Many retired Canadians will soon head south to their home away from home for the winter months.
CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is sharing new CAA member research that sheds light on some of the common worries experienced by snowbirds and is suggesting some simple tips to plan for a worry-free winter away.
In an online survey completed earlier this year by over 3,000 members, CAA found that the top worries snowbirds had while travelling were:
The wellbeing of family and friends travelling with them
The wellbeing of family and friends back at home
Pre-existing health concerns
Losing their wallet
Illness/injury related to activities on trip
“Peace of mind while travelling is the ultimate luxury,” said Kaitlynn Furse, manager, public relations, CAA South Central Ontario. “Taking steps to ensure that you’ll be covered with the right travel and medical coverage, is the best way to make the most of your time away during the winter.”
Among those surveyed, medical coverage for the duration of the trip was the most common type of travel insurance purchased, followed by trip cancellation/interruption, an annual policy that provides coverage for multiple trips throughout the year or a packaged plan that provides both medical and non-medical coverage for the duration of a trip.
CAA SCO suggests that snowbirds planning to head south this winter look for the following coverage before taking off:
Emergency Medical Insurance that includes:
Emergency medical treatment: Applies to hospital accommodations, physician fees, lab tests and X-rays, private duty nursing, and ambulance service.
Medical repatriation: When medically necessary, this coverage allows you to be transported safely to a medical facility for treatment, avoiding out-of-pocket expenses.
Return of vehicle: If you’re badly injured or hospitalized, the return of vehicle benefit will cover reasonable expense to have your personal or rental vehicle returned, providing you that extra peace of mind.
Bounce Back benefits: When travelling, there is always the possibility of having to return due to a home or family emergency. Bounce Back benefits often provide up to $2,000 for a round-trip ticket home and back to your destination.
CAA SCO also recommends the following when buying travel insurance:
Consult with your doctor before filling out a medical questionnaire. This will allow you to fully understand your medical history, allowing you to answer questions with confidence.
Read your policy carefully. Understand what is and isn’t covered.
If you have any questions, ask your travel insurance provider.
Don’t buy travel insurance on price alone.
Snowbirds should also check the following before heading south:
Make sure your driver’s license and passport do not expire while you are away.
Check with your auto insurance company to ensure you are covered while driving in the United States. Additional coverage may be required.
Review your homeowner’s policy. If you are away for an extended period, you must have someone check your property regularly.
Make sure to check travel advisories for your destination at least once while planning your travel and before you travel.
About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of eight auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Launching across Canada today, the Goose mobile app provides Canadians with instant access to travel medical insurance. This mobile-first, self-serve solution allows Canadians who travel out of country to purchase travel medical insurance in under 60 seconds through the Goose mobile app (iOS & Android), for as little as four dollars, and available for up to seven days after a vacation has begun. Today’s launch follows the company’s successful raise of a $2.25 million seed round, led by Impression Ventures.
“We know that if travel insurance is more accessible and affordable, Canadians will opt in and avoid thousands of dollars in medical bills during a travel emergency,” says Dejan Mirkovic, Founder & CEO of Goose Insurance Services as well as Co-Founder & Director of Square One Insurance Services. “Square One modernized home insurance solutions for Canadians, and now Goose is poised to do the same for travel insurance. Consumers deserve to have access, transparency and convenience when it comes to their insurance.”
“Insurance is a space that is ripe for digital transformation and we’re thrilled to support the incredible team at Goose as they take off and modernize the insurance industry,” says Maor Amar, Managing Partner Impression Ventures. “We’re excited to start seeing the positive effects that affordable and convenient travel insurance can have on Canadians.”
According to a research study conducted by Goose, approximately 50% of Canadians are travelling uninsured. And those travelling to the United States by car, and for just one day, are most at risk of travelling without insurance protection. Goose is the first in the industry to offer a day pass that starts at $4 per person, making it the most affordable travel insurance policy in Canada.
How it works: Users download the Goose app, select coverage and click to buy. In less than 60 seconds Goose will provide up to $10 million in travel medical insurance. Once insured, users can use Goose in case of emergency. The app includes hospital locators, 911-equivalents and instant agent chat options. Additionally, the app will send a reminder honk when it detects that the user is near an international airport or US border.
For more information about Goose, visit: https://www.gooseinsurance.com, or download the Goose app in the App Store or get it on Google Play.
