Knowledge & Education Center

Travel Insurance Between Canada and the U.S.

Do You Need It?
For our Canadian and U.S. clients, cross-border travel includes an array of possibilities, from a weekly commitment to the rare excursion. The question is: do you need travel insurance? In this article, we look at considerations that keep your best interests in mind.

travelinsurancethumbMany of Cardinal Point’s clients enjoy the best of two worlds. Whether travel is for business, pleasure, or annual snowbird getaway, our clients frequently make the trip across the U.S.-Canada border and have the process down pat: pack your bags, book your flights and keep track of the days spent in each country. But how much consideration have you given to travel insurance? It’s not just for cancelled flights anymore. Travel insurance covers a range of situations from a last-minute change of plans to, in the worst-case scenario, a medical emergency away from home. Here’s the good news: you may already have coverage through your insurer or even your credit card company.

Let’s begin with the trip itself. If you are traveling by airline, it’s tempting to rush through the online booking process in order to secure the best price—and your seat of choice. Take the time to review cancellation policies. If the small print is burdensome, call the airline directly. The moment you are ready to hit the “purchase ticket” button is the time that airline representative are trained to provide you with all the information you need to make that decision. Depending on how and from whom you purchase your tickets, cancellation policies may vary, even for the same flight. If there is a chance you will need to change plans at the last minute, be sure that you will not be forced to purchase tickets for an entirely new itinerary.

Are you planning to drive across the border? Check with your auto insurance provider about international coverage. For your peace of mind and safety, it’s good to know the extent of your liability in case of an accident. Further, some automotive policies that cover theft in your home country do not extend to international travel. The good news is: your homeowner policy may cover items that are in your vehicle when you travel. Getting the details can be as simple as a telephone call.

While you are across the border—either north our south—medical insurance coverage is critically important. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention….” In the case of health insurance, whether in Canada or the United States, plan ahead to prevent excessive costs for anything from a sprained ankle to a medical emergency. First, check with your insurance policy to determine coverage. If your plan does not cover international travel, consider purchasing insurance for the duration of your trip. The peace of mind this affords is well worth the investment of time and money.

Finally, look for opportunities to save by finding out what coverage you already have. Many credit card providers offer insurance for parts of your trip booked and paid for by their card. Again, a telephone call or online request can clarify what is covered for you and your family.

Whether you travel on a schedule or “on the fly,” researching your insurance options ahead of time will allow you the opportunity to enjoy your journey.

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