Travelling With Presents? Make Sure You & Your Gifts Are Protected

Canadians love to visit friends and family over the holidays. In addition to delighting your hosts with the gift of your presence, chances are you'll be bringing actual presents along with you too. That's why making sure you, your family, and your presents are protected is one of the best gifts you can give yourself this busy holiday travelling season.

Make Sure You Get Travel Insurance

As a general rule of thumb, you should get travel insurance for every member of your family every time you travel together out of province. Travel insurance not only protects you if there is a health emergency, but depending on your coverage also aids in recouping losses caused by sudden trip cancellations and lost baggage (including presents).

  • Tip: Don’t buy one policy per person; instead, buy one policy that covers everyone travelling together. It’s usually cheaper.

Tips For Taking Your Presents Over the Border or On A Plane

Travelling with gifts can sometimes be a challenge. Although you are allowed to bring wrapped gifts through checkpoints, be aware that customs officers may unwrap them in order to take a look inside. It's often recommended to wrap your gifts once you arrive at your destination to avoid potential travel delays. The same is true for crossing the border via car.

When you're bringing presents with you there are a few things you should keep in mind, such as the length of stay requirements for duty-free exemptions.

  • Wrap your gifts after you arrive at your destination
  • Consider sending your gifts via post ahead of time. Typically gifts that cost less than $60 are exempt, but anything valued at over $60 may require the recipient to pay duties and taxes
  • If you are visiting the U.S. with gifts and will be there for 72 hours or more, you are permitted to bring up to $100 worth of goods duty-free. Any gifts valued higher than $100 typically require you to pay duty
  • If you are returning from the U.S. with gifts that you have received, you can bring $200 worth of goods duty-free if you were there for 24 to 48 hours, and up to $800 duty-free if you were there for 48 hours or more
  • Make sure you are not bringing any gifts, candies or toys that are deemed illegal into another country. For example, we love Kinder Eggs in Canada, but they are forbidden for import in the States, while certain kinds of jellybeans are banned in the UK
  • Check the customs information of the country you are travelling to before your departure to determine what you can and cannot bring into the country, as well as what your limits are on goods

Protecting Your Presents While Travelling

Your property insurance protects your possessions even when they're away from your home. If your presents were to be stolen they would be covered under your home or tenants insurance. However, you may be required to provide proof of theft in order for your insurance company to pay out a claim. This can sometimes be provided in the form of a police report.

There are a few reasons why you may not want to make an insurance claim if your presents are stolen. If they are valued at less than the cost of your deductible, not only would your insurance company not pay out anything but you would have an unnecessary claim on your insurance record.  If you purchased the item on your credit card and you have purchase protection, the insurance on your credit card may cover your losses and this would likely be a better route.

Travel Insurance may also protect you in the event the airline you're travelling with loses luggage that contains your belongings, including gifts. You are generally protected against the unexpected loss of your belongings for up to the coverage amount you purchased.

If you can, bring gifts in a carry on when travelling by plane.

Protecting Your Home While You Are Away

If you will be away from your home for multiple days, make sure you have someone checking in on your house regularly over the duration of your absence. This is not only a potential deterrent for criminals, but if you’re going to be away for more than 30 days it is also often a requirement of your insurance provider in order for your home insurance to remain valid in your absence. Installing light timers is another way to help fend off unwanted visitors.

Don't forget to check your policy, and check it twice, to make sure you have the coverage you need this holiday season.