WHY WE INSIST ON COMPREHENSIVE TRAVEL INSURANCE
When “Josie” called me to design a luxury safari for her, we had an instant connection and chatted for a long time. She was stressed, she was overworked, and she needed somewhere wild and exotic to get away to. That first phone call soon turned into an easy friendship and her excitement over her first solo trip abroad, was infectious! I was so excited for her as she had no idea of the all the fabulous moments she was going to experience in Zimbabwe and Botswana, the two destinations I had chosen for her.
The anticipation of a trip is an exciting part of the journey and I enjoyed going through packing lists, photography details and tips & tricks to get her ready as before we knew it, her departure was only 4 weeks away. Josie had gone to her local travel clinic for a few routine travel shots and unexpectedly started getting migraines. Initially her headaches were frequent and severe and though they lessened, she just was not feeling well over the following weeks, so much so that her doctor advised her to cancel the trip. I was devastated for her but knew it was the right decision.
Thankfully, as part of our planning and preparation service, I had spoken to Josie regarding the importance of good travel insurance and sold her a comprehensive policy with Manulife. The claim process I did on her behalf meant a full 100% claim pay-out of the full costs of her safari. Without insurance, she would have suffered a complete loss of her trip as she cancelled within 7 days of departure.
Now more than ever we feel that no one should travel without insurance. Covid has given us so many examples around the world where an unexpected pandemic has led to thousands of uninsured travellers, losing large sums of money. None of us expected a virus to affect us globally but that’s exactly the point of travel insurance. Protection again the unforeseen & unexpected.
As travel insurance can be so confusing, allow me to simplify the two major components, Cancellation & Interruption and Medical, what they mean and when you need them.
CANCELLATION & INTERRUPTION
Cancellation insurance should ideally be bought on the same day as the payment of your trip deposit. That way, you’re assured that your deposit is protected if something should happen to you before you depart from home. In many cases, large trips are booked a year in advance, and anything could happen to you or your family in the time leading up to your vacation (such as the case of ‘Josie’ above). Did you know that approximately 70% of all claim pay-outs are for incidents that happen before you leave home? Interruption is coverage needed for an interruption during your trip – for example you break your leg on day 4 of a 14-day vacation and you can’t continue with your trip. The remaining pre-paid days are covered and reimbursed.
Coverage for the medical component of your trip starts when you leave your front door to depart on your vacation and ends on the day of your return. Any unexpected emergency is covered, such as the medical treatment you would need if breaking your leg in a foreign destination. A good policy should give you all the extras such as air evacuation, ambulance, hospitalization, repatriation and more. Remember this is NOT about you ‘never getting sick’, this is about the unexpected – an accident while in a taxi, a serious stomach bug on a beach vacation, the twisted ankle or heart attack you never saw coming.
While working in Northern Botswana several years ago, I was responsible for organizing the emergency flights out of our luxury safari lodges whenever a guest needed a medevac to the nearest hospital. Though some of these emergencies were for serious incidents, many were for symptoms of extreme dehydration. Regardless of the severity, they always ended up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can imagine, the further you are from a major hospital, the higher the evacuation cost will be. One thing that always stood out though was the exceptional care, service and professionalism that the patient and the family received, as part of an insurance-covered medevac. Without it, you’ll be left navigating the fears, decisions, and extreme costs, on your own.
We offer a comprehensive range of insurance options such as Youth packages, Travel within Canada, Visitors to Canada (great for family visiting from abroad), Covid Pandemic Plan and even coverage for pre-existing conditions. Please contact us for advice on how best to protect you and your family.