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Avoid astronomical medical insurance bills with proper medical coverage

Protect yourself from unexpected costs while travelling

The arrival of another Canadian winter means the annual migration south for Canadian snowbirds. Well-seasoned travellers understand there’s more to consider when booking travel than simply deciding where to go, however, others often forget a crucial element — securing adequate travel insurance. 

“People use the term ‘travel insurance’ rather broadly,” said Derek Faulconer, regional manager with Westland Insurance Group Limited. “It’s actually emergency medical coverage. It’s protection for the expenses you might incur if something were to happen to you while travelling outside of the province or outside of Canada.” 

Many of us have heard the horror stories detailing the astronomical medical bills travellers have had to deal with after receiving medical attention outside of Canada, especially in the United States. Canadians often assume provincial public health plans like OHIP provide them with coverage, but that’s not always the case, according to Faulconer. 

“I wouldn’t spend a single day travelling in the States if I didn’t have travel insurance because of how expensive medical treatment can be stateside,” said Faulconer. “Taking out emergency medical coverage is intended to protect you. While OHIP may afford you some coverage in the States, it’s often inadequate because of how costly it is there.”

Travel insurance coverage in the time of COVID-19 is particularly important given the risks involved in contracting the illness while travelling.

It’s also vital in the circumstances of needing to be flown back to Canada, being involved in an accident that results in physical injury, or a prolonged hospital stay in a foreign country. 

As an insurance broker, Faulconer can connect travellers with several different providers, each offering a variety of different products based on need, age, length of stay, and destination. 

“You can build a policy à la carte and pick and choose the coverage that applies to your needs,” he said. “Often, they’ll offer two or three different tiers of coverage. You can get the bare bones medical coverage, or you can include things like trip cancellation coverage and/or coverage for personal belongings if your suitcase gets lost in transit.”

Ultimately, Faulconer says the key component of travel insurance is securing emergency medical coverage to protect yourself if something were to happen to you while on vacation or enjoying an extended stay in another country. 

Costs and policies will differ according to age and length of stay.

For example, younger people who don’t have pre-existing medical conditions and who are staying for shorter periods of time can find very affordable coverage. Conversely, seniors who may be heading to Florida for the winter and who may have stable or existing medical conditions can expect to pay more for their coverage. 

“You can buy coverage for a weekend, six days, three months, whatever you need,” said Faulconer. “There are probably 30 or 35 companies we have access to for travel coverage quotes. In my opinion, it’s always a good idea to work with a broker experienced in travel coverage and medical insurance.” 

To learn more about travel insurance options, contact Westland Insurance Group Limited at 905 940 1000.