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Have suitcase, will travel

Your vacation prep list should include travel insurance.

Canadians are dusting off suitcases, renewing passports and starting to travel again. According to the Conference Board of Canada, more than 3.3 million of us returned from an overnight trip outside Canada during the first quarter of 2022. That number was seven times higher than during the same period in 2021 and split fairly equally between trips to the United States and other international destinations.[1]

However, travel has changed, with more elements to consider. COVID-19 is still a factor around the globe, and contracting it before leaving or while away may mean cancelled flights and extended hotel stays with all the associated costs. In addition, the travel industry is still navigating the challenge of maintaining appropriate staffing levels to meet pent-up consumer demand. Understaffing can lead to unexpected delays and cancellations. All this uncertainty makes travel insurance more important than ever. 

Protection from travel risks

Nobody wants to lose money for a trip they can’t take or pay additional expenses because they can’t get home as planned. Depending on the policy, single-trip or multi-trip travel insurance can help provide protection against a wide range of things that everyone hopes won’t happen – but that just might.

Emergency medical coverage helps pay costs for hospital stays, physician consultations, paramedical and ambulance services, emergency dental treatment and emergency medical evacuation home. Importantly, it can also cover expenses for extended hotel stays, extra meals, phone calls and child care, as well as the cost to bring someone to your bedside if you are hospitalized abroad. 

Trip cancellation and interruption coverage helps take care of non-refundable or non-transferable costs for prepaid travel bookings in various scenarios – for example, if there is an unexpected medical emergency or death, a Canadian government–issued travel advisory for your destination, a cancelled business meeting, an unissued travel visa or a missed flight connection.

Baggage loss, damage or delay coverage generally provides a set amount per trip to compensate travellers for lost or damaged luggage and, in the case of delay, the purchase of necessary toiletries and clothing, as well as costs for replacing a lost or stolen passport, driver’s licence, birth certificate or travel visa.

Specialized COVID-19 pandemic coverage can provide emergency medical coverage for illness due to COVID-19 after a positive test result at the destination, including emergency air transport home, quarantine expenses and costs related to being denied entry to another country. It can provide an extra level of comfort while COVID-19 remains a potentially disruptive risk.

Wishing you safe travels

In many areas of our lives, including when we travel, we hope for the best. But it’s important to plan for the unexpected too. Medical coverage is essential when travelling outside Canada to help cover the costs of anything that goes wrong with your health. Non-medical coverage is important as well, to protect your investment in your vacation and reduce expenses when a flight is delayed or a bag goes missing.

Speak with your advisor to find the right travel insurance to meet your needs, or visit coverme.com for more information. Having appropriate protection can make your anticipated trip that much safer. 


A testimony to travel insurance in action

Wendy, a travel agent based in British Columbia, was on her way to a one-week Mexican cruise departing from Los Angeles when her connecting flight was delayed for one hour on the tarmac in Calgary. An hour doesn’t sound like much, but the ripple effects almost cost her the whole vacation. By the time she arrived in L.A., collected her bags and made it to the pier where the ship was docked, she had missed the final boarding call. 

Fortunately, Wendy had both trip cancellation and interruption coverage and specialized COVID-19 pandemic coverage. She booked a Los Angeles hotel for two nights and then flew to Puerto Vallarta, where she caught up with the cruise. And she kept receipts for those extra costs, along with meals and Uber rides, so she’d be ready to file her insurance claim when she got home.

Then, the morning she was to board the cruise ship in Puerto Vallarta, Wendy woke up with her eyes swollen shut because she’d had an allergic reaction to a motion sickness patch she had applied in preparation for ocean travel. The crew allowed her to board, but she had to be on an intravenous drip for four hours – a second claim under her travel insurance, this time for medical treatment. 

The rest of the trip was blissful: five days of relaxation and sunshine with her sister. And, thanks to her travel insurance, Wendy’s time on the cruise wasn’t clouded by concerns about how she’d pay for all those unexpected extra costs. 

Wendy’s story used with permission from Wendy Lanphear – a Manulife customer and travel agent.

[1] Conference Board of Canada, Outbound Canada – May 2022.

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