Travel Insurance 101

Before purchasing travel insurance, it’s helpful to equip yourself with some basic knowledge about travel insurance, including what it is, the main types of coverage available, and the circumstances under which it can be critical for you and your family.

What is travel insurance?

At its essence, travel insurance provides protection against unforeseen events that can occur before or during your trip, ranging from minor mishaps to major misfortunes.

Are you a Canadian resident or a visitor to Canada?

Depending on available plans, travel insurance options are usually first divided into two categories for:

  • Canadian residents planning a trip abroad (whether travelling outside their home province or internationally).
  • International visitors coming to Canada. 

Coverage for one trip vs. multiple trips

Travel insurance products offered to Canadian residents are typically available for two types of travellers:

  • Travellers who are planning on taking an upcoming trip, and are looking to be covered for that specific trip only.

  • Travellers who take frequent trips, and are looking to be covered for as many trips as they wish to take within a one year period. These plans for frequent travellers are often referred to as Multi-trip insurance plans.

Main categories of travel insurance benefits

  • Emergency Medical Benefits – If you become unexpectedly sick or injured during your trip and require emergency medical treatment, these benefits will cover eligible medical costs for hospitalization and more, along with providing emergency assistance services.

  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Benefits – In case you need to cancel your holiday before you leave or interrupt your trip after departure due to a covered reason, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits will help you recover the cost of booking expenses such as flights and accommodations which you paid for in advance.

What does travel insurance cover?

While Emergency Medical and Trip Cancellation and Interruption are the two foundational categories of travel insurance, policies will often have additional supplementary benefits that can help further reduce financial and emotional stress when the unexpected interrupts your travel plans.

As an example, the Comprehensive Package and the Non-Medical Package offered by Allianz Global Assistance both also include benefits for Travel Delay, Baggage Loss, Baggage Delay, Travel Accident and more.

However, like any insurance product, such as auto insurance or property insurance, there are specific terms and conditions that outline when and how reimbursements are made – as well as situations that are not covered.

Additionally, the features and benefits of travel insurance can vary broadly depending on the provider offering the product, and the type of policy that’s selected. As a result, it’s important to educate yourself on the nuances of travel insurance to determine the best option for your unique needs.

Regardless of how you choose to purchase travel insurance, always be sure to review your policy in detail before travelling in order to understand what is and isn’t covered. If any aspects of your coverage are unclear, contact your travel insurance provider to have your coverage explained and your questions answered.