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Travelling For Celebrations: What You Need To Know

June 17, 2014

World Pride is just around the corner and people from all over the globe will be visiting Toronto, this year’s host of the annual celebration. It’s one of many reasons to travel this summer—including the World Cup, Canada Day, Independence Day, countless music events including the Montreal Jazz Festival, and other festivities—but there’s one thing you need to know before zipping up that suitcase and heading out the door:

You need travel insurance.

What kind of coverage do you need?

The most important kind of travel insurance is health insurance. If something were to happen to you in another country—say you were to get into an accident or fall ill—your medical bills can reach thousands upon thousands of dollars. Without insurance, you’re paying for these expenses out of pocket.

Basic travel insurance policy plans typically include emergency health insurance, but there are also other types of travel insurance to take into consideration. Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance will protect you if something goes wrong prior to or during your trip, and some policies can help you if your baggage were lost or delayed. Depending on how you’re getting to your destination, the type of insurance you purchase might differ. It is recommended you at least get emergency health insurance.

Here are a few other articles to help you understand the different types of coverage:

Types of Travel Insurance: What Coverage Can You Choose?
Travel Insurance: What it Covers and Why You Need It
Trip Cancellation Insurance

The fine print – what isn’t covered?

Like with any insurance policy, it’s important to ask your provider about exclusions.

If your travels include activities that could be deemed dangerous or risky (sky diving, for example), it’s important to compare the fine print, and if it seems vague, ask the travel insurer specifically. When comparing travel insurance quotes, you’re not only looking for the best rate, but also the best coverage.

Some travel insurance plans exclude coverage for injuries sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Others will provide coverage but only if you’re within the legal limit—an amount that can be measured by your home province or the location you’re visiting depending on the policy. If you plan on drinking during your celebrations, make sure you read the fine print to ensure your coverage remains valid.

If you’re travelling from within Canada

Although most provinces and territories have a reciprocal agreement to accept outside coverage and bill your provincial insurer directly, not all medical expenses may be covered. It varies by province. You may be required to pay upfront for those services that are not covered and then submit a form to your province for reimbursement.

Quebec is the only province to not have a complete reciprocal agreement with Canada’s other provinces and territories as their portion of the agreement covers hospital fees only. If you are visiting Toronto, for example, from Montreal or any other city in Quebec, it is recommended you get private travel insurance as the province may not reimburse you for aspects of your treatment. Without travel insurance, you may be left paying out of pocket for any medical costs accrued outside of a hospital.

For more information about your province in particular, read Travel and Your Provincial Health Plan.

Safety tips for crowds

The Toronto Police offer the following safety tips:

  • Pack light and carry only what you need—this will help prevent theft and promote ease of movement
  • Make sure your purses/bags are closed and carried in front of your body
  • Don’t put all of your essentials in one place
  • The sounds and size of crowds can conceal crime—be extra vigilant
  • Stick to well-lit, high-traffic areas and avoid anything isolated or desolate (alleyways, parking lots, garages)
  • Use the buddy system, or at least make sure you let others know where you are at all times
  • Be alert and aware of what is happening around you

Also, if you’re going to be outside for extended periods of time, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. This could easily help you to prevent an unnecessary visit to the hospital.

Insurance Hotline @ Pride

Insurance Hotline is a proud supporter of World Pride. Come see our official Insurance Hotline float during the parade on Sunday June 29, 2014.