Consumerwatch: Travel insurance
Published Monday, July 23, 2012 11:16AM CST
Last Updated Monday, July 23, 2012 1:30PM CST
Manitobans planning a trip out of province or even overseas can expect a pitch for travel insurance, but not all plans are created equal.
Insurance expert Max Johnson of the Great Canadian Travel Company said booking a trip and the appropriate travel insurance is different for everyone.
Johnson said choosing a package all comes down to the amount of risk travellers want to assume.
“If you know that the hotel that you’re book is non-refundable, then you say, ‘The odds of me not going are so miniscule that I’m not going to spend $25.’ Then that’s fine,” said Johnson.
Important factors to consider are age, destination and duration of trip and whether or not you have a pre-existing health condition. All of those things can impact how much you will be covered for or whether you’re covered at all.
And some travellers may not need insurance at all – policies on some credit cards, homeowner’s insurance and life insurance may offer coverage for travelling.
Johnson urges travellers who do decide to purchase travel insurance to read the policies carefully.
“Some of the most economical (insurance options) require you to pay upfront while you’re there, then get reimbursed when you come home,” said Johnson. “Which may not be bad if you get your toe nibbled by a crab, but if you have a stroke, it’s going to be pretty awful.”
If you decide to purchase online, Johnson said, you should be extra vigilant.
“Make sure when you buy insurance you’re buying it from someone who knows what they’re selling,” said Johnson. “When you’re buying online, you’re essentially selling it to yourself.”
Premiums are most often determined by age and destination. If you’re under 59, insurance can cost between five and seven per cent of your trip. If you’re over 59, you’ll likely be charged a lot more.
Plans also vary widely in terms of what they cover – from lost luggage to medical emergencies or even natural disasters.
Finally, travellers should look at whether or not the tour or trip they’ve planned requires them to have travel insurance, as the final decision may not be up to the individual.