Travel Insurance: Tips for Picking the Right Coverage

Travel insurance isn’t always the same.

There are many types of travel insurance to choose from and ensuring you have the right coverage for your next adventure may be easier than you think. Here are the types of travel insurance you may want to have and what to look for when purchasing your next policy.

Types of Travel Insurance

There are three main types of travel insurance policies to choose from.

  • Emergency medical travel insurance: This type of policy typically covers emergency medical costs including hospital care, diagnostics, prescriptions, replacement of glasses or medications, and return home services.
  • Trip cancellation insurance: This type of policy can help you recoup the costs of your vacation if you were to become unwell, unemployed, if there were a death or illness in the family, or if other unforeseen circumstances were to derail your travel plans.
  • All-inclusive travel insurance: This type of policy typically includes the above two insurance coverages (emergency medical travel and trip cancellation), as well as baggage loss or delay.

Purchasing Additional Coverage

Individuals may have access to travel insurance through their employee benefits or their credit card company. However, travellers should always review what is provided and purchase additional insurance coverage if necessary.

When deciding to purchase additional coverage look at the:

  • Duration of the trip: For example, a credit card company may only cover you for the first 25 days. If you are 65 or older, this time frame may be limited to the first five days of your trip. However, each company will vary.
  • Type of coverage: If your benefits only cover emergency medical expenses you may want to purchase trip cancellation insurance or trip delay.
  • Coverage caps: For example, trip cancellation may be covered to a maximum of $5,000 through your current insurance. If your trip is worth twice as much, you may want to purchase additional coverage.

Policy Riders and Add-Ons

Your coverage possibilities are not limited to the main policy options above. There are many additions you can select to ensure you’re covered for whatever your trip includes. You’ll want to ask about add-ons or riders when planning a trip that may require specific coverage. A good example is arranging a golf or ski trip. You’ll want to ensure your equipment is covered, as well as your course fees or lift tickets.

Note: Although most airplanes require golf bags to be checked luggage, lost baggage coverage may only reimburse a capped dollar amount per item until a maximum policy payout. Sports equipment is expensive; you wouldn’t want to end up with a fraction of the value if something were to happen to it. You may want to upgrade your insurance to specifically include these items.

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How Often Do You Travel?

How often you travel may also affect which travel insurance policy you purchase. If you travel once a year, a single trip policy will do. But if you plan on travelling multiple times during the year you may want to purchase a multi-trip policy or an annual policy. Keep in mind, the coverage may specify that your trip can’t exceed the policy’s maximum number of days.

For those travellers lucky enough to be away for extended periods of time, there is snowbird insurance. However, many snowbird policies include a stability clause for pre-existing medical conditions. Travellers who fall into this category may have to prove a pre-existing condition is stable for a certain length of time for a policy to cover healthcare issues abroad.

Extra Considerations

Many insurance providers limit their policies to travellers who are under the age of 75. However, this does not mean older travellers are out of luck. Some insurance companies offer policies without age restrictions. Although, insurance premiums may be higher.

As for younger travellers, children can generally be added to a parent’s travel insurance at no extra cost as long as they are travelling together. Although, infants may have to be included on a separate rider. Insurance providers may also restrict coverage to one child per adult, therefore parents may want to inquire about a family insurance policy.

What Travel Insurance Won’t Cover

Depending on the nature of your trip, some actives may be exempt from or void your insurance coverage. Travellers destined for tropical locations may be saddened to find that scuba diving is generally defined as a high-risk sport. Nevertheless, some insurance providers offer sports travel insurance.

Here is a list of typical policy exclusions:

  • Participating in dangerous sports or activities
  • Travelling against government advice (travel advisories)
  • Engaging in reckless activities (excessive drinking or recreational drugs)
  • Medical tourism
  • Losses due to mental or emotional disorders
  • Childbirth (however complications associated with pregnancy may be covered)
  • Flights or trips that are won or purchased with credit card rewards

Comparing Travel Insurance

Before you take off on your next adventure, think about what travel insurance coverage you may actually need and what coverage you may already have. Consider the nature of your trip, its value, how many times you plan on travelling within the year, and if any extra insurance riders are necessary.

Make sure you are getting the best deal on travel insurance by comparing rates at

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