Some things to
Consider when 'shopping' your travel insurance:
My office insures Canadian as well as
other Insurance Brokers for their Travel Insurance. Why?
Because they are not experts in Travel Insurance and know it is
easier and safer to buy their insurance from our office than
trying to determine what they need themselves. We explain
insurance terms and coverage to lawyers. Why? Because they are
not insurance lawyers and are unfamiliar with the many
definitions, exclusions and limitations. Some new Canadian
Insurance web sites are literally suggesting that you become
your own Insurance Broker and decide yourself which one is the
best company based on what your personal requirements are. In my
opinion this is a very dangerous situation. A professional
Insurance Broker can advise you what types of plans are
available, what policies will cover you for pre existing
conditions, the differences between multi trip annual plans and
single plans, deductible savings, age change savings, and what
effect health changes can have on your policy.
Where do you buy
your Travel Insurance?:
I'm partial to Insurance Brokers
specializing in Travel Insurance, because that describes my
office. I am an independent Broker contracted with over ten
Insurers or plans. I am not an employee of an Insurer. Some
General Insurance Brokers will also sell travel 'on the
side', in addition to their homeowner, auto and business
insurance sales. An Agent has been traditionally described as
representing only one company, and cam be an employee of an Agency
or Insurance Company. A Travel Insurance Agent arranges
trip tickets as well as Insurance, again usually representing
only one insurance company. To sell Travel Insurance in Canada
an Insurance Agent must be licensed and insured. Furthermore
some of the Provinces require mandatory Continuing Education
credits each year. The Agent or Broker must maintain at
least an Accident or Sickness License in the Province or
Territory he or she is transacting business. Some Life Insurance
licenses also allow Accident and Sickness sales (which includes
There are different
kinds of Travel Insurance
The Travel Insurance most people think of
when buying out of Province or out Canada Medical Insurance is
also called Excess Hospital Medical Insurance. It greatly
increases the minimum levels of insurance for out of Province
travel that Provincial Health Care covers. For instance BC
only covers $75.00 per day for Medical Care out of Canada, yet
the daily bill could be $10,000 or more. A trip to the
emergency room in the US can result in thousands of dollars of
charges. Extended hospital care can financially ruin you without
the proper coverage.
In addition to the daily per trip travel
insurance, there are also Multi trip annual plans, Air Flight
Insurance, 24 hour Accident, Trip Cancellation, Interruption and
Delay, Interruption only, Baggage coverage, Rental Car
Waiver, and All Inclusive plans, which pick up the trip
cancellation portion as well as the other items listed above.
I can quote and sell all of these plans.
What happens every
summer (or earlier) to the Travel Insurance marketplace?
Most companies, especially those insuring
long trips in the 60 and up age groups change their program
every year, usually brining out a new program each summer or
earlier (and sometimes later). An Insurer may decide to get out
that type of business, or the plan administrator may change the
Insurer on their plan, resulting in new rates, new policy
wordings and new applications. The USA health system
inflation factor alone is much higher than general inflation and
new rates may have to be charged just based on that alone. So
the plan you bought last year may not be available or may cost
more this year. To my knowledge there is only one
guaranteed renewable travel insurance policy and we offer it
through Manulife Financial Travel insurance. But in many
instances you can still buy last year's plan today for you new
In 2008 there was a huge fluctuation in
the Canadian Dollar. In fact a number of companies
increased their premiums a second time in the same policy year,
either late 2008 or early 2009. In 2011, the
Canadian Dollar has traded very high, resulting in more
Canadians purchasing vacation homes in the United States due to
the high dollar, as well as the lower real estate prices.
In 2014/2015 Canada has suffered another
drop in our dollar versus American dollar. What
happens to travel Insurance? It goes up.
Substantially. Our office has just had two insurers
increase their rates by 14%. That is in addition to their
2014 increase. And we are not alone. We are still competitive
because our competitors are increasing rates too.
What is a Pre
existing Condition and how does it affect your insurance?
