An insurance plan is a group of benefits that will cover specific risks.
The most important plans in Travel Insurance are the ones that cover risks that put your life or health in danger. Optional coverage like Baggage or Sports can also be purchased as a way to enhance the coverage of a basic plan, e.g. Emergency Medical or Trip Cancellation/Interruption.
Click on the links below to learn more about the different Travel Insurance plans.
The benefits offered by this plan will cover the expenses related to a medical emergency out of your country of residence such as:
- Service fees from doctors or other medical professionals
- Diagnostic tests (blood test, x-rays, etc.)
- Emergency medical evacuation (return to your country of residence)
- Repatriation and preparation of mortal remains
The key in Emergency Medical is the word emergency and it refers to an unexpected event that puts your life or health in danger and requires immediate medical attention. The event can be a sickness, injury or accident.
However, once the emergency is over and the doctor tells you—or the medical evidence shows— that you can continue your trip or go back home, you will not be covered for that same emergency or it’s recurrence. This is where a lot of people get confused because they think Emergency Medical Travel Insurance will cover them every time they need to see a doctor and it is definitely not the case.
There are many situations in which you might need to see a doctor, but do not qualify as an emergency and will not be covered. For example, the continuous treatment of a chronic condition like dialysis for renal failure, or the replacement of lost or stolen medication are not considered medical emergencies, therefore they are not covered.
Another one of the big concerns people have with Emergency Medical Travel Insurance is when an emergency is related to a pre-existing medical condition. Again, definitions and exclusions are the key here. A medical condition is basically a disease, illness or injury for which you had symptoms, received or were recommend to get treatment; consulted a doctor or dentist before leaving on your trip, and is not considered by the insurer as a minor ailment.
Just because you don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes it doesn’t mean you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition. A tooth pain you had two weeks before your trip is considered a pre-existing medical condition and you will not be covered if you have an emergency related to it until you meet certain conditions like being stable.
Stable is another very important definition that you can find in the Emergency Medical plan. For the insurance company a pre-existing medical condition that is not stable according to their own definition is not covered, period. Be sure to read this particular definition to find out if you meet the criteria of the insurer.
Stability has two important components: time and the exact situation of a particular medical condition before you leave on your trip.
Insurance companies vary a lot in the time you are required to be stable for, e.g. 30, 90, 180 or 365 days, depending on your age, what type of pre-existing medical condition you have, the duration of your trip and other factors. The situation of your medical condition must have remained unchanged in that period of time. Unchanged can mean a lot of things for different insurers, but a good rule of thumb is:
- You have not had new or worse symptoms;
- your medication has not been altered in any way;
- your doctor has not recommended or prescribed any new treatment;
- you have no on-going diagnostic tests or pending results from tests;
- you have not been referred to a specialist.
Do not assume you will be covered just because you feel fine and your doctor says you are fit to travel! If you have any doubts, confirm with your general practitioner if any of the above-mentioned points apply to you and contact a WekTI Travel Insurance expert to get personalized advice.
Emergency Medical Travel Insurance premium is basically determined by your age and the number of days you need coverage for. Other factors like deductible, answers to the medical health questionnaire (if applicable) and selected optional coverage, e.g. Sports optional coverage, will impact the final calculation.
Another important consideration when purchasing Emergency Medical Travel Insurance is eligibility; for example, you cannot purchase the same plan as a Canadian resident if you are a non-Canadian International Student or a Visitor to Canada.
The benefits of this plan will cover the risk of losing the money you paid for your trip in case you have to cancel before leaving or interrupt it to go back home before or after your original return date.
Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption insurance will cover the travel expenses that are pre-paid and non-refundable by another source. So think plane tickets, concert tickets, a non-refundable rent of an AirBnB apartment, etc. Any expense that you have to pay for before leaving and that you cannot get back in case you cancel can be covered by the Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance plan.
Most hotel reservations can be cancelled 24 hrs before check-in, so generally speaking that is not something you will include in the amount insured under Trip Cancellation. On the other hand, we all know airlines won’t give you your money back for a cancelled flight unless it’s their fault (and even then…). With Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption travel Insurance you can get back the cost of the plane ticket, or have the insurance pay for the administration fee (that can be pretty costly) to change your departure or return date.
Tip! Only insure the amount you are at risk of loosing if you cancel your trip. If you are paying your trip in installments, you can start by insuring your deposit, e.g. $500, and then increase the covered sum insured.
Trip Cancellation coverage starts the day you purchase the policy and ends the day you leave on your trip.
Trip Interruption coverage starts the day you leave on your trip and ends the day of your return or shown as “expiry date” on your policy declaration.
Not everything is covered under Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption insurance. Be sure to read the full list of covered risks in the policy wording. Covered risks can be related to the following categories:
- Delays of a common carrier due to weather conditions
- Natural disasters
The rule of thumb with Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is that the reason to cancel must be unforeseen. If you have knowledge in advance of a specific reason to cancel or interrupt your trip, you won’t be covered for it.
