covered by your second insurer (the individual Health plan), you have a pre-existing condition. In this case, there’s a good chance that the second insurer will not reimburse your expenses, as it will consider your condition to be one of which you were aware, i.e. one that was “pre-existing.”

It is important for you to communicate with your insurer to be sure you’ll be covered at all times, in any situation.

Is my Travel insurance tailored to my trip? Does the insurance policy exclude any activities and sports I might take part in?

Clients often consider only the cost of the premium when purchasing insurance. They say that they want the least expensive option. That’s fine, but you must ensure that you are adequately covered, regardless of the activities in which you participate.

Climbing the world’s highest mountains, hiking, sky diving and scuba diving are typical examples of activities that fall under adventure tourism. It’s important to know that most activities under adventure tourism are not covered by individual travel insurance or your group insurance.

Check with your insurer before you go!

What types of coverage do I have under my Travel insurance?

A Travel insurance policy provides different types of coverage. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Medical and hospital coverage
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance
  • Baggage and personal effects coverage

Regardless of the type of travel you do, if you leave your province of residence, you need insurance that covers medical expenses incurred outside your province.

Do I need to take my insurance contract and certificate with me on the trip?

Definitely! You need to have these two documents in your hand baggage, as the customs officers in certain countries (such as Cuba, for example) ask to see a copy on your arrival. You will also find the telephone numbers to call in case of emergency on these documents.

If a medical emergency occurs, and I have a pre-existing condition, will I be covered under my Travel insurance?

Your condition must have been stable and under control for a certain period prior to departure. If not, you may not be covered under your Travel insurance.

If you have any concerns about the state of your health, contact your insurer before you go on your trip.

Should I get any particular vaccines?

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises those travelling abroad to contact a physician “preferably six weeks before departure.[1] Your specialist will know which vaccine to give you prior to your trip.

You might also want to consult a travel medicine specialist to get the necessary medication and vaccines.


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