Is Your Travel Insurance Policy Any Good?

airplane in blue sky

You probably purchase emergency medical travel insurance policies without giving them much thought. They are easy to buy, often online with minimal questions, or as an add-on to your credit card or employer group benefits coverage. But in a worst-case scenario are you as protected as you thought?

I recommend purchasing an individual travel insurance policy, as the coverage is typically much better than as an add-on to something else.

But at the minimum, it’s extremely important to read your policy wordings well before your travel date, to see where problems might arise. Although having a large claim isn’t likely, do you really want to find out something isn’t covered after you’ve had a quarter million dollars’ worth of treatment?

I know that those booklets are long and boring though. So here are some particular items to watch for in analyzing your travel coverage:

  • What is the maximum days of coverage? Is it long enough for your trip?
  • Can you pick your number of travel days and pay accordingly?
  • What is the maximum coverage?
  • Can you pick your deductible?
    If you can cover $1,000 or more yourself, and only need coverage for the most severe emergencies, you can save a lot of money if you can pick different deductibles.
  • Are pre-existing conditions covered? If so, under what conditions?
  • Can you get coverage for any drugs that you were previously prescribed?
  • What is the age limit of coverage?
  • Can you choose between a single trip and an annual plan?
    Often, if you travel at least twice a year, an annual policy is cheaper. But if you are just going cross-border shopping for 48 hours a single trip policy is great.
  • Are you expected to call the claims department before seeking treatment?
  • Do diagnostic tests such as ultrasounds and MRIs need prior approval in all situations?
  • Do you need preapproval for therapies, such as physio, or items such as crutches?
  • If it applies to you, are your grand-children covered under a family plan?
  • Does coverage stop if you return to your home province? Even if it is just for temporary emergency?
  • What are the limits for dental coverage?
  • Is there any coverage for risky or extreme sports?
  • Under the coverage for transporting a family member to where you are, what is the per day expenses limit? Is it enough to even pay for a hotel?
  • Under the vehicle return benefit, what is the limit?
  • Does your plan offer options such as:
    • Trip cancellation/interruption
    • Rental car coverage
    • Accidental death & dismemberment
    • Baggage coverage
  • Of the above, can you pick your combination or is it bundled together with no options?
  • Does rental car coverage depend on you using that credit card to pay for the car?
  • What type of vehicles are covered?

Do you have any questions about your travel insurance policy wordings? Make sure to call your broker or their service line before you travel.

I’ve decided to partner with TuGo, for my travel insurance sales. I believe they have the best coverage and the most options for any budget and situation. If you’d like to know more, or for a comparison between them and your current plan, please contact me


Improved Fee Model for Financial Plans

I’ve decided to use a tiered fee structure for holistic financial plans for two reasons:

  1. To avoid planning services being unaffordable for low to moderate income people, who are as entitled to good financial advice as anyone else.
  2. To reflect the fact that the more money that is coming into a household, the more money a good financial plan can help you save.

This simple method takes the household income, multiplies it by an increasing percentage, to determine the total plan cost.

Household Income     % of Income     Fee with GST 

       $20,000                            1%                        $210

               $30,000                             2%                      $630

               $40,000                             3%                     $1,260

               $50,000                             4%                     $2,100

               $60,000                             5%                     $3,150

Above $60,000 cost is 5% of household income plus GST.

I think this is a good balance between being able to provide services to whoever needs them, being able to pay myself and cover my expenses, and balancing the cost of the plan to the benefits to be obtained.

Try this new retirement calculator.

The company that makes the financial planning software I use, recently put out this little retirement calculator. You’ll enter a few pieces of information and it will tell you how much income you might have during retirement, and how that compares to other Canadians.

It’s completely free. And there’s no obligation to purchase anything or talk to anyone. Try different scenarios to see how retiring earlier or saving more will affect your lifestyle.

If you want to talk further about your retirement plans or other money concerns, I’d love to meet with you.