Many people travel once a year, or once every few years. Most of them purchase travel insurance to ensure if something happens overseas they are covered for medical costs, lost property and the trip back.
However, you may be unaware that they have travel insurance through their employment.
How do I find out whether I have travel insurance with my employer?
If you are part of a group benefit employee plan you may well have travel insurance through your employer. If you are part of a plan but you are unsure if you are actually covered, contact your human resources department.
If you are not covered through your employment insurance you will have to get travel insurance on your own unless your credit card covers you. Certain credit cards cover card holders for travel but you will have to contact your credit card company to find out whether you are insured.
If you do have travel insurance through your employer then you have to determine what it covers and what the limitation of this insurance are, because your insurance may be limited.
For example, your insurance could offer medical coverage but not trip cancellation, trip interruption or lost baggage coverage. In addition, your insurance could be limited to how old you are, how many days you are traveling, and any other coverage exclusions listed. In other words, despite having travel insurance with your employer you may have to purchase extra coverage for certain things that aren’t covered.
You will also have to find out what numbers to call or who to contact if you are facing an emergency or want to make a claim, just like with any other travel insurance. You need to make sure that you have all of that information before you begin your travels.
Do I really need travel insurance?
It’s up to you whether you want to buy coverage or not, should you not be covered by your employer but you should be aware that your provincial/territorial government provided insurance is not valid overseas or else may only cover a small percentage of your losses.
Getting sick or injured overseas can become quite pricey and without travel insurance you may be facing a large bill.
What do I need to know about my (employee) travel insurance?
Whether or not you have an employee travel plan, here is some of the information that you should ask about your coverage:
- Whether the plan provides continuous coverage for the duration of travel, duration of stay abroad and after you return;
- Whether it offers coverage that is continuous from abroad, or whether it has to be renewed, and what the maximum period of stay is;
- Whether the company has an worldwide, emergency contact number in English and/or translation services for health care providers in your destination country;
- Whether it pays for foreign hospitalization for illness or injury and related medical costs and provides up-front payment of bills or cash advances, so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket;
- Whether the plan cover pre-existing medical conditions.
If you have questions or need more information you should talk to your employee travel insurance provider or your insurance broker.
A guide to travel health insurance