Best Travel Insurance for Canadians Headed South for the Winter

There's still plenty of time to hit the beaches of Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba, or wherever your heart desires this winter! With an estimated 3.6 million sunny trips abroad taken by Canadians in January of 2023, more of us than ever are looking forward to beating the winter doldrums. Many other Canadians are already on their way, so if the only thing keeping you here is a lack of travel insurance, let us help! Here's what you need to know before flying south.

There are Different Types of Travel Insurance

Not every travel coverage policy focuses on the same things. Most policies cover specific aspects of your trip, such as cancellation, baggage loss, accidents, and medical expenses.

Cancellation coverage, for example, will ensure that you get all or most of your money back from booking a flight or travel package in the event that you cancel your trip. The same is generally true if the travel provider cancels, or if your flight is delayed 3-12 hours. If your trip includes multiple transit points—such as connecting flights, connecting trains, etc.) we strongly recommend that you consider cancellation insurance. Otherwise, one late flight could cause you to miss every other connection with little hope of compensation.

Baggage loss insurance is the least commonly purchased type of travel insurance, but for certain travellers it is a necessity. For example, packing for an extended trip means taking quite a few bags, whose contents add up quickly in value. Personal care items and small appliances, bicycles and sports equipment, chef’s knives and musical instruments are just some of the high-value items that are commonly stowed under the plane when you fly to a vacation destination. The cost to replace belongings such as these is much higher than the cost of baggage loss insurance, so if you are not a light traveller, run the numbers.

Medical travel insurance provides full or partial coverage for the costliest unplanned parts of your vacation. When travelling abroad, sickness and medical emergencies won’t be automatically covered by your provincial health care plan, so if you need to visit a doctor or emergency room, take medication, or undergo a medical procedure, you’ll be expected to pay for it. Some provincial and territorial health care plans will reimburse a certain amount of international expenses, but the coverage won’t be complete.

Canada’s universal health care plan mitigates most of these costs so that when you’re within home borders you can visit a doctor or hospital, undergo surgery, and receive ongoing treatment without ever receiving a bill. As a visitor in most other countries, you can’t do any of these things without paying.

Fortunately, a visit to the doctor can be as low as a few Canadian dollars when visiting general practitioners in Mexico or South America—though hospitals that cater to international visitors who speak non-local languages are drastically more costly. Medications can be affordable as well, but the bill from undergoing emergency medical services at certain hospitals could shock you.

Travel accident insurance is a scary but very necessary precaution that covers a traveller’s worst-case scenario while away from home. Travel accident insurance serves as a safety net, providing financial protection in the unfortunate event of accidental death or dismemberment while you're away from Canada. Now, we get it—it's not the most uplifting topic, but it's a necessary precaution that responsible travellers shouldn't overlook.

Picture this: you're snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean or exploring ancient ruins in Mexico. Health insurance probably doesn’t immediately come to mind when contemplating the thrill of these adventures, but it sure will the second something goes wrong! Deal with the inherent risks that come with every foreign adventure and rest easy knowing that you and your loved ones won’t suffer financially if an accident happens. Medical problems can occur at any time, and having travel accident insurance is how you prepare for whatever comes your way.

In the unfortunate circumstance of an accident leading to your death or dismemberment, this insurance coverage steps in to ease the financial burden on your loved ones. It provides a lump-sum payment to help cover expenses that may arise, such as the repatriation of remains or necessary adjustments to your lifestyle post-accident.

Extra Travel Insurance Options to Think About Before Vacation

Now that you understand the basic elements of a good travel insurance policy, let’s look at some of the additional options available within some policies. If extras like these are important to you, speak to us about putting a special insurance package together that includes elements unique to your situation.

First and foremost, in the digital age, safeguarding one's identity is paramount. Enter Identity Theft Resolution Services, an invaluable addition to certain travel insurance policies. This service functions as a vigilant guardian against potential cyber threats, ensuring that your personal information remains secure while you explore the charming streets of Old Havana or snorkel in the blue-green waters of Cozumel.

