We’ve all done it. Scoured the internet for the best holiday deals, weighed out all the options, decided on our ideal location, picked out the best hotels and finally booked our plane ticket months in advance, thinking we were ahead of the curve. Content that we probably saved ourselves a few dollars and a lot of last minute stress, we eagerly marked off the days until we departed.
Since we knew exactly when, where and for how long we were going, we even read all the Canadian travel insurance reviews, compared all the travel insurance companies and purchased our travel insurance ahead of time just to be safe.
The sad part is that the insurance you just bought might not be worth the paper it’s printed on by the time you fly out.
Why is that?
Well, it’s a common misconception that when you qualify and purchase travel insurance in advance of your trip that it’s guaranteed to be valid when you leave.
I hate to say it, this isn’t always the case and I’ll give you a few examples of when you should be contacting your travel insurance provider before you jump on that plane, regardless of when you bought your policy.
You see, one of those little hard to read lines on your policy is probably going to say that your policy is only valid if everything you’ve claimed about your health is true when the policy takes effect.
When the policy takes effect.
That’s the important line right there. What it’s more or less saying is that they’ve issued you the policy based on your current health assessment. Now, if your health changed since you bought the policy, the truth of the matter is that you may no longer be covered.
How travel insurance policies typically work is that they quote you a price based on the health information you give them. More often than not the onus is on you to provide them with all your relevant details.
So when you purchase your travel insurance months in advance, the understanding is that your health will remain constant from the moment you purchase it until the day the policy takes effect (usually the day you leave on your trip).
This is probably the case for the majority of people that purchase travel insurance ahead of time, but what happens if you break an arm, have a heart attack, dislocate a shoulder or any of hundreds of possible health issues in the time between purchasing your travel insurance and the policy start date? Well, depending on which travel insurance plan you purchased, you might have just made your policy invalid.
The onus is now again on you to inform them of the change otherwise if something happens while you’re on your trip, you could be rejected coverage. If they think there’s a connection between both health issues, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll be stuck footing all the bill.
Now this post isn’t intended to make you postpone buying your travel insurance ahead of time, on the contrary I just wish more people read the fine print in their policy; it’s just to make you aware that there’s a difference between policy purchase date and policy start dates.
Suffice it to say that if you’ve already purchased your insurance and you have some health concerns before your departure day, contact your insurance provider so they know of the change and can inform you if you’re still covered or need to modify the plan.
*As always, the information on this page is from one Canadian traveller to another. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry however we are not travel insurance agents. If you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, policies and plans can and do change all the time, without warning, so always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.
*This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.