(Special) – With the summer in full swing Canadians are in vacation mode and travelling across the country and the world.
As anyone who has taken a trip lately will know, travelling can be a costly activity.
Kanetix.ca estimates the typical vacation costs about $2,938 a person. Single travellers will spend about $2,816 on the average vacation, couples will fork over about $6,824 while a family of four will spend $7,424 on their average holiday.
Yet, in spite of the significant costs of travelling 65 per cent of Canadians don’t have or don’t know if they have trip cancellation insurance because 36 per cent think it is too expensive, 28 per cent believe they have it through their credit cards, 18 per cent are not confident that a claim would be paid, 15 per cent believe they have coverage through their workplace benefits, 13 per cent have never heard of it and 12 per cent believe their travel medical policy includes it.
Janine White, vice-president of marketplaces and strategy at Kanetix.ca, which publishes rates from more than 50 providers of auto, home, tenant, travel and commercial insurance, believes that for all trip cancellation insurance covers, it is a relatively inexpensive way to protect the money you’ve invested into going on your hard-earned vacation.
“Travel cancellation or interruption insurance can help you recover expenses that are non-refundable or prepaid should you need to cancel your plans for a number of unforeseen reasons such as a medical emergency, a death in the family, you’ve been laid off from your job or have a sudden illness of injury that prevents you from travelling,” White said in an interview. “As well, it can provide coverage if your home suffers a catastrophic loss like fire or flooding, severe weather as well as avoid travel advisories issues by the government of Canada among other situations that may force you to cancel your plans unexpectedly.”
Cancellation and interruption insurance premiums can vary significantly depending on the type of trip you’re planning and by insurance provider.
For a trip of about $5,000 travellers can get a cancellation policy for anywhere from about $175 up to $300 or $400, depending on the coverage and the insurance provider.
For people taking bigger, longer international trips and for snowbirds who will be out of the province/country for an extended period of time, travel/medical insurance is particularly important.
“These policies tend to be more expensive because they involve extended stays abroad,” White said. “Many of these policies will contain provisions about pre-existing medical conditions, so it’s really important to find out what is covered and what isn’t before you go. In general we have found these consumers to be very knowledgeable because they know they are protecting the savings they have worked so hard to build up over the years.”
Some travellers might forego travel insurance because they believe they are covered by insurance at their place of work or through their credit cards, but that may not actually be the case. These sources may have some limited coverage but White recommends you review these policies carefully to see what coverage there is, determine if you need more and then get it before you leave for your trip.
Weather is another thing to take into account in your vacation plans. Insurance companies are hesitant to provide coverage for weather and acts of God.
If you’re flying to Fort Lauderdale to board a ship for a cruise, consider arriving the day before. Most people arrive the same day the boat leaves but what if there’s a storm at home and your flight is delayed or you miss a connecting flight and end up or missing the boat? It’s better to spend a little more on a hotel for one night than lose your entire vacation.
For frequent travellers, multi-trip plans are available. They can save you money as they provide coverage for a set period of time instead of coverage on individual trips. This type of plan would be an excellent choice if, for example, you needed coverage for several weeks over the course of a year.
“Unlike say, car insurance, travel insurance is not government-regulated, so take a few minutes to really understand what you’re buying to make sure that it meets your needs,” White advises.
Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.
Copyright 2019 Talbot Boggs
Talbot Boggs , The Canadian Press
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