Kids will be out of school soon; the sun is shining, and travel is on most people’s mind. The adventure, the fun, and exotic places are in demand as many have postponed vacations long enough.
When preparing for a trip, your checklist of things to do should contain a confirmation of travel insurance. The type of coverage most people will need when vacationing falls into 3 categories:
- Is intended to cover the losses of cancelling a trip because of sudden and unexpected circumstances. For example, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 before your departure date and need to cancel, this insurance would provide coverage.
- This plan would typically allow for coverage when you develop a new medical condition (including COVID-19) during your trip and are unable to travel home on your originally scheduled date.
- This coverage will also provide coverage for food, accommodation and return transportation home if you miss your originally scheduled flight due to a medical emergency..
Emergency Medical Coverage
- Helps protect you if you have an immediate medical emergency or get sick while travelling out of your home province or out of country. There is also coverage available for immediate medical treatment for a previously diagnosed chronic condition that was medically stable prior to departure. Medically stable usually refers to no changes to medications or treatment in the 90 days prior to departure.This coverage provides for immediate medical treatment only. If you leave the hospital and come back the following day for a follow up visit or more tests, this is considered a “follow up visit” and thus not eligible for reimbursement. Thus, make sure all treatments, tests, etc. are completed prior to leaving the medical treatment facility.
Additional Tips for a Worry Free Holiday
- Before travelling we encourage you to check out the Government of Canada Travel advisory for the latest updates on your chosen travel destination.
- Call your insurance company for pre-trip advice on passport, visa, vaccination, and inoculation requirements for your destination.
- Know your coverage and exclusions before travelling, such as pre-existing health conditions, recent injury or illness, and changes in medication. Many contracts will have a stability clause of 90 days before departure. If you are placed in medical quarantine (such as a positive COVID-19 test result) while travelling, but are not sick or having a medical emergency, your plan would likely not provide any coverage.
- Always travel with your Group Benefits card and your provincial health care card. This is how insurance companies confirm your coverage and residency.
- Should a medical emergency occur, be sure to call the insurance carrier for assistance. If you cannot get through via phone then email them with “URGENT’ in the subject line and provide your name, contact phone number, email address and of course your Group and Certificate number.
- A COVID-19 test solely for the purposes of travel (without a prescription) is not an eligible expense under an Extended Health plan or a Health Spending Account.
- Many insurance carriers also provide support in replacing lost documents and tickets, referral to legal assistance in your foreign destination, and telephone interpretation service.
- Remember if you are travelling within Canada, you may still need travel insurance as each province has different healthcare systems with varying degrees of coverage and thus many emergency expenses may not be covered.
If you are travelling for business, the nature of work and where you are travelling may require additional insurance protections not available in your regular group benefits plan. Additional business travel coverage may be required by the country in which work will take place or may be desired to help with various crises such as wrongful detention, natural disaster, violent crime and more.
For most employees, the out-of-country coverage available through their organization’s extended health plan should be sufficient to meet their needs while travelling. However, as an HR professional it is important to communicate the limitations on such coverage to your team and to understand when your company may need specialized coverage for business travellers, ex-pats, and in-pats. Knowing what your current travel insurance policies include and exclude will help save you and your people from frustration and financial loss.
If you would like to learn more, please sign up for our Travel Insurance webinar at CPHR on August 4th.