See the following examples:
Ana is an international student studying in Canada. She books a trip to got to Mexico to visit her family during the summer. Two weeks before leaving she falls and breaks a leg. Her injury is unexpected and one of the health related covered risks. In this case, her Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance plan covered the administration fee the airline charged to change the departure date on her plane ticket.
Saul books a trip to go to New York during the holidays. His boss told him that it is a busy time of the year and he might have to stay to work on an important project. Saul decides to purchase Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance “just in case”. When the date of his departure approaches, his boss asks him to stay and cancel his trip. Saul’s claim is denied because he knew beforehand he might have to cancel his trip for this reason.
Tip! Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance will only insure travel expenses paid with credit card (or cash). Trips paid with Air Miles or other points systems have restrictions so check with your WeKTI Travel Insurance expert or review the policy wording.
AD&D (Accidental Death and Dismemberment)
This plan will cover the risk of losing your life, a limb or your eyesight in case of an accident.
There are two kinds of accidents considered in this plan: accident on an airplane or common carrier (bus, ferry…), and any other kind of accident, e.g. car, a fall, etc. The sum insured paid in the event of an accident as a riding passenger on an airplane or common carrier is higher than the sum insured for any other kind of accident.
In the event of your death, your beneficiary —or beneficiaries— will get the total sum insured specified for this plan. If you do not name a beneficiary, the default option is your estate, which means that the sum insured will be distributed according to your will.
In the event of dismemberment due to an accident, you can get 50% or 100% of the sum insured depending on the loss you suffered, i.e. one or two limbs, sight on one or both eyes, etc.
AD&D plans are not expensive and they are an excellent way to get a more comprehensive coverage, specially if you have people dependent of you.
Tip! Accidental Death & Dismemberment Travel Insurance plan is not a substitute of Life Insurance.
Optional Coverage is an excellent way to enhance a basic Travel Insurance plan like Emergency Medical or Trip Cancellation/Interruption. You cannot purchase an optional coverage without a basic plan.
This optional coverage will cover the risk of loss, damage, destruction or theft of your personal belongings while you are on a trip, i.e. in transit, staying at a hotel, etc. You might want to consider Baggage insurance specially if you are documenting luggage and have multiple stopovers.
Baggage optional coverage is excess to other insurance policies or contracts. This means that whatever is not covered by the other insurance or contracts, will be covered by the Baggage optional coverage; just remember exclusions, terms&conditions apply.
Most likely, items like electronic devices, sports equipment, jewelry, designer clothes and handbags, etc., will be excluded from coverage . Other than that, the company will make a valuation of the cost to repair or reimburse in kind and quality what was lost or damaged and pay to the limit of the sum insured (somewhere between $500 and $1 500 CAD depending of the plan and the insurer carrier). So think of it as a way to get back part of the money you will have to spend to get some emergency clothes and toiletries.
Tip! If your bags are stolen you will have to get a police report to file your claim.
Car rental protection
You want to get this optional coverage to protect you from the risk of loss or damage to a rented vehicle.
Generally speaking, Rental car protection optional coverage is less expensive compared to the coverage offered by car rental agencies.
Just keep in mind Rental car protection optional coverage does not include third party liability, nor will it cover the emergency medical expenses incurred by the passengers of the covered vehicle.
This coverage is not really optional if you practice, train, compete or participate in a sports activity that is excluded from the basic Emergency Medical plan. To know which sports need the Sports optional coverage, review the policy wording of your policy.
There are three sports categories that require the Sports optional coverage:
- Contact: Boxing, ice hockey, etc.
- Adventure: Back-country skiing, hang gliding, mountaineering up to 6000 mt., etc.
- Extreme: Ultimate fighting, Mixed martial arts, etc.
Be sure to read the list of each category in the policy wording to check if the sport you are practicing, training for or competing in is included. If it is listed, you have to add the corresponding Sports optional coverage (Contact, Adventure or Extreme) to your Emergency Medical plan in order to be covered for an accident or injury related to that sport.
You won’t find jogging, trekking or swimming in the above-mentioned lists, so these are good examples of sports that do not need the Sports optional coverage. However, if the sport you are inquiring about is high-risk and not listed, it will be in your best interest to double check with the insurance company or a WeKTI Travel Insurance expert just to make sure that you are covered under the basic Emergency Medical plan.
Tip! Not all insurance companies offer the Sports optional coverage.
If you are considering purchasing more than one basic plan and one or two optional coverages, you might want to check the quote for an All-Inclusive or Holiday Package for more cost-effective Travel Insurance.
This plans have age and trip length restrictions. In case you are not eligible to purchase them, you can always select each plan individually with the optional coverage you need and add them all to your shopping cart.
What is included?
- Emergency Medical
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Another advantage of getting Travel Insurance is that you get assistance services that can be incredibly useful, specially when you are in a foreign country. The emergency lines of most insurance companies have multilingual agents which can be extremely helpful if, for example, you need someone to translate for you when dealing with the attending physician of an out-of-country medical emergency. They can help you reach family or friends, contact your embassy, assist with finding the nearest medical facility, etc., and provide important information for your trip. Remember, they are travel experts!
Tip! Travel Assistance is a free benefit included in your insurance policy.