Almost two-thirds of Canadians either don’t buy or are unsure if they have trip cancellation insurance before leaving on holiday.
The excerpreted article was written by Christopher Elliott
It’s peak season for travel insurance claims, a time of year when vacationers are sending their reimbursement requests for their ill-fated year-end holiday getaways. If you’re one of the unlucky travelers who are about to file a claim, be careful to not make one of several common travel insurance mistakes,` any of which can potentially lead to a rejection of your claim.
Travel insurance claim denial rates are not publicly reported, but they are said to be somewhere between 2% and 5%.
Don’t worry, you can easily avoid the most common travel insurance claims mistakes. All you need is a cheat sheet of the most common claim mistakes and a few insider strategies for getting around them.
If you’ve purchased a policy through a third party, there’s good news: The company will help you and ensure that you’ve filed all the paperwork correctly. For example, G1G.com, a travel insurance comparison site, can process a claim either through a customer care representative or through an online portal.=
“Unfortunately not all travel insurance companies claims process are as easy as they should be,” says Zubair Jeewanjee, G1G’s CEO. “As a result, travelers often miss out on valuable compensation due to antiquated and time-consuming claims procedures. The best way to avoid claims mistakes is having us do it for you.”
These are the most common travel insurance mistakes
As a consumer advocate, I deal with travel insurance claims — especially denied travel insurance claims — on an almost daily basis. Travel insurance companies with great customer service reputations handle their claims quickly and fairly. Others — not so much.
It’s the perfect time to think about this problem. More people than ever will buy travel insurance in 2019. A survey by Squaremouth, a travel insurance site, predicts 24 percent more travelers will need to insure their international trips because of new travel regulations.
Here’s a list of common travel insurance mistakes:
That’s the most common obstacle to getting a travel insurance claim paid, according to Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com. “While not especially difficult, filing an accurate claim requires attention to detail and having your travel documents and receipts organized,” he says.
Insider tip: Keep either an electronic copy or hard copy of all of your travel purchases in one place. If you experience an unexpected issue while traveling that you believe is covered under your travel insurance, keep all of those receipts in a separate folder or envelope. “If you have to file a claim, you’ll already have most of your documents organized,” says Sandberg.
Another common claim problem: Your claim occurs before your effective date. “Most people naturally purchase coverage for the first day of their arrival at their destination,” explains Justin Tysdal, CEO of Seven Corners, a travel insurance company. “But what you may not think about is what can happen during your travel. Especially if you’re spending a whole day traveling across the world. You could sprain your wrist picking up heavy luggage, or you could eat some iffy airport food and end up sick. But if your coverage doesn’t start until the next day, you could be stuck with the doctor’s bill.”
Timing, as they say, is everything.
Another common timing problem is waiting too long to file the required paperwork. You typically have 90 days from the date of your loss to submit your claim. If you miss that deadline, you could get an automatic denial from a travel insurance company.
Insider tip: Make sure that coverage starts the day you begin your travel and that you file your claims paperwork as soon as you can. “Plan ahead so that if you do get sick or injured in an airport in a foreign country on a layover, you’ll be protected,” adds Tysdal.
This may be one of the biggest roadblocks of all. If you can’t prove you have a claim, you’re out of luck. “The biggest barrier to processing a claim is missing or inadequate documentation,” says Beth Godlin, president of Aon Affinity Travel Practice. “Just like with your auto or home insurance, when you file a travel insurance claim most plans require backup in order to process your claim.”
Insider tip: Providing correct, complete documentation from the start can mean faster reimbursement. To make sure you’ve covered everything, call your travel insurance provider or check its app or website to confirm what you need to submit. “Different scenarios require different documentation,” explains Godlin. “For example, travelers might need to provide a completed attending physician statement, along with the original trip itinerary, for a trip cancellation due to a medical reason. For a trip delay, they might need to provide receipts for extra costs incurred, or verification from their airline in order to be reimbursed.”
