The 3 most common ways to get travel insurance coverage

A computer screen showing travel insurance

Canadians are starting to plan their trips for the holiday season. We all love to travel and experience places around the world. However, we sometimes forget about travel insurance. We spend more time online searching for cheap tickets and exotic destinations, which is defensible - insurance is slightly less exciting.

We might be used to our amazing and free healthcare, but it's a different ballgame in other parts of the world. You have heard the stories again and again. Canadians getting sick or injured while in the U.S. or elsewhere, and a couple of nights stay at the hospital cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Why? (Spoiler alert: They didn’t have appropriate travel medical insurance). Don't be one of them. Here are three ways to get travel insurance.

Insurance provider, travel agent or broker

You can purchase travel medical insurance from a travel agent or tour operator, but they will almost certainly cost you more than with a broker.  Some might argue buying is quick and easy with a travel agent but your wallet might say otherwise. The best of these options is to talk with a travel insurance broker and ask lots of questions. They will help you figure out your best options and find the right plan for you. You can also compare travel insurance quotes to find the best price.

Your workplace

You might already have travel insurance provided by your workplace. I hope your disdain for your workplace diminished a little bit. Ask your employer and set a meeting with the HR folks. If you have benefits through your employer, ask them if travel medical insurance is included. 

The only downside is that the coverage offered through your benefits probably isn't all that comprehensive. It may include emergency medical, but have gaps with cancellation of lost baggage. Different benefits packages provide different insurance, however, so it's worth looking into. If nothing else, you can start with your benefits coverage and supplement it with additional insurance from a broker. 

Travel credit cards

Some credit cards offer trip cancellation and rental car insurance. The catch? You have to use the credit card to book your trip or the car. Fair game. Travel credit cards usually have decent coverage and will include travel medical insurance, trip cancellation/interruption, baggage insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment.

A gap in coverage that often comes with credit card insurance is trip length. It's common that your card will only protect you for seven or 14 days. But as with benefits, using your credit card's insurance as a base, then filling in the vulnerabilities with coverage purchased through a broker can be a good way to save while getting complete protection. 

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