Travel insurance is not a standard insurance product like car insurance, home insurance or life insurance. There are a few elements that make it special. First, it is a post-underwritten product. Even if it has been purchased, the decision on covering a travel insurance claim is made later when the person has faced a potentially insurable situation (getting emergency medical care abroad, facing non-paid cancellation fees, etc.). In some cases (e.g. if information provided when buying a policy was incorrect) the claim might be denied.
Secondly, travel insurance is often embedded within other products, that we will discuss further below. It is helpful for travel advisors to know where their clients can have travel insurance coverage and if a lack of coverage is identified, to offer additional travel protection.
So, let’s start…
Many Canadians have personal insurance policies like health insurance. In most cases it is either a top-up to a group policy that a person already has or an individual health insurance policy because the person does not have access to group insurance (e.g. freelancer, person without a job or between jobs, person who works for a company that does not offer group insurance).
Some elements of travel insurance are sometimes included in these individual insurance policies, though it is important to check the details such as what travel coverage is available, for how long, etc.
Also, other life and living benefits policies (e.g. disability and critical illness insurance) might have different components related to travel, such as accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
Group Insurance Through Employer
Group insurance policies are typically paid for by an employer and they come with a set of various benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness insurance. In most cases, group insurance will include some type of travel insurance coverage (most likely travel medical insurance) but it is important to check the policy to understand the exact coverage.
University Insurance Plans
University insurance plans are similar to group insurance where the university plays the role of an employer and a student is being covered by the university insurance plan, similar to an employee. This travel coverage may include such components as
- Emergency medical coverage
- Trip interruption benefits
- Trip cancellation benefits
Similar to group insurance, it is important to understand the details of a university insurance plan before the trip.
Travel Insurance on Credit Cards
Many Canadian credit cards come with a wide array of travel protection that is sometimes hard to understand in detail. Travel insurance coverage on Canadian credit cards is typically more robust than on U.S. credit cards, and may include the following elements:
- Trip Interruption Insurance (more about Trip Interruption Insurance on credit cards)
- Trip Cancellation Insurance (more about Trip Cancellation Insurance on credit cards)
- Emergency Travel Medical Insurance (more about Travel Medical Insurance on credit cards)
- Rental Car Insurance (more about Rental Car Insurance on credit cards)
- Flight Delay Insurance (more about Flight Delay Insurance on credit cards)
- Baggage Delay/Loss Insurance
- Common Carrier Accident Insurance
- Burglary Insurance (more about Burglary Insurance on credit cards)
It is not possible for travel advisors to know details of travel insurance on every credit card. This is why many Canadian and U.S. travel advisors use TravelAndCards services to access details of travel insurance protection on nearly every credit card. This service comes with a one-month free trial for all new subscribers.
Interestingly, car insurance might have a few elements of protection relevant to travel. That’s rental car insurance that you can use when you are renting a vehicle while on vacation and, in some cases, the card may offer some other protection elements.
It is important to mention that using your own rental car insurance while abroad (after confirming that the country is covered within the individual’s car insurance policy) is a much better option than using rental car insurance (or better said, their rental car collision and damage waiver) or the insurance offered by the rental agency. Individual car insurance would likely have additional protection elements such as extended individual liability, accident benefits and better coverage limits.
Dedicated Travel Insurance Policy
A dedicated travel insurance policy is the best travel insurance protection choice when going abroad as it can be tailored to the trip’s specifics (trip length, required coverage limits and travel protection components). Travel advisors know, however, that often the path to sell this travel insurance leads to explaining to clients why their other travel protection coverages are not enough. That’s where TravelandCards comes in and helps advisors to educate their clients about travel insurance details on nearly every credit card. Try it yourself for free for one month.