Travel Insurance - for those inconvenient times!

By Bronwen Hill

Isn't it always that things happen at the most inopportune times!

That is why we say 'Make lemonade out of lemons', 'Things can only get better' and, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'. We all know these sayings too well.

I had been making sure I had my dose of Vitamin D before the Canadian winter set in and experiencing the turquoise waters of the Bahamas (those waters are for real people!) when my top-notch dance moves were interrupted by a fall and consequent broken wrist. I had to say "Wow, really? Now?". Suddenly it was no more beach time and 35°C of warm sun baking (responsibly) glory for this rocker!

Now I needed to navigate a foreign medical system - for the first time. It was surprising to me though, how cool, calm and collected, although a little disappointed, I was. I wasn't concerned about the cost or impact this would have on my trip. Not a single horror story came to my mind about injuries sustained overseas or how disruptive and costly they are despite how many stories I have heard previously. Reflecting on this now, I believe it's because I knew I had Travel Insurance. It meant I wasn't concerned about the overpriced transfer to the hospital or the fact they were sending me to the private hospital. I also didn't flinch when they called an Orthopaedic surgeon in the middle of the night and he came in to re-align my bone.

I used to be one of those people that said 'oh, no worries' and took things in my stride. Losing my luggage - pfft, I always travel with my passport and visa card on me. With those I can go do anything and still enjoy myself. Sure, the rest is disappointing and inconvenient, but part of the adventure. The thought of being stranded in New Zealand because my flight got cancelled and another one is not available for a day or two - to me this is adventure and more time to experience the destination. Before I became a travel agent, I didn't really pay much attention to having Travel Insurance.

My biggest reason for getting Travel Insurance prior to being a Travel Agent was in case of a car accident when I was making a quick visit across to the United States. Living in Canada, we usually know of someone who, for one reason or another, needed to go to an American Hospital and ended up with a $10,000+ medical bill. And this can happen anywhere.

Oh boy, was I naïve and uninformed.

Since starting my career as a Travel Agent I have been educated in Travel Insurance and the situations in which it really pays to have it. You’re about to travel and you have a car accident, or you broke up with the boyfriend/girlfriend you were going with, or you loose your job and can’t afford to go anymore. Insurance will help! My recent experience gave me first hand experience of its value and a very decent reality check. My little broken wrist incident would have cost me just over $5,100CAD if I didn't have Travel Insurance - not to mention the stress of the costs piling up while being treated

Ah, life happens right? But don't pay more than you have to!

When your Travel Agent asks you if you have Travel Insurance please don't think, 'they are just trying to sell me another product!'. We ask for 2 reasons:

  • We care about you and want to make sure you don't regret your travel experience - because let's face it, that is bad for our business.
  • We are legally required to ask you! We must have a licence to sell you Travel Insurance (In BC governed by the Insurance Council of BC). To keep that licence we have to undergo training on a yearly basis and provide professional insurance information. We are not just trying to upsell you!

So, for your next trip beyond the borders of your province, make sure you are covered. Discuss your coverage with your Travel Agent - make sure you know what you are covered for, both before you go as well as during your trip.

There are 3 elements to Travel Insurance - this video outlines them to help you understand the cover.