Travel requires more than airports, luggage, logistics and planning. Sometimes things happen while you’re away that you never planned for. What happens when you’re far from home and you get hurt?
In our haste to “get outta Dodge” we cannot forget to purchase travel insurance. As the headlines about the growing dangers in foreign countries pile up, it would be negligent to not have something in place to protect your health.
While many provinces provide some travel coverage, it’s not enough. Through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) Ontario residents are entitled to doctor services up to Ontario’s fee guide, emergency outpatient services ($50.00 per day) and emergency inpatient services ($200 – $400 per day, depending on the severity). All of these services are payable up to the Ontario fee guide amount OHIP’s website outlines their coverage here. The site also tells you how to qualify for coverage.
Most of the services covered by provincial plans have a cap on the amount payable. Payment of any fees incurred beyond what they cover would be your responsibility and are almost always ridiculously expensive.
To avoid having to file for bankruptcy due to bills incurred on vacation, might we suggest getting in touch with a travel insurance broker? With several plans to choose from, you can have solid coverage for many different scenarios.
Know Your Health Status
If you have travel plans and become sick, you should think about whether or not you should go. If you think that you can handle travelling, be aware that your condition might worsen while you’re away, and you won’t have the same services available to you without insurance.
The same goes when travelling with other family members. If one child becomes ill, should you cancel your plans, or go ahead with them? Make sure everyone in your family is covered, because if something happens, everyone will be affected by the experience.
Another important thing to consider is the overall safety of the places you visit. In recent years, Mexico has had an influx of crime involving tourists. London and Paris have been targeted by terrorists.
The Government of Canada has a repository of destination-specific travel information. You can search your destination on their Travel Advice and Advisories website and make an informed decision.
Before you go, imagine different scenarios. Don’t worry yourself sick over them, but think about the “what ifs” that can happen when you’re away from home. Did you pack enough medication? What if you run out? What if you get food poisoning?
You can even go so far as to research the nearest health centres and hospitals to where you will be staying. If you have any doubts, you can call ahead and ask questions. That goes for your travel insurance too…ask questions!
How ToFile a Claim
Claims to the insurance company usually occur long after the accident or illness. When you’re in a foreign country and need medical attention, you must contact your insurance provider immediately if possible, if not then as soon as you possibly can.
Always contact the Travel Assistance Company listed on your insurance card. Most plans will limit the coverage payable if you do not contact them. They want to deal directly with the doctor or hospital if at all possible, as they are experts on the cost of medical services world-wide. If the insured pays directly, the insurer cannot negotiate a fair price for the service.
Vacations are for relaxation, fun and forgetting the everyday stresses of life. With travel insurance, you can relax that much more, knowing that you and your family have a safety net in place…just in case.
Travel is definitely a topic you should bring up with your insurance broker. They will be able to walk you through the process and answer your questions.