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Traveling abroad: do you need travel insurance?

We all heard the horror stories when a friend of a friend went on a rafting trip in that foreign adventure, broke his leg and ended up getting airlifted to the nearest hospital.  The bone will get fixed but, the astronomical bill will break your heart. If only you had purchased the right insurance. But how do you know what you need?

It’s not a matter of how adventurous or wild your trip will be; there are far less dramatic ways that medical bills can stack up while you’re on the road even in countries like Canada with subsidized health care. Also, what happens when your luggage goes MIA, or you miss your flight.  Travel insurance is worth it when you’re traveling abroad, and your health insurance doesn’t cover emergencies outside of your country or when a significant portion of your trip is non-refundable.

When planning your trip, look into travel insurance, it’s always a good thing to be protected independently of how risk averse you are.

Here are some things to consider when planning your next adventure:


Review your coverage

Check out if your current health insurance includes international coverage, some large insurance companies offer extended coverage for traveling. Read the fine print, does it cover missing your flight, get your suitcase stolen or the broken bone scenario? Even if your plan does cover emergency care overseas, be aware that your definition of an emergency may differ from that of your insurer. Also, there’s protection included with particular credit cards; it’s always worth checking with the bank.

Do you need extra support?

The insurance coverage varies by who you get it from as well as the individual policy you purchase. Overall, though, travel insurance is meant to protect you against unforeseen travel misfortunes, like your flight getting canceled due to severe weather or your baggage getting lost or stolen.

Also, if you have any concerns about the quality of the medical system in your destination, you may want to buy a travel health policy, for both the additional coverage and the roadside assistance most of these plans provide.

Assess your risks

Decide how much is at stake if something goes amiss on your trip if you miss a $59 flight, would that be a disaster? You probably won’t need travel insurance for those last minute deals but, if you are going to Tuscany for a wine tasting that costs as much as a car, we would suggest getting that extra coverage.

Also, what kind of trip are you planning? Are you going to do some scuba diving with sharks? Or just a little staycation at a resort? If you’re the adventurer type, find the right coverage and policy but remember, if you get injured while drinking you are pretty much on your own, doesn’t matter if you were just walking out the hotel room.

Get help

From updating your will or power of attorney to just asking about the insurance policies or liabilities, we are here to help. It’s important to understand your risks and responsibilities and who’s going to be liable in case something goes wrong with your hotel or with the airline, you can Ask a Lawyer.

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