Filing an invalid claim
This is perhaps the most frustrating of all blocks, and it’s a permanent one. “When it comes time to file a travel insurance claim, many travelers don’t read the fine print of their policies,” explains Joe Cortez, NerdWallet’s travel expert. “Just because a plan says ‘trip cancellation,’ it doesn’t mean they can cancel their trip for any reason. It’s important for travelers to understand what situations are covered and not covered before they make any decisions about that would result in an insurance claim.”
For example, a State Department travel advisory may not be enough for a successful travel insurance claim, but getting involved in a car accident while on the way to the airport could be a covered situation.
Insider tip: You can avoid filing an invalid claim by understanding what’s in your travel insurance policy before you leave. And it works both ways, Cortez adds. “Many travelers don’t realize when they are covered under a travel insurance plan,” he notes. In other words, you might not file a travel insurance claim even though you were covered for the event.
What are your travel insurance claims stories?
I asked readers to share their favorite travel insurance claims stories, and, did I get an earful. It turns out that making a travel insurance claim mistake is too easy.
“Before you buy a policy, read it,” says Paula Miller, a retired teacher from Kitty Hawk, NC. “And known the difference between canceling for a covered reason or cancel for any reason.”
Miller bought insurance for her last trip through Expedia. Her mother-in-law died the day she was supposed to leave. Fortunately, she knew what was in her policy and what she had to send her insurance company.
“The claims process has been pretty smooth,” she says.
Shirley Kroot, a retired teacher from Huntley, Ill., says she’s learned to hold on to every piece of paper, particularly when she’s seeking medical attention.
“This would be the procedure for minor medical expenses, such as having a cold in a foreign country and going to a walk-in clinic or needing to go to the medical office due to a fractured clavicle on a ship,” she says. “I experienced both, the first in Perth, Australia, and the second on a cruise ship in Norway.”
Kroot says she buys all of her policies through Travelex Travel Insurance. “We have never had a problem with claims,” she says.
Choose the right policy for you to avoid a travel insurance claim mistake
I second that. I have an annual travel insurance policy through Allianz and have found that the claims process is dead simple and payment is lightning fast. My last claim, for a doctor’s visit on Hawaii’s Big Island, was processed within 24 hours — now that’s quick!
Even better: Having a third party like G1G or Squaremouth that can advocate for you if something goes sideways with your claim. I also have some claim advice on my consumer advocacy site, just in case your claim falls through the cracks.
Bottom line — chances are you’ll buy travel insurance this year. And if you have to file a claim, you can avoid a rejection by reading your policy, ensuring your paperwork is in order and filing on time.
I’m a consumer advocate. I write about customer service.
New travel protection includes medical coverage to help close the coverage gap due to Canadians’ healthcare not transferring when out of the country
As the number of Canadians travelling overseas and to the United States increases1, Zurich Insurance, a top three provider of travel insurance internationally, today announced the launch of Zurich Travel Insurance, a new travel protection proposition for Canadians travelling abroad. Coverages are available for emergency medical and dental care, trip cancellation and interruption, baggage loss and damage, flight and travel accident, and 24/7 travel assistance services.
“Our commitment to the travel sector has grown along with the rise in international travel for Canadians,” said Saad Mered, CEO of Zurich Canada. “We are excited to bring new capabilities to Zurich Canada, strengthening our core offerings to help meet the growing demand for convenient, customized and compliant travel protection plans.”
Zurich Canada’s new proposition will be offered through distributors to the travel industry, such as airlines, hotel chains, online travel agents and cruise lines, in both Canada and the United States. Those distributors will integrate Zurich’soffering to enhance the experience of Canadian travellers.
According to 25-year veteran of the travel insurance industry and Zurich Canada’s Vice President of Travel, Accident & Sickness John Thain, “Canadians’ health insurance does not follow them across the border, so they need travel protection plans with medical coverage they can count on. Our new proposition was designed to help travellers close this coverage gap.”
