Top 10 Travel Insurance Tips For 2023


A solid travel insurance plan is a smart way to protect the investment you make in a trip in case the unexpected happens. And as anyone who has ever travelled knows, the unexpected is always a possibility.

If going on a great vacation is one of your goals for this year, here are some top tips for finding the best travel insurance policy and making the most out of your coverage.

1.) Match Your Coverage to Your Itinerary

Your vacation itinerary play a significant role in determining how much coverage you might need. Let’s say you’re booking an overseas excursion with connecting flights that includes multiple sightseeing tours, entertainment at various venues and some exploration and sporty activities.

For a trip like this, consider a comprehensive travel insurance plan that includes:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage that can reimburse you for prepaid, non-refundable costs if you have to cancel or cut your trip short, due to reasons listed in the policy.
  • Trip delay insurance to compensate you for expenses incurred during a layover and for missed activities you paid for in advance that are non-refundable.
  • Medical expenses coverage for medical treatment, medicine, X-rays and more due to a medical emergency.
  • Medical evacuation coverage in case you need to be moved to a better medical facility. (This may be included in your medical expenses coverage.)
  • Baggage loss coverage that can provide compensation if your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged.

2.) Get the Right Coverage for Your Destination

If you’re travelling only within Canada, your provincial health plan likely covers medical costs. (There are exclusions, however, which is why many travel insurance companies offer packages for travelling within Canada.) But it might have very limited, if any, coverage overseas.

That’s why it’s often crucial to have travel medical insurance for trips outside the country. This type of coverage pays “reasonable and customary charges” for costs such as:

  • Doctor bills.
  • Ambulance service.
  • Hospital room charges.
  • Operating room charges.
  • Examinations, X-rays and lab tests.
  • Medication and prescriptions.

3.) Buy Travel Insurance Soon After You Book Your Trip

Travel insurance starts working the moment you purchase your policy. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance reimburses you for any non-refundable purchases you make (such as a flight or hotel) if you need to cancel for a covered reason, such as an illness. If you buy your flights, get sick and then purchase travel insurance, you won’t receive any reimbursement.

What’s more, some types of coverage are available only within a certain time frame after making the first trip deposit.  For example, if you select a “Cancel for any reason” upgrade, which allows you to cancel for a broader range of reasons than a standard policy, you usually need to add this within two to three weeks after making your first trip deposit.

4.) Consider Pros and Cons of “Cancel For Any Reason” Coverage

Standard trip cancellation benefits apply only when you cancel for a reason listed in your policy. But if you want the greatest flexibility, consider “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) travel insurance. While pricier than standard coverage, it reimburses a portion of the non-refundable, prepaid expenses of your trip if you want to cancel for reasons not listed in the base policy. You could make a CFAR claim, for example, if it’s going to be rainy at your beach resort. Not all CFAR policies are the same, however, so be sure you know the rules. For example:

  • You can’t cancel at the last minute, and each insurer has its own deadline for when you have to cancel by. For example, TuGo requires you cancel five or more days before departure, while AMA Travel Insurance allows you to cancel up to three hours before departure.
  • You generally don’t get 100% compensation—you get 50% or 75%, depending on the plan.
  • You have to add the coverage within two or three weeks of making your first payment for your trip. The purchase deadline varies by company, but don’t procrastinate if you think you want CFAR coverage.

5.) Check Your Credit Card’s Perks for Travel Insurance

Before you put down money on a travel insurance plan, look into what coverage you might already have in your wallet. You might be pleasantly surprised if your credit card includes travel insurance.

For example, a credit card might offer trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. This coverage kicks in if you cancel for an acceptable reason or if your trip is cut short due to problems covered by the credit card, like severe weather.

However, travel credit cards might not offer the same level of coverage as a standalone plan with emergency medical topping out at $500,000 versus $5 million, for instance.

You must use the card for booking the trip in order to receive the card’s insurance benefits. Here are Forbes Advisor Canada’s best travel credit cards.