For those embarking on family vacations that involve school-related activities, School Activity Coverage is something to think about. Whether your little ones are enthralled by the historical richness of Peru’s archaeological mountain scapes or captivated by the wonders of the coral reefs of the Caribbean Ocean, this coverage offers a safety net for unforeseen incidents, allowing your exploration to continue seamlessly.

Did you know there is such a thing as Destination Wedding Coverage? For those planning matrimonial bliss against the stunning backdrop of Machu Picchu (somehow actually possible!) or the centuries-old architecture of Buenos Aires, Brazil, there are myriad things that can go wrong when planning a destination wedding. This coverage addresses potential disruptions to your wedding plans, be it a minor hiccup or something more troublesome.

Adventurous souls seeking the thrill of the great outdoors will appreciate Adventure Sports Coverage. Whether conquering the waves on a kite board or hiking the Sierra Madres for a week-long tour, this coverage ensures that the pursuit of excitement comes as stress-free as possible—which is the whole point, of course!

For pet enthusiasts, Pet Health Coverage acknowledges the integral role our furry companions play in our lives. In the event of a pet's illness causing a delay or cancellation to your travel plans, this coverage provides a layer of protection, recognising the importance of pets as cherished members of the family.

Are you looking forward to a hunting or fishing expedition while abroad? Game Sport Coverage offers financial protection in the face of unexpected circumstances, allowing you to fully embrace the unpredictable nature of the local wilderness with no extra worries—because the crocodiles are enough to worry about, we think.

Lastly, Missed Flight Connections coverage does just what it says, protecting you from paying for extra flights if you missed a scheduled connection. Navigating the intricacies of Pearson Airport or any other connecting hub becomes a less daunting prospect with this coverage mitigating the financial impact of missed flights.

Why You Should Also Consider Coverage for Domestic Travel

Is your winter escape just a few hours south? You may want to consider domestic travel insurance, Canada itself presenting plenty of opportunity for travel plans to wrong. For medical emergencies and routine doctor’s visits, Canada’s provinces and territories enjoy reciprocal health insurance. Ontario Health Insurance Plan is valid in Vancouver, for example, with no problems for at least 3 months—and in some places, 6 months. Unless you have unique health issues or wish to consult with private healthcare providers in the event of an emergency, you don’t need to worry about travel medical insurance inside of Canada.

There are other good reasons to consider domestic travel insurance, however. Picture this: you've booked a cozy cabin in the Rockies or a charming cottage by the lake. Life happens, and unforeseen circumstances could force you to cancel—maybe it's a sudden illness, a family emergency, or even a moose blocking your bus and making you miss your flight (hey, it happens). Having cancellation coverage ensures you're not left out in the cold, financially speaking.

Baggage loss insurance is also a helpful resource for domestic travellers. Believe it or not, even on a cross-country train journey or a road trip to the Maritimes, your luggage can go on its own adventure. Whether you're a skier in the Rockies or a foodie on a culinary tour of Quebec, your bags could get lost along the way, so think about whether insurance would make you feel more confident and stress-free while travelling.

Acumen Has the Right Travel Insurance for Every Client & Family

We know how exciting—and necessary—these mid-winter breaks can be, and we encourage all Canadians to get out and enjoy some beautiful tropical weather, sun, surf and sand! Travel is a great way to refresh the mind and body, especially after months of short, dark, cold days. Even better, the post-Christmas travel sales can help you make the most of any budget! We just ask that before you set off on your winter adventure, you take a moment to consider the importance of travel accident insurance.

It might not be the most glamorous part of trip planning, but insurance planning is an essential aspect of responsible and secure travel for any Canadian adventurer. Ask us about our travel insurance packages today to get prepared. Stay safe, stay covered, and make the most of your sun-soaked winter escapade!