No one wants or anticipates an unexpected illness or injury to occur while vacationing or travelling for work. However, planning for the unexpected is where planning works best.
Whether you are headed to Montreal or Shanghai, Vancouver or London, having travel insurance and fully understanding its limits is critically important. In fact, whenever you leave your province — even on a day trip to the United States — travel insurance is not only smart but indispensable.
Get the Facts Straight Before Departure
Simply purchasing or enrolling in travel insurance before your departure is not enough. It is essential that you not only fill out your travel insurance application questionnaire thoroughly and honestly but that you also read the fine print and completely understand possible limitations or exempt circumstances in your coverage. Furthermore, you should know what you would pragmatically do in the event of an emergency while away from home.
A Cautionary Tale
Bill and Tracy Jennings of Gold River, B.C. realized the complexity of using travel insurance while vacationing in Fort Walton, Florida several years ago. Although the Jennings purchased what they thought was a comprehensive travel insurance plan, an error in the initial completion of the travel insurance application caused a large claim they made to be denied.
While in Florida, Bill experienced chest pains, and upon arriving at an area hospital, five blockages were found that required immediate attention. Emergency surgery was necessary, and he could not be flown back to Canada for fear of another episode at high altitudes.
Fortunately, the surgery was completed with success. But six months later, the Jennings received a bill at their Gold River home, charging them $346,000 for their American medical treatment. Why? Their Manulife travel insurance had denied their claim because Bill had misunderstood the initial questionnaire and failed to inform the company of two previous conditions. Reading the questions, however, it is easy to see his error. The often-confusing language of the fine print in travel insurance is one of the reasons claims are often denied.
Fortunately, not all travel insurance plans will deny their policyholder’s claims and cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jim, a recent Canadian traveller to South America, suffered a massive stroke while away from home. However, by the quick action of Jim’s spouse Elaine, in immediately contacting their travel insurance rep, the couple was able to receive treatment and care at a nearby internationally-qualified hospital, thus saving his life and reducing the stroke’s effects on his health. By having the proper insurance plan and taking the proper action, Jim and Elaine saved approximately $40,000 in what could have been billed that they would have had to pay.
3 Tips to Remember if You Have to Make a Claim While Travelling
- Call your insurance provider as soon as possible. It will not only give you peace of mind to know your claim is covered; the insurance representative will often be able to provide key resources for getting treatment in the region: where to go for care, top-rated hospitals, and the best doctors in the area.
- Keep track of everything you spend that is related to the claim. This means saving all your receipts and requesting itemized receipts where possible. These will need to be given to your provider as part of your claim.
- Review your coverage so you know exactly what you have access to, and relay this information to your medical professionals. You want to pay out-of-pocket, as little as possible, and sometimes this is simply a matter of keeping your care providers aware of your limits.
Make sure your clients and their employees completely understand their travel benefits before they travel. As an Advisor, you can direct any questions you or your clients have concerning these policies to our Benecaid Customer Care Team who is available through phone or text at 416-626-8786 or email at email@example.com.