6.) Look into Adventure Travel Insurance If You’re Planning Riskier Activities

Travel insurance policies typically have exclusions for high-risk activities. For example, if you’re skydiving or parasailing during the trip, your travel medical insurance might not cover you if you get injured.

If your trip includes activities that skew from the traditional sightseeing or museum tours, make sure to get a policy that will cover your specific higher-risk activities. For example, a World Nomads policy is geared towards more adventurous travellers with 250 included activities, while CAA Travel Insurance offers additional coverage with the Adventurous Air Activities rider. A travel insurance agent can help you find the right options based on your itinerary.

7.) Confirm COVID Coverage

While there are fewer travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still a consideration for many travellers. If you’re concerned about COVID-related problems, be sure plans you’re considering cover COVID-related cancellations and/or medical costs.

Keep in mind that coverage may be dependent on your vaccination status. For example, BCAA Travel Emergency Medical Insurance provides up to $1 million in coverage for partially vaccinated travellers (one dose) and $10 million for fully vaccinated travellers (two or more doses). Also, as COVID is considered a “known” global event, it is no longer covered under the plan’s trip cancellation coverage.

8.) Find Out if Your Travel Insurance Company Has a Mobile App

Some travel insurance companies have mobile apps that make it easy to manage your trip plans (and problems) on the go. For example, the Allianz TripWise app provides live flight updates, a hospital search, medical dictionary and one-touch calling for Alllianz Global Assistance’s 24-hour concierge and assistance services.

Another benefit is that you can file and track claims from the app. This is especially advantageous for travel delay benefits. For instance, if you’re eligible for a travel delay claim, you may be able to receive reimbursement for a hotel stay during your layover instead of having to pay the money up front and receive compensation after you return home and file a claim.

9.) Don’t Assume Travel Insurance Is Cost-Prohibitive

You may think travel insurance is a pricey proposition, but it can be relatively affordable. If you’ve paid thousands of dollars in deposits for your vacation, travel insurance can be a wise way to safeguard the investment. It can be easy to get quotes online and find a plan to suit your needs. You can also customize your coverage to make it fit your budget. For example, some insurance companies, such as CAA Travel Insurance, allow you to add a medical deductible to reduce your premium. Should you need to make a claim, you would pay the deductible out of pocket first and then your coverage would kick in.

10.) Keep Your Receipts Before You Leave on Your Trip

People buy insurance of all kinds in the hopes that they never have to use it. However, if you do need to make a claim, you want to ensure you have all the supporting documentation required for faster processing.

When there are delays in processing a claim, the most common reason is that the policyholder didn’t provide sufficient proof or documentation to demonstrate their actual financial loss.

If you’re making a baggage claim, for example, make sure you have copies of receipts of any items you would want reimbursement for should your luggage be stolen or lost.

Top 10 Travel Insurance Tips For 2023 FAQs

How far in advance before my trip can I buy travel insurance?

Each plan will have their own guidelines. For example, any Manulife plan with emergency medical insurance can be purchased 180 days before your departure, while trip cancellation and interruption insurance can be purchase 365 day in advance.

Can I add days to my insurance policy if I want to stay longer on my trip?

If you think you might want to stay longer on your vacation, check that your insurance policy allows for extensions or top-ups of coverage. As long as you haven’t made a claim and you give sufficient notice (namely, don’t let your policy expire before adding extra days), you should be able to buy more coverage.

Is there a maximum age to buy travel insurance?

Each insurer will have their own maximum age or requirements for purchasing travel insurance after a certain age. For example, World Nomads does not offer travel insurance for travellers over age 66. CAA Travel Insurance requires travellers over the age of 60 to complete a medical questionnaire. If you have a pre-existing condition, the stability requirement (or the amount of time for which your health and/or treatment hasn’t changed) becomes greater as you get older; with AMA Travel Insurance, the stability period for travellers age 59 and under is three months, while travellers age 70 and over need to be stable for six months. In general, travel insurance becomes more complex after the age of 60.

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Top 10 Travel Insurance Tips For 2023

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