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Six popular travel insurance myths debunked.

Jordan August 28, 2013
Question marks on wooden blocks.

Myth 1 – OHIP will cover all medical expenses within Canada.

Whether you’re headed south across the border or just leaving Ontario, it’s still recommended that you purchase travel medical insurance before your trip. Though you do have limited access to OHIP benefits, the official “What You Need to Know About Your Ontario Health Card” lists what you’re not covered for while you’re away from home:

  • Prescription drugs from pharmacies
  • Home care services
  • Ambulance services and long-term care services provided in other provinces and territories

The government of Ontario also states that “typically [OHIP] coverage (while out-of-province but within Canada) is for insured physician and hospital services only. Therefore, when travelling outside of Ontario but within Canada, the ministry recommends that you obtain private supplementary health insurance for non-physician/non-hospital services.”

If you still think OHIP is enough coverage, consider that a single, uncovered ambulance ride will most assuredly eclipse the cost of the average travel insurance plan. When you consider the many other benefits it provides, supplementing OHIP with affordable travel insurance starts to seem like a no-brainer.

Myth 2 – Multi-trip annual plans are expensive.

Another misconception is that buying an annual plan is more costly than simply purchasing coverage as you travel.  Multi-trip Annual Plans allow you to purchase once and have coverage for multiple trips for 15 or 30 days. Though the upfront cost would obviously be higher, the savings can really be felt when you break down cost-by-insured-day.

For example, people who shop at wholesale retailers understand the concept that though 100 strawberries might cost significantly more than 50, the average price-per-strawberry is markedly lower (economies of scale). Multi-Trip Annual Plans work the same way! If you’re someone who travels often or knows they’ll be out of the country for over 15 days more than once a year, buying your coverage ahead of time is often more affordable in the long run!

Myth 3 – Airlines will reimburse you for expenses caused by cancelled or delayed flights.

Unless you’ve got friends or family members willing to put you up, you’ll most likely need to book accommodations for the day that you arrive at your destination. But what happens if you were supposed to show up at 8 p.m., but your flight’s been delayed until the next morning? One might assume that the airline, provided proof of your hotel booking, would refund you the cost of your wasted reservation. Unfortunately, this is rarely (if ever) the case. Where the airlines fail, travel insurance succeeds! Trip cancellation and interruption coverage is often bundled into many vacation package insurance plans, so if you lose a night at a hotel due to any of the above, you can be covered for financial loss. Travel insurance also normally covers things like lost luggage, so you can quickly pick up a new outfit or two without breaking the bank!

Myth 4 – Getting medical attention in a foreign country is difficult.

Language barriers, unknown hospital locations and many other complications could possibly convince folks that travel medical insurance isn’t even worth having. What’s the point in having coverage if you can’t find the hospital, let alone communicate with staff? That’s where CAA Travel Insurance really shines through. CAA Assistance will work closely with you to:

    • recommend an appropriate physician or hospital at your trip destination, wherever possible;
    • provide multilingual interpreters to communicate with physicians and hospitals;
    • monitor your care so that only appropriate, medically necessary treatment is given and to ensure that your medical needs are met;
    • contact your family and physician on your behalf;
    • pay hospitals, physicians and other medical providers directly, whenever possible;
    • approve and arrange air ambulance transportation when medically necessary;
    • inform you of any expenses not covered by your policy or to explain the policy’s terms and provisions as they relate to your medical emergency

No matter where you’re travelling, CAA’s knowledgeable and experienced staff will take care of everything from finding the nearest hospital to arranging payment.

Myth 5 – Short trips don’t require insurance.

Disaster doesn’t wait for a full-week vacation, nor does it give anyone a pass for a single-day shopping trip across the border. Emergencies are never in the plans, but if you plan to be ready for them, you’ll spend your short trip building memories instead of costly medical bills. Don’t convince yourself that it’s alright to travel unprotected; with affordable travel insurance you’ll stay covered 24/7.

Myth 6 – Travel insurance provided by credit cards offer sufficient coverage.

Travel insurance is often touted as a perk for certain credit cards, but it’s not uncommon for their coverage to be drastically limited compared to full-featured plans from full-service providers. In fact, many credit card plans only cover trip interruption and baggage loss! If you’ve been relying on your credit card as your only means of travel insurance, it’s important that you compare policies to find out what you could be missing.

Do you have any experience with travel medical insurance? Share your stories in the comment section below!