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Sa El is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance and a licensed Insurance Agent with over 16 years of experience in the industry. ...
HomeTravel Insurance Is Free Travel Insurance Enough?

 Is Free Travel Insurance Enough?


In recognition of National Insurance Awareness Day (June 28), it’s a great time to chat about the importance of having a worry-free travel experience, and one way to do so is with travel insurance. Over the years, I’ve realized how important insurance is in our everyday lives and when it comes to travel, it’s no different. Many employers and credit card companies offer travel insurance as a perk for working or using their credit cards. Today, we discuss whether it’s enough when travelling and why having additional coverage is beneficial. Read on.  

Many employers are now offering more employee benefits to attract top talent, and travel insurance is one of them. However, the coverage provided can vary significantly, and like with any insurance policy, you’ll need to find out exactly what you’re covered for. 

Here are some major things to look for in your travel insurance policy: 

  • For how long and for how much am I covered? 
  • How quickly and easily can I contact my travel insurance company when injured? 
  • What exactly am I covered for? (e.g., hospital stays, ambulance, prescription drugs, repatriation)  
  • What are the exclusions? 

Since each employer and trip differs, confirming whether the provided insurance meets your needs is essential. For situations where your employer-provided travel insurance may fall short, TuGo’s Top Up Travel Insurance is an excellent solution to close that gap and ensure continued coverage throughout your trip.  

For example, if you go on a 30-day trip and your work travel insurance plan only covers 15 days, you can purchase top up insurance before your trip for added coverage for the remaining 15 days. 

If you have travel insurance coverage from another provider, you should always verify that they allow their coverage to be topped up by another provider (such as TuGo), as they may void or restrict your coverage if you don’t extend or top-up with them directly. Purchasing additional insurance is not uncommon; it’s a downright must if your employee benefits don’t offer the coverage you need for the duration of the trip to ensure protection while away.   

Nowadays, nearly everyone has a travel rewards credit card, usually because of their travel benefits, which sometimes include travel medical insurance. However, credit cards differ significantly in terms of the benefits they offer, and not every card provides the same level of coverage. It’s important to review your credit card travel insurance policy and review the specifics to ensure the coverage is enough and adequately meets your trip’s needs. 

Here are key questions you need to ask: 

  • Do I need to book with a specific travel agency to qualify for benefits? 
  • Does it cover only me, or is my family included? 
  • Besides travel medical insurance, what else am I insured for? 
  • Do I need to book all my travel on my credit card to qualify? 
  • Am I covered for high-risk Sports and Activities? 
  • How long and how much am I covered for? 

Travel reward cards that provide superior coverage often come with a fee. So, if you are not a frequent traveller or frequent user of the card, purchasing separate travel insurance might be more practical. This would allow you to use the card’s benefits as a supplemental coverage. 

Limitations of Free and Complimentary Travel Insurance

In the unpredictable world of travel, the value of specific insurance policies shines through during the stressful moments we all hope never to experience, such as discovering your luggage hasn’t made it to your destination or was damaged upon arrival. This is where baggage insurance becomes more than just a benefit; it transforms the tone of the trip.  

Although Canadian Air Passenger Protection Rights require airlines to compensate passengers for delays and damaged baggage up to approximately $2,350, these claims often involve complex processes and may not result in compensation. Furthermore, most complimentary insurance plans fall short in offering coverage for baggage damages and delays or the theft of personal currency, so there’s a lot of value in having baggage insurance when travelling. 

TuGo’s Baggage Insurance offers 3 key benefits:  

  1. Coverage for loss, damage, destruction or theft of personal belongings while in transit or in any hotel or other buildings worldwide. 
  2. Reimbursement for stolen or robbed currency up to $100, with a police report (excluding unexplained disappearance).   
  3. Compensation up to $200 for personal necessities if your baggage is delayed over 12 hours during your trip until your baggage is returned. 

Travel medical insurance is commonly the insurance that most employers and credit card companies offer. However, as we’ve previously discussed, only some of these plans provide comprehensive travel medical insurance, and they often don’t offer the flexibility to customize policies tailored to your travel needs and situations on most occasions.  

For instance, certain cards may require different pre-existing condition stability periods, varying by age. Understanding what you’re covered for and finding coverage that will protect you if an emergency happens is crucial.  

TuGo’s Emergency Medical Travel Insurance is designed with flexibility of travel in mind and so that travellers can customize their policies based on their needs.  

TuGo’s Emergency Medical Plan has numerous benefits, to name a few:  

  1. Hospitalization and treatment for medical emergencies 
  2. Emergency dental services 
  3. COVID-19 coverage 
  4. Ground, air or sea ambulance services 
  5. Vision care & hearing aids 
  6. Fracture treatment benefit 

Additionally, it’s important for Canadians to realize the limitations of provincial health plans, particularly when travelling across provinces or internationally. While some coverage is provided, it is generally minimal, only addressing certain medical services. Therefore, ensuring you’re adequately covered for emergencies during your travels across Canada as well, is wise. 

Emergency Medical insurance is an absolute must if you plan to purchase just one type of insurance when travelling.  

Whether it’s a relaxing beach holiday or a bucket-list family vacation, anticipating an upcoming vacation is always part of the fun. However, if there’s one certainty in travel, it’s the unpredictability. Even the most thoroughly planned trips can face unexpected challenges that cause them to get cancelled or interrupted. A lot of money goes into planning a trip, so having Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption insurance can help save the day and recoup some expenses from the trip, which most free plans don’t offer.  

In conclusion, while it’s always awesome to find budget-friendly travel insurance options, usually the free employer and complimentary credit card plans may not give you the full coverage you need for travel insurance. Hopefully, the information was helpful and be sure to contact your local broker to help go over the fine print of your policy to make sure your vacation is a blast and catered to your needs! 

Safe travels,
Monique

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for freshness and/or accuracy.