Founded in 2017, Goose Insurance Services helps ensure Canadians cover their tail feathers when they travel. Founded to address the gap between the antiquated insurance industry and ‘on-demand’ needs of consumers today, Goose is on a mission to protect Canadians. Pioneering access to mobile-first travel and medical insurance, Goose provides Canadians with unprecedented, affordable coverage, in only 60 seconds, via their mobile app. For as little as $4 per day, Canadians can be insured for up to $10 million with no lengthy application process, hefty price tags or hidden fees. Goose currently serves British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Goose is based in Vancouver, BC. It is licensed and regulated by the Alberta Insurance Council, Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Insurance Council of British Columbia, Insurance Council of Manitoba, and the Insurance Council of Saskatchewan.
About Impression Ventures
Impression Ventures is a leading Canadian independent fintech-focused Venture Capital Firm with offices in Toronto and Montreal. They lead late seed or early Series A financing rounds for start-ups by making a first investment of approximately $1.5M. Post financing, they follow up with extensive and ongoing support. Impression’s team of partners and advisors has significant experience as entrepreneurs, software engineers, product managers and financial services executives. Impression Ventures has provided Seed and Series A capital to portfolio companies including Wealthsimple, Sensibill, Brim Financial, Symend, Goose Insurance, Elefant.ai and Finaeo. For more information visithttps://impression.ventures/
The experience of Canadians who have purchased travel medical insurance is very positive, with more than 8 in 10 satisfied with the product and the value it provides. Furthermore, 98% of people who made travel medical insurance claims in the past year said they were fully or partially paid, with only 2% of claims being rejected. In addition, 91% of claimants said they were satisfied with their claim experience from initial contact to final outcome.
These are the key findings of new public opinion research by Pollara Strategic Insights. These and other findings about travel medical insurance are consistent with results from similar research undertaken by Pollara in 2015.
According to the research, confidence among Canadians who have purchased travel medical insurance in the past year is high, with 87% confident they would receive the quality of service they expected. In addition, 90% were confident they would receive the assistance they needed, and 86% expected reimbursement to cover the cost of the travel medical emergency as per their policy. These results were even higher for those who had made a claim.
Canadians also said they have a reasonable understanding of the travel medical insurance coverage terms and limitations, amount of coverage, and who to contact in the event of an emergency. For example, at the time of purchasing their travel medical insurance policy, buyers said they were confident they knew the policy terms with 89% saying their knowledge was at least reasonable. Furthermore, 89% of buyers also said they had at least some knowledge of the limitations and exclusions of their policy at the time of purchase.
Fully 85% of claimants found the actual claim submission experience to be in line with what was explained to them during the initial contact, and 89% of claimants thought the claim submission experience was positive and either met (75%) or exceeded (14%) their expectations. However, despite the high levels of overall satisfaction, 31% of claimants (down from 38% in 2015) had a complaint about the claim experience, mostly about the length of time it took to process a claim, and lack of clarity about what was required.
When it comes to choosing their travel medical insurance, Canadians said the top six factors influencing their decisions were:
features and benefits (87% vs 86% in 2015);
overall amount of coverage (85% – not asked in 2015);
ability to speak to someone (83% vs 81% in 2015);
price (81% vs 76% in 2015);
ease of purchase (77% vs 70% in 2015); and,
coverage for pre-existing conditions (71% vs 66% in 2015).
The increase in the last three factors from 2015 is notable, which suggests consumer expectations for travel medical insurance are increasing, and that providers need to keep improving their product and service to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
“Canadian consumers have expressed a great deal of confidence in the travel medical insurance industry, and the products that our members provide,” said Keith Martin, Co-Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII), which sponsored the Pollara research. “On the other hand, consumers continue to raise the bar on what they expect from their policies in terms of product features, quality service and value, and rightly so.”
These are the key results from an online survey of 1,200 adult Canadians conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between February 16th and March 5th, 2018. A random sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.
The Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance is a not-for-profit Association dedicated to the development of an open and flexible insurance marketplace. CAFII believes consumers are best served when they have meaningful choice in the purchase of insurance products and services. CAFII’s members include the insurance arms of Canada’s major financial institutions – BMO Insurance; CIBC Insurance; Desjardins Financial Security; RBC Insurance; ScotiaLife Financial; and TD Insurance – along with major industry players American Express Bank Canada; Assurant; Canada Life Assurance; Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company; CUMIS Services Incorporated; and Manulife (The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company).
