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Travel

July 29, 2015

Booking a holiday? Don’t forget travel insurance

I never really considered the huge value of travel insurance till a freak ultimate Frisbee accident derailed my friend’s honeymoon vacation plans.

As I sit and reflect on my wedding last Saturday, I can’t help but look forward to my honeymoon in St. Lucia next January. I will be safe from the wrath of polar vortexes, nestled comfortably under a palm tree. I have also been thinking about how my best friend’s dream honeymoon to Spain was derailed by a freak ultimate Frisbee accident, and have thus committed to a sedentary lifestyle until January to avoid a similar fate.

Two days after his wedding and just two days before leaving for Spain, my friend tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing ultimate Frisbee. I don’t think his new wife realized just how quickly the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows would be tested, as they were forced to cancel the honeymoon they had been planning for months. What they didn’t know when booking their trip was that, as is common for many Canadians, their workplace travel insurance did not cover trip interruption or cancellation. Fortunately, they had purchased additional non-medical travel insurance, so while their plans took a hit because of the accident, their bank account didn’t.

My friend’s experience led me to make sure that along with avoiding extreme sports over the next couple of months, I also checked our travel insurance coverage. When I did, I found out that it’s now also possible to purchase non-medical travel insurance on an annual basis similar to medical travel insurance so you no longer have to buy it (or worry about neglecting to buy it) every time you go on vacation. In my case, I could get it through my workplace benefits plan but you can also purchase it as an individual.

Some features of annual non-medical travel insurance are:

  • This coverage will help you if your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to one of the insured risks, like an injury due to an unforeseen accident, or if your luggage is delayed, lost or stolen.
  • If you take multiple trips throughout the year, you can complement your annual group plan travel medical coverage with multi-trip non-medical coverage.
  • You can be covered for an unlimited number of trips throughout the year, which can be especially convenient if you tend to take your vacation in chunks, rather than all at once.

Some travel providers, such as vacation rental firms in hurricane-prone regions, routinely offer optional trip cancellation insurance. But most of the time, the onus is on you to make sure you’re protected against unexpected changes to your holiday plans, every time you plan to go away. Annual non-medical travel insurance is one way to buy yourself some vacation peace of mind.

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