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Why do I need travel insurance?

Why do I need travel insurance?
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07 May 2018

Could your family afford to pay for your medical evacuation?

It is not much fun to think of becoming so seriously ill or injured that you require hospital treatment on holiday, but it is important to consider how you will pay for medical care that you might need. This is because the Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills if you need healthcare abroad, and for that reason it is important to arrange specialist travel insurance before you leave.

I already have health insurance

Your provincial or territorial health plan will – if you’re lucky – cover a small part of the costs of getting medical treatment abroad. And even if you do have travel insurance, check before you go that it is in date and that it provides the coverage you need. Some policies may not cover you if your health status has changed. Other policies do not cover activities such as diving or adventure sports. A quick call to your insurer could save you a lot of distress if the worst happens.

I can afford to pay for healthcare abroad

Are you sure about that? A stay in intensive care can set you back thousands of dollars, and you may also have to factor in medical evacuation. An air ambulance can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. And remember, that if you are visiting an island or a remote location, evacuation will be necessary for complex procedures. If you are not insured, you will have to pay that bill.

There have also been cases where hospitals have turned travellers away because they were not able to pay on the spot for the treatment they needed.

And it’s not just healthcare – you should consider what might happen if you die abroad. Mears, a UK-based funeral director that specialises in repatriations, quotes £2,825 to get a body to Canada – that’s nearly $5,000. Would you want your grieving family to pick up that bill at short notice?

Are there any other steps I should take to protect my health while travelling?

The Government of Canada’s travel advisories provide plenty of reliable information about destinations around the world, and you should check these before you go as they may affect your health insurance; and you can also read our destination guides. We recommend you talk to a travel health expert to get a better understanding of how these advisories affect you. At least six weeks before you go, make an appointment with a specialist travel health nurse advisor, like those at our travel clinic in Downtown Calgary. They will review your health status, your destination and your planned activities and give you tailored advice for a safe and healthy trip. They can tell you about sun safety, warn you about any particular risks and they may recommend some travel shots which will protect you from unpleasant diseases.

How do I make an appointment for travel vaccinations in Calgary?

Canadian Travel Clinics can offer same-day vaccinations at our travel clinics in Calgary. Make an appointment online right now.