In addition to the medical, trip cancelation, and baggage coverages, the new proposition includes access to Zurich Travel Assist, a 24/7 travel assistance service administered by Toronto-based Zurich subsidiary World Travel Protection. For more than 25 years, World Travel Protection has provided medical, travel and security assistance services, complete with a mobile app, to over 3.8 million travellers.
In Canada, Zurich Canada is underwritten by Zurich Insurance Company Ltd (Canadian Branch) and is part of Zurich Insurance Group, a Switzerland-based global insurance provider with subsidiaries licensed to provide travel protection in multiple geographies around the world. In 2017, Zurich acquired Cover-More Group Limited, a specialist global travel insurance and medical assistance provider based in Australia. Other Zurich travel subsidiaries include U.S.-based Travelex, and Latin American brands Travel Ace and Universal Assistance.
To learn more about Zurich Canada travel solutions, go to https://www.zurichcanada.com/en-ca/industries/travel.
About Zurich North America
For more information about Zurich, go to https://www.zurichna.com/zna/services/about-zurich
1 Statistics Canada. Year-end review, 2017. The number of Canadians travelling overseas has increased every year since 2013 with travellers taking a record-setting 12.8 million trips in 2017. In addition, following three years of decline, the number of same-day and overnight trips to the United States by Canadian residents rose 2.7% in 2017 to 42.1 million.
SOURCE Zurich North America
A Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) of Canada survey has found that Canadians are favouring domestic travel over travel to the US.
According to the 2018 Smart Travellers survey, despite recent reports that travel between Canada and the US has not suffered the Trump-induced slump that many projected, 42 per cent of Canadians are planning to travel within their own country, while only 19 per cent plan to head to the US for a holiday.
When quizzed about how much of an influence the political climate in the US has had on their travel plans, 57 per cent of respondents said that they were less likely to take a trip to their neighbour. Other factors cited by survey respondents included currency conversion, with 59 per cent of Canadians saying that the exchange rate was influencing their travel decisions.
Concerningly, 19 per cent of Canadians said that they had, at some point, intentionally provided inaccurate information on a travel health insurance medical questionnaire. When asked why, 58 per cent said that they had done so in order to save money on their policy.
“The US has historically been Canada’s largest travel destination,” said THiA’s Executive Director, Will McAleer. “These results are consistent with Statistics Canada data showing a five-month decline in travel to the US. Our survey shows that many Canadian travellers will be exploring travel options within our borders.”
Whether it’s driving a Ferrari in Italy, hiking the Inca Trail or helping build clean water wells in Africa, boomers are increasingly seeking out unforgettable travel experiences. But, sometimes these epic vacations can offer unexpected surprises. A recent TD Insurance survey revealed more than a third of Canadian boomers who travel annually say they or someone they’ve travelled with has had a travel emergency, such as an injury that required a trip to the doctor.
“With the freedom afforded by more disposable income and, in some cases, the luxury of more free time post-retirement, boomers are travelling for adventure rather than relaxation,” said Neil Henderson, Manager, TD Insurance. “While embracing bucket list travel might mean trying new things off the beaten path, like visiting a World Heritage site like the Great Barrier Reef or taking in the scenery of Milford Sound in New Zealand, there’s always a risk that adventure could turn into misadventure.”
Not only are boomers forgoing the traditional vacation spent relaxing beside the beach or pool – only 39 per cent of boomers say it’s their preferred travel experience – they are also traveling more frequently and for longer periods of time compared to other generations. The survey revealed that 52 per cent of them take two or more vacations each year, and half the time it’s for 10 days or more.
“Planning for extended travel can be exciting and also overwhelming, so ensuring you have sufficient travel insurance coverage can get lost in the mix,” said Henderson. “Many boomer travellers report they don’t purchase travel insurance because they’re already covered under their work benefits or credit card. While these plans may cover certain emergencies, take the time to review them for any gaps in coverage and purchase supplementary coverage if needed, especially if you’re planning activities you haven’t tried before. And if you’re unsure whether your coverage extends to an activity, it’s worth checking with your travel insurance provider.”