About Pollara Strategic Insights: Founded in 1980, Pollara Strategic Insights is one of Canada’s premier full-service research firms – a collaborative team of senior research veterans who are passionate about conducting research through hands–on creativity and customized solutions. Taking full advantage of their comprehensive toolbox of industry-leading quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytical techniques, Pollara provides research-based strategic advice to a wide array of clients across all sectors on a local, national, and global scale.
This course is included as part of your ILS General CE and/or Adjuster CE Course Subscription
As reading week gets underway this week for many Ontario universities, lots of people are headed off on vacation, but as travellers prepare for their holidays the Canadian government is reminding people to take the right precautions.
Global Affairs Canada offers consular services, which helps travellers when they get into trouble abroad.
It sees around 200,000 cases every year said Omar Alghabra, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs specializing in consular affairs.
“Obviously they vary in nature, but what that tells us is that there are a lot of people that need assistance at times when they are abroad,” said Alghabra.
Alghabra said that people often hear stories of travel incidents but they don’t think it’ll happen to them.
He said two of the biggest problems for travellers are stolen, damaged or lost passports, and medical emergencies.
Alghabra said that many people think their provincial healthcare will cover their medical needs while travelling. In fact the provincial coverage is limited and travellers could be left with a hefty bill if they don’t have traveller’s insurance.
According to the OHIP website, Ontario travellers will be covered up to $50 a day for outpatient services and up to $400 a day for inpatient services– this includes operations or intensive care.
Alghabra stressed the importance of travel insurance.
“They may think that they are different than other Canadians who end up getting into trouble but one day, God forbid, they might find themselves in a difficult situation and it’s much better to be prepared than to be surprised,” he said.
When the Government can and cannot help
Depending on the situation, the Canadian government might not be able to help.
” [Travellers] may think that if they’re ever in trouble Canada can get them out of trouble immediately, but that is unfortunately not always the case,” said Alghabra.
According to a Global Affairs pamphlet, Canadian Government officials can help travellers with:
Legal resources (including information for local police)
Replace a lost, stolen or expired passport
Lists of medical centres nearby, and hospitals in the area
Contact family or friends on your behalf (with permission)
Help in case of a death abroad
Advocate on the behalf of travellers with the host government and refer Canadians to consulates nearby.
The government cannot offer legal advice, provide lawyers, cover health expenses, perform investigations into crimes or get travellers out of jail.
Alghabra said it’s important for travellers to educate themselves about the local laws and customs before their trip.
Alternative Spring Break
This week students from Western University and Carleton University will be heading off on trips for a program called Alternative Spring Break, which offer volunteer opportunities instead of partying.
This year some of the destinations include Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and Peru. There are also trips offered within Canada.
Rick Ezekiel is Western’s Interim Senior Director for Student Experience and helps organize the Alternative Spring Break trip at the university.
He said although the trips are very organized, there have been instances where student have lost their passports or had a medical emergency. He added students are not travelling alone, so they can easily get help or find a consulate if needed.
Students are advised to keep their personal belongings like passports, visas, and other important documents in secure place. Travel insurance, including medical coverage, is included in the trips fees for students at both Carleton University and Western University.
Organizers for both trips also check the government’s travel advisory website for updates on their destinations.
If you plan to go abroad, even on a day trip to the United States, you should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada. Your travel insurance should include health, life and disability coverage that will help you avoid large expenses, such as the cost of hospitalization or medical treatment outside Canada. If you are flying, being insured for flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement will save you from major disruptions and additional costs. If you are travelling by car, make sure you have driver and vehicle coverage in case you have an accident abroad.
A fact sheet full of important travel insurance tips
During a short vacation on a Caribbean island, a Canadian developed a severe form of pneumonia and had to be admitted to hospital. His health deteriorated, and he was transferred to intensive care and placed on a breathing machine for more than a month. Without insurance, he had to make arrangements with the hospital to pay a bill that amounted to more than $20,000.
You can purchase travel insurance through your travel agent, insurance broker or your employer’s insurance provider. Your credit card company may also offer travel and health insurance. Regardless of how you obtain travel insurance, it is very important that you understand the eligibility requirements, terms and conditions, limitations, restrictions and exclusions of the policy.
