Travel, whether international or within the country, is a popular vacation choice for families throughout Canada. Offering relaxation or adventure, such vacations should be an escape from the bustle of everyday life. However, many do not purchase travel insurance. Thus, they are often unprepared for the unexpected events that can ruin an otherwise great travel experience. After dispelling these 10 myths, travel insurance should no longer seem a needless expense but a guard against costly unforeseen circumstances.

Myth #1: Purchasing travel insurance is not necessary.

Unfortunately, many people presume they will not experience an emergency while they are on vacation. In particular, those taking weekend trips believe the short time spent away from home, or the short distance from home, does not merit travel insurance. Nevertheless, all Canadians should consider purchasing travel insurance whether traveling outside of Canada or travelling within Canada. However, if there were to be a medical emergency, a government health insurance plan will generally only cover a part of the costs. Even if the emergency were to occur within Canada, not all associated costs would be covered.

Myth #2: Travel insurance simply costs too much.

With transportation costs rising, you may feel there is no space in your travel budget for additional insurance. However, by making travel insurance a priority, it is easier to include its cost in budget planning. A change of accommodation, or time of travel, can easily save money that could then be used on proper insurance coverage. Additionally, families expecting to make several trips may save by purchasing an annual travel insurance policy. With one expenditure, all of a family's travel could be covered without additional applications or payments.

Myth #3: Employee health plans and credit cards already insure travel.

While employee health plans and credit cards offer some coverage, there are limitations. In particular, employment benefits may not cover all medical emergencies and have a limited amount of covered travel expenses. Dedicated travel insurance, however, can provide assistance in finding alternative transportation home, or to the destination, in the case of a canceled or delayed trip. And, notably, travel insurance providers offer assistance in arranging emergency medical care and guidance about foreign hospitals.

Credit cards, on the other hand, generally only cover accidents, not illnesses. Also, this accident insurance only covers travel expenses purchased with that card. Additional restrictions may include the coverage of only a limited number of days or a limited claim amount.

Myth #4: Traveling with insurance cards and coverage documents is sufficient.

While having updated copies of your health insurance documents is helpful, the original insurance limitations still apply. Costs that are not covered by health plans must still be paid out of pocket. Thus, it is important for you to have specific travel insurance that can cover the shortfall and any unforeseen expenses. Additionally, good travel insurance will offer a network of emergency medical providers and easily accessible assistance at all hours.

Myth #5: Provincial health insurance covers emergency medical costs regardless of where they are incurred.

While provincial health insurance providers have agreements with their counterparts in other provinces to cover you, this is unlikely to pay for all costs related to illness or accident. And, if an emergency were to occur in another country, the reimbursement limit may be much lower than the cost of care in that country.

Myth #6: Airlines always cover expenses related to cancelled flights.

Unfortunately, airlines generally do not reimburse expenses incurred by passengers after delaying or canceling a flight. Thus, money spent on hotel accommodations, food, or finding alternative transportation could fall to the traveler to pay.

Myth #7: In the case of an emergency cancellation, pre-paid accommodations will be refunded.

If an emergency were to occur before a trip, some hotels or resorts may allow rescheduling even when they do not offer refunds. But, if an accident or emergency were to occur during travel, it is unlikely that any remaining pre-paid expenses would be refunded. Additionally, the traveler could be held responsible for any cancellation fees. Only travel insurance or trip cancellation insurance can help you recoup these losses.

Myth #8: Travel insurance covers all up-front medical expenses so there are no out-of-pocket costs.

Unfortunately, while travel insurance will cover these expenses, not all providers will pay for them upfront. Some insurers honor claims for reimbursement only after the medical bills have already been paid. By researching insurers, you can find the travel coverage that best fits your needs.

Myth #9: While traveling abroad, there is no assistance in finding medical care.

While this may be true for those who do not purchase travel insurance, those who do should have phone access to agents with databases of hospitals, physicians, and even translation services, if they are necessary.

Myth #10: Individual travel insurance can cover an entire family.

Individual travel insurance will not cover all members of a family. However, insurers provide packages to fit a wide range of potential circumstances. You should research the options that will best fit your family's needs. And, to help you save money, family-pricing options may be available.

Unfortunately, many travellers believe many of the myths in this article and as a consequence, it has cost Canadian travelers untold thousands. But, now that you understand the necessity of purchasing travel insurance, even for short trips, you will be better prepared for your next excursion.

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