Each Insurer or plan has a different
definition of Pre existing conditions. Generally it is a
condition that is or has been treated by diet, medication or
exercise, surgery, or hospitalization. All insurers
will have some type of pre existing exclusion and conditions.
As a persona ages, a longer
stability period in order to cover pre existing conditions is
generally needed. For example a 60 year old may be able to
purchase a long term travel policy which only has a 90 day
stability period, but a 75 year old would probably need up
to 12 months stability for a serious condition be covered.
If you are not stable for that specified period of time, that
condition will not be covered. Sometimes even a related
condition will be excluded for coverage.
What effect does the
eligibility questionnaire have on insurance?
Pretty simple but can be messed up by
'assuming what is meant by the question'. Most insurers on
long term travel for senior ages have eligibility questions on
their application. If you have certain conditions or too
many conditions or medications that you answer "yes" to, then
you can not buy the insurance, or if you answer them incorrectly
and have a claim, your claim can be denied or policy voided.
Why? Because the Insurer is pricing their policy to insure
the types of "risks" that they want to insure.
If you are not
eligible to purchase standard travel insurance, what
are your options?
First there are a lot of insurers out
there. There are probably about 60 different plans or
insurers for travel insurance in Canada. We sell about 10
or 12 of them. Most offices sell only one or two insurance
programs. In most cases we will have a company that is a 'good
fit' to your insurance plans. We'll tell you if we don't!
We have four sources for individual
medical underwriting: TIC, Tour Med, Manulife Travel and
RSA Travel Insurance requires the clients Doctor to complete
the form. The other three companies will accept your application on
their individual applications. In fact Manulife will even
take your application details over the phone. Either one of these
companies may or may not be able to offer coverage on pre
existing conditions. Pricing is only determined once
individual underwriting is completed. Call us or e mail us.
What about Visitors
to Canada Insurance plans or returning Canadians awaiting
Provincial Health Care Coverage?
If you are a returning Canadian you will
need temporary insurance until your Provincial Health Care Plan
kicks in. If you are visiting Canada you can purchase
Visitor Insurance to protect you from possible catastrophic
medical costs from unexpected illness or accident. If you
have relatives or friends coming to Canada you can arrange to
cover them on Visitors insurance.
There are basically two types of policies
available: 1. New conditions only covered or 2. stable chronic
conditions covered on an emergency basis. Surprisingly
almost all insurers only cover new conditions on visitors plans
and completely exclude stable chronic conditions if they result
in complications requiring emergency medical assistance.
Because we are a Broker, we have some companies which can cover
most Pre existing conditions, and we can tell you if you qualify
for this type of plan if you contact us directly.
In most cases our companies which provide
pre existing conditions are competitive with others that don't
and in some cases are actually lower priced. However even if pre
existing conditions coverage is a little more in premium, would
you prefer to buy a cheap policy that does not provide this
Coverage can be purchased with benefits as
low as $10,000 limit per person and generally go up to $100,000
or $150,000 limits. We do have some higher limit options
in some cases. As with all insurance plans when the
potential loss is not known in advance, it is recommended you
purchase as high a limit as you can afford.
Additional plans sold through our
Although travel insurance and visitors
insurance are our main sales, we do have available Extended
Health/Dental/Drug plans as well as Banking and MasterCard
applications available through our contracting with Manulife
Bank -yes, thats the one you saw on TV. For Life,
Disability and RRSPs we have a great associate who handles those
enquiries for us!
mailtoRay@IceColdNorth.com att: Kipp Battiston
or Ray Battiston
BA, CAIB, CIP,
Canadian Travel Medical Insurance Broker
BOX 510, 7 RED HAVEN DRIVE, ST DAVIDS ONTARIO L0S 1P0 CANADA
1-800-526-7420 Toll Free North
Business: 1 905-262-6575;
fax 1-8666-14-8753 Office hours: Monday -Friday, 9 AM-5PM EST, closed holidays
(voice messages and e mail checked after hours)
Disclaimer: Please refer to policies for
complete details. It is recommended you speak with a qualified
Insurance Broker prior to purchase. On line policy information
is available for your personal research. Call us or e mail us first
before making your buying decision!