If you are like most Canadians, you probably love to travel and are planning your vacation down to the very last detail.

Maybe you planned your  dream wedding in the tropics and are all excited and taken up with the wedding planner, invitations, and are probably busy  making  arrangements as you read this Newsfeed for a number of things, ranging from booking your flight,  accommodations, car rental, making sure that someone checks on your home while you are away, arranging a sitter for your pet etc.

Obviously your mind and heart is set on the great vacation you have so meticulously planned and you certainly want the best value for your hard earned money. We are blessed to live in a country that has an excellent health care system and as such (for the most part) we know that getting sick or injured in Canada isn’t likely to put us in serious financial hardship.

Once you leave Canada these wonderful health benefits (that we sometimes take for granted) become non-existent, and an illness or injury while on vacation can add up to thousands of dollars in medical expenses. This is why it makes sense to include Travel Insurance in your vacation plans, because none of us know what  the next 5 seconds will bring, let alone what will happen tomorrow when we only thought about having fun in a tropical paradise

You can purchase  travel insurance directly from insurance companies (including online providers), travel agents, or licensed insurance brokers. Travel agents are primarily  in the business of selling vacations, and travel insurance is a nice value added service that is provided to give you some “peace of mind”.

Does your travel agent know all the nuts and bolts of the policy you are purchasing? Do they know and can they explain all the exclusions, the effects of pre-existing conditions on your coverage? Do they understand insurance? Can they tailor your policy to suit your specific situation,  or provide you with options from all the providers that operate in Canada? Are you buying a policy that will deliver in the event of a claim. A good deal isn’t all about price, it’s about value. If you were sick would you consult a lawyer to determine what was wrong and what the best course of treatment should be?

I would like to suggest that the most important consideration for your vacation is your well being, because if you are sick or injured while on vacation, the cheapest flight,  the best deal on your hotel, and  the fun in the sun are all irrelevant, if the emergency (which you can’t foresee) is not covered, and you don’t have the financial wherewithal  to protect what’s really important – You! A minor injury in Canada may end up costing $20 to park at the hospital, the same injury while you are cross border shopping in Buffalo can cost thousands of dollars.

Before you pack your bags, or drive across the border for a weekend of shopping, speak with a licensed insurance professional who can help you pack the travel insurance policy that not only won’t cost an arm and a leg, but more importantly will deliver if you need to use it.


About the Author

Karl Marshall is President of Marmac Financial Services Limited, an independent insurance and investment brokerage. He lives in the Durham Region and on Saturday nights he hosts The Party Mix on G98.7 FM in Toronto. You may contact him via email karl@karlmarshall.ca @marmacinsurance on Twitter or on Facebook.