For all those boomers setting out to check off their travel bucket list items, TD Insurance offers the following pre-travel tips, so your epic adventure can be exactly that:
- Follow your interests. What’s on your travel bucket list is very personal and will vary widely depending on your interests. Do you want to test your physical limits by hiking along the Great Wall of China? Do you dream of seeing the annual migration on the Serengeti Plains? Bucket list travel are trips of a lifetime, so take the time to not only decide what you want to see or do, but also properly prepare in advance of your travels.
- Pre-departure prep. Proper preparation is key to making your bucket list trip terrific. Prepay or set up autopayments for bills that will be due while you are away. Verify whether you need any vaccinations for where you’re travelling to. Ensure you have enough prescriptions to last the trip. There’s lots to be done ahead of time so that your bucket travel is as dreamy as imagined. Check out TD Insurance’s Travel Checklist for more tips.
- Ensure your property is safe. Before you leave make sure your home and garage doors, and windows are locked and secured. Given that your house will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, consider putting measures in place so that it doesn’t appear vacant. For example, buy a light switch timer to turn lights on and off and ask a neighbour to collect your mail to prevent your mailbox from overflowing. Also, if you’re away from your home for more than seven consecutive days during the heating season, keep in mind that your water pipes may freeze. You’re required to take preventive steps, such as arranging for someone to ensure heating is maintained in your home. Make sure to check with your insurer on how this might affect your home insurance policy.
- Make sure you are covered. The last thing you want is to be saddled with an unforeseen medical bill while on vacation. If you travel frequently and for longer durations throughout the year, like boomers often do, you may want to consider annual travel emergency medical insurance plans which typically cover multiple trips of various durations (i.e., up to 9,17, 30 or 60 days) throughout the year. If you are unsure about what coverage best suits your particular needs, an advisor can provide options based on your situation.
- Make it affordable. Having the time to travel is one thing, but affordability is another. Contrary to popular belief, bucket list travel doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, with the most expensive part of travelling usually being airfare, make the most of that investment and take a longer vacation. You may even be able to negotiate a better per night accommodation price with a longer stay. Where it makes sense, think about combining multiple trips into one and cross two or more items off your travel bucket list.
About the TD Boomer Travel Bucket List Survey
TD Insurance commissioned Environics Research to conduct a custom survey of 6,021 Canadians aged 18 and older, which included 1,648 boomers that travel annually. Responses were collected between February 20 and March 1, 2018.
About TD Insurance
TD Insurance offers a wide range of products to help protect customers including credit protection, auto, home, health, life, and travel insurance. With more than 4.5 million customers, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,120 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet, and telephone. TD Insurance represents all of the personal lines insurance entities within TD Bank Group. For more information, visit www.tdinsurance.com.
SOURCE TD Insurance
With Black Friday approaching, many Canadians will be getting ready to head across the border in search of deals.
But a quick day trip could turn into financial disaster, with even a minor accident or illness leaving travelers with bills that can cost thousands of dollars.
According to data from Allianz Global Assistance Canada, only 1.4 per cent of single-trip policies purchased by Canadians were for one or two-day trips.
That’s in spite of 78 per cent of Canadians saying they were covered by some form of travel insurance on their last vacation, according to the company.
Allainz suggests there may be a coverage gap, with Canadians not considering that they’re leaving themselves vulnerable on short cross-border trips.
Though provincial healthcare will cover a small percentage of medical expenses in the U.S., it doesn’t come close to covering the thousands of dollars that can be incurred.
“Just getting a few stitches in an American hospital could cost upwards of $3,000, or a sprained ankle around $2,000,” VP of Market Management Dan Keon said in a press release.
“More serious injuries requiring surgery or hospital stays, such as those resulting from auto collisions, will also increase medical costs considerably and possibly into the tens of thousands of dollars.”