Better safe than sorry: travel tips for spring breakers

By Aislinn May, CBC News

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.

For all travellers who do find themselves in trouble the government has emergency contact information. Other travel tips include checking travel advisories , and downloading the Smart Travel App for up-to-date travel advice and advisories.

Say Yes to Travel insurance

Gov’t of Canada

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.

iA Financial Group adds travel insurance to its individual insurance offer

In collaboration with established partner, TuGo

QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 17, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – iA Financial Group is proud to partner with TuGo, one of the largest providers of travel insurance in the country, to offer travel insurance and provide its clients with TuGo’s recognized quality customer service and expertise. TuGo has more than 50 years of experience assisting travellers across the globe.

Distinguishing features of this insurance:

  • Simplified eligibility criteria
  • Reliable emergency assistance anywhere in the world, 24/7
  • Multilingual customer service
  • myTuGo online client portal

“Travel insurance meets the needs of most people who are concerned with being properly protected when they travel, states Pierre Vincent, Senior Vice-President, Individual Insurance and Sales at iA Financial Group. We are proud to extend our product offer through our partnership with TuGo, a company that is recognized for the quality of the service it provides.”

iA Financial Group’s new travel insurance product is exclusively digital and can be obtained from an advisor or directly at There are no medical eligibility questions for travellers under 60; travellers 60 or older are only required to answer five simple questions.

About iA Financial Group
Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest insurance and wealth management companies in Canada. It also operates in the United States. iA Financial Group stock is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol IAG.

iA Financial Group is a business name and trademark of Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

SOURCE Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

Allianz Global Assistance Partners With My Online Camp For Camp Registration Insurance

 Allianz Global Assistance (AGA), a leading consumer specialty insurance provider, and My Online Camp (MOC), a leading marketing, management and registration service for camps, have announced that camper registration insurance is available for families registering for camps that use the MOC platform.  My Online Camp is a fast growing camp and event provider that serves coaches, athletic departments and camp operators by providing marketing and registration services for youth sports camps and other youth events.  MOC annually facilitates registration for more than 17,500 events across the country.

“Camp Protector” from Allianz Global Assistance is available for purchase by camper families who are registering for their camp or event using the My Online Camp platform.*  For an additional fee, Camp Protector will cover non-refundable camp registration fees as well as coverage for overnight campers for medical and dental emergencies, emergency medical transportation and lost and delayed baggage.  Also included with each insurance policy is the Camp Protector Hotline, which allows families to access 24/7 assistance with camper issues such as locating resources at camp locations, including appropriate healthcare facilities.  The policy may also provide for management and payment of medical emergencies and arrangement and payment for emergency medical transportation, up to the limit of the policy.

Camp Protector provides coverage for lost registration fees when a camper has to cancel or leave camp for a reason covered by the policy.  Covered reasons for camp cancellation or interruption include injury or illness to the camper or a close family member, family employment issues, transportation delays, military/family/legal obligations and weather emergencies among other covered reasons.

“We know that nobody expects to have to cancel their participation in camp or leave camp unexpectedly, but sometimes an injury, illness or other unforeseen problem may cause a camper to cancel,” said Andy Priestley, Co-Founder and CEO of My Online Camp.  “We are pleased to partner with Allianz to offer insurance that will provide a full refund of the registration fee when a camper or participant has to cancel for a reason covered by the policy.”

“We’re excited to partner with My Online Camp to offer their camps and events the tremendous benefits that Camp Protector has to offer,” said Mike Nelson, CEO, Allianz Worldwide Partners, Americas. “Every year, we provide great coverage and outstanding 24/7/365 service and assistance to 25 million customers. We’re happy to be able to offer this coverage, service and peace of mind to families registering on the My Online Camp platform.”

Camp Protector costs less than 6% of the camp registration fee (cost may vary by state and by day vs. overnight camp). Camp Protector covers 100% of camp registration fees for a covered camp cancellation or interruption up to $10,000.  Overnight Camp Protector will also cover losses caused by travel delays (up to $500 with a daily limit of $150), medical or dental emergencies (up to $10,000), emergency medical transportation (up to $50,000), baggage loss (up to $500), replacement of essential items when baggage is delayed 24 hours or more (up to $200) and includes 24/7 assistance. Allianz Global Assistance will manage all customer service and claims activity for Camp Protector policy holders and is available 24/7 to answer questions or help solve problems.

Allianz Global Assistance USA
Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company.  We provide insurance to 25 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for property and casualty insurers and credit card companies.  To learn more, please visit

About My Online Camp
My Online Camp (MOC) is a leading marketing, management, and registration service for camps. MOC serves 3,000 coaches, athletic departments, and camp operators to manage more than 17,500 events nationwide each year. Founded in 2006, MOC has been used by more than two million parents and athletes to register for camp. MOC’s popular camp notification system, Ryzer, alerts more than 750,000 athletes of instructional and prospect camps.

* – Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101- P series, depending on your state of residence. Plan(s) only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates.  AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Non-Insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or


SOURCE Allianz Global Assistance

“I would not take out a travel insurance policy without having my lawyer and my doctor both go over it.”

Read more

$25 premium could have erased staggering medical bills for Canadians hurt in Vegas

Meredith MacLeod,

At least one Canadian recovering in hospital from injuries sustained in the mass shootings in Las Vegas could face “catastrophic” medical bills. Sheldon Mack of Victoria, who did not buy travel medical insurance for his trip with friends to celebrate his 21st birthday, has had surgery to remove his colon and is waiting to be cleared to travel home.

It’s unclear what Mack’s hospital bill may be or what kind of help he may get from governments in Canada and the United States. But a $25 travel insurance policy could have eased any worries, says travel insurance expert Robin Ingle.

“The cost is low. A young person travelling for a week might be $20 or $25,” he said, with coverage up to C$10 million. A senior might pay $50 or a family can be covered for $100.

That pales in comparison to medical bills, which can mount quickly and drastically, Ingle told CTV’s Your Morning Friday. Specialized surgery can cost up to US$200,000 and each day in a bed is between US$3,000 to $5,000. A simple over-the-counter pain reliever can cost $10.

Hudson Mack, Sheldon’s father, says he fears his son’s intensive medical care will mean a “catastrophic” hospital bill.

“It’s a lesson to Canadians to not cross the border without coverage,” Mack, a former CTV anchor, told The Canadian Press.

Provincial governments will cover some medical costs abroad and many Canadians have employee benefits with travel medical insurance for travel out of province or country, said Ingle.

“The issue with that is you have to know how to activate it and you have to know what’s covered in it. You’ll have to go to your employee benefit administrator or go to your HR department and ask questions. A lot of times it’s hard to find the emergency assistance number and that’s not made easy.”

Additional options include insurance through banks and other financial services providers, CAA, or credit cards. Some providers offer annual travel plans, too.

Ingle, who is CEO of Ingle International, says travellers should be aware of their policy limits. Most will exclude unstable, pre-existing medical conditions and won’t cover risky activities, including hang-gliding, parachuting, scuba diving without certification, or climbing mountains. Travel to dangerous countries is also often not covered.

Ingle expects that in the case of the horror in Las Vegas, in which four Canadians are among 59 people killed and at least six Canadians are among the estimated 515 wounded in a mass shooting at a country music festival, there will be some special compassion shown when it comes to medical bills.

“This is a political issue too. Look in Las Vegas, I think there are more than a million Canadians that go to Las Vegas, they travel there. First of all, Nevada, Las Vegas and the U.S. government won’t want to have a problem with this. The Canadian government also has a program. They’ll apply $10,000 formally towards Canadian victims of crime when they are outside of Canada.”

Ingle also believes American hospitals and healthcare providers will “come to the table on this.”

Nevada also has a fund for victims of violent crime who don’t have insurance.

But Canadians shouldn’t expect much support from their provincial coverage, where the daily coverage ranges from between $50 and $400 depending on the province, Will McAleer, president of Canada’s Travel Health Insurance Association told The Canadian Press.

“The amounts that you’d be paid for under a provincial medical plan are certainly insignificant, they’re almost non-existent.”

He said intensive medical care for an emergency such as a critical gunshot wound can cost upwards of $10,000 an hour as teams of specialists go into action.

“For significant emergencies, it’s not even a fraction of the coverage.”

A number of Las Vegas shooting victims, including Mack, have individual crowdfunding campaigns ( )set up for them. Money is also being raised online for Ryan Sarrazin of Camrose, Alta., ( ) who, according to a GoFundMe page, was “seriously injured” after being shot at the concert.

“This fund is to assist medical and travel expenses for Ryan and his family,” Tamara Johnson said on the funding page, which surpassed its goal and now sits at more than $77,000.

Braden Matejka from Lake Country, B.C., has also started a GoFundMe campaign ( with a goal of $25,000, saying on the page that the money will help cover his required time off work and other recovery costs after being shot in the back of the head.

The Las Vegas Victims’ Fund online (, set up by an American businessman and politician has already raised more than $9.6 million of its $15-million goal.

An RBC Insurance survey earlier this year found that 75 per cent of Canadians planning to travel internationally in 2017 would purchase travel insurance. A majority of those who said they wouldn’t buy travel insurance indicated they are already covered through employee benefits or a credit card. Another 15 per cent said they were willing to take their chances.

In addition to bill coverage, travel insurance providers will contact next of kin, manage care with doctors and hospitals, and arrange flights home.

With files from The Canadian Press

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