Why you need travel insurance
Your Canadian insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada. Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover nothing or only a very small portion of the costs if you get sick or are injured while abroad. For more information, contact your provincial or territorial health authority. Hospitals and clinics in some countries have been known to refuse to treat patients who become ill or who have had an accident and who do not have adequate travel health insurance or the money to pay their bills. You could face years of debt paying off the costs of treatment for an illness or accident you suffered abroad. The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills.
Young travellers may think they don’t need insurance because they’re young and healthy. But accidents do happen. While walking along a beach on a Caribbean island, a Canadian tourist in her early 20s had an accident that seriously damaged her spine. Her family had to raise funds to pay for her medical evacuation.
Travel advisories and insurance policies
No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories twice, once when you are planning your trip and again shortly before you leave. If a Travel Advisory is issued for your destination, after you make your travel arrangements but before or during your trip, it may affect your travel health insurance or trigger your trip cancellation insurance. Make sure you understand any terms and conditions in the policy in regard to travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canada.
Some insurance companies will not honour medical claims made for injuries suffered in a country for which the Government of Canada has issued an official Travel Advisory. Coverage for injuries resulting from war may also be limited. Insurance policies often have exclusion clauses stipulating regions and/or activities that will not be covered.
Selecting travel health insurance
Carefully research your needs and verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada.
When assessing a travel health insurance plan, you should ask a lot of questions. Does the plan provide continuous coverage for the duration of your stay abroad and after you return? Does it offer coverage that is renewable from abroad and for the maximum period of stay? Does the company have an in-house, worldwide, 24-hour/7-day emergency contact number in English and/or translation services for health care providers in your destination country? Does it pay for foreign hospitalization for illness or injury and related medical costs and provide up-front payment of bills or cash advances, so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket?
Be sure to ask whether the plan covers pre-existing medical conditions. Ask the company to explain the definition, limitations and restrictions of any pre-existing conditions and tests and treatments you may have undergone.
Make sure you get a written agreement that your pre-existing medical condition is covered, or you could find your claim “null and void” under a pre-existing condition clause.
Be aware that the agreement must also include a stability clause stating that for you to be covered for any pre-existing medical conditions you must have no changes to or new medical conditions, symptoms or medications during the stability period prior to your trip.
The agreement should include a compassion clause stating that an inaccurate statement may not invalidate the entire policy, and a change of health clause.
And ensure that the plan provides for medical evacuation to Canada or the nearest location with appropriate medical care and pays for a medical escort (health care provider) to accompany you to and from your destination.
Ensure that deductible costs are clearly explained in the plan. Plans with 100-percent coverage are more expensive but may save money in the long run. The plan could cover health care provider visits and prescription medicines, or emergency dental care or emergency transportation, such as ambulance services. Check whether it excludes or significantly limits coverage for certain regions or countries you may visit.
Finally, ensure that the plan covers the preparation and return of your remains to Canada if you die abroad.
Gabrielle had insurance that lapsed three weeks before she was involved in an accident. Her Canadian family had to raise $300,000 over a three-day period to cover the costs of medical treatment and evacuation. Fortunately, she survived, but her family is left with a hefty debt to repay.
Meeting the terms of your insurance policy
It is your responsibility to know and understand the terms of your insurance policy. Read the fine print carefully and ask for help, if necessary, to fully understand the eligibility requirements and definitions, terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the policy.
The information you provide must be accurate and complete. If you have any questions about the application and your medical history, including prescription drugs, tests and other treatments, contact the insurance company and ask them to clarify the issue in writing.
Obtain approval from your insurer before undergoing medical treatment. Routine health checkups, non-emergency care and cosmetic surgery are rarely covered by travel health insurance. Insurance companies may also exclude coverage for mental health disorders, drug- or alcohol-related incidents, or extreme sporting activities such as bungee jumping and rock climbing.
Get a detailed report and invoice from the doctor or hospital before leaving the country where you have received medical treatment. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get the proper paperwork from thousands of kilometres away. Always remember to submit the original receipts for medical services or prescriptions received abroad. Keep a copy of the documents for your files.
Carry details of your insurance policy and tell your travel agent, a travel companion, and a friend or relative at home how to contact your insurer.