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    July 2012
    M T W T F S S
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    Sunburns aren’t the only things that could hurt this summer

    Tammy Johnston

    Summer is here in full swing and we are looking at getting out of the house and visiting great places in and out of our home province. As long as we stay close to home and don’t cross any borders all is good. The moment you cross a border, provinical or national, you MUST HAVE GOOD TRAVEL INSURANCE. Just because you are staying within Canada does not mean you are covered. Provincial reimbursement maximums vary from province to province and can be as low as $100 per day. Plus a lot of health care providers will not bill out of province and you need to pay up front. An unexpected illness or accident like a heart attack, a broken leg, or even something as simple as food poisoning or heat stroke, can cost more than you ever imagined.

    Good travel insurance is very affordable and something you never want to be without. There are three main issuers of travel insurance and they are: Group insurance, credit cards, and stand alone travel insurance. Here are a few questions to ask when evaluating travel insurance:

    1. Is the coverage pay direct or is it a reimbursement plan?
    If it is a reimbursement plan you have to pay all bills out of your pocket and then submit receipts to be reimbursed.
    2. Does the insurance company have to be notified before seeking medical treatment or within 24 hours of an incident or hospitalization in order for the insurance to be valid?
    If you have been in a serious accident or suffered a major illness, contacting the insurance company immediately might slip your mind in the commotion. If that happens are you still covered? Does your coverage limit reduce drastically if you don’t ask permission before seeking medical care?
    3. How does the company treat pre-existing conditions?
    If you have high blood pressure, does your travel insurance exclude you for anything that could happen that could be linked back to your high blood pressure or are you covered?
    4. What is the coverage limit?
    $1,000,000 is not a lot of money when dealing with major hospital bills, especially south of the border.
    5. Does it cover you when doing “fun” activities such as scuba diving?
    Does your coverage have an escape clause for them if you get hurt doing activities on vacation such as scuba diving or rock climbing.
    6. Does it cover non-medical expenses such as travel and expenses for a family member to be with you if needed?
    If your doctor advises you to have a family member with you during your stay or to travel back with you because of your injury or illness does your travel insurance pay for their travel and expenses as well as yours?
    7. Does it cover all your family members, even if they aren’t traveling together?
    If your children are visiting friends or relatives in another province or country without you are they covered?
    8. Is this a single trip or multi-trip annual plan?
    If you travel outside of your home province on a regular basis, traveling for business, to visit to family, or just for fun, you might want to look into an annual policy.
    9. What is the trip length you are covered for?
    The longer you are on the road the greater the risk and therefore the greater the cost of the insurance. If you think you are already covered, check the travel time limits to make sure you are properly protected.
    10. Are you covered for car accidents?
    A lot of travel insurance provides no coverage whatsoever for car accidents and force you to use your Section B benefits on your auto policy.

    The reason we have insurance is to make sure we are properly protected should something happen. It is important to KNOW in advance how our coverage really works, and not find all the nasty loopholes when it comes time to claim.

    “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.”
    Benjamin Disraeli

    The MONEY® Network