Confused? Curious? Have questions? Our FAQs will help you better understand the world of travel insurance - before you travel the world.

1. Do I need to buy travel insurance if I'm covered under a health plan?

Travel insurance is different than extended health insurance. While many extended health insurance plans include some coverage for travel, it is often a small amount. If you get sick or injured while outside of Canada, medical costs can add up quickly - especially if you are hospitalized. Because of this, we recommend that you purchase insurance specific for travelling, even if you have some coverage under another plan. This will ensure that you have enough coverage for an emergency. Travel insurance policies can also include benefits or features that are not provided by group health insurance plans; these include non-medical benefits and 24/7 claims and emergency assistance.

2. Is it true that I need travel insurance if I travel within Canada, but outside of my home province?

You are not required to purchase additional insurance while travelling outside of your home province (but within Canada); however, it is strongly advised to get yourself some anyway. While your provincial health insurance will remain in effect outside of your province of residence, it is limited to expenses which would be covered in your home province. Because of the potential discrepancies in health care coverage from province to province, we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Plans for travel within Canada are available at very reasonable rates.

3. Is travel insurance similar to car insurance? Is it more expensive for young people?

While age is one of the determining factors for travel insurance, it is different than car insurance in that prices are lowest for young, healthy individuals.

4. What if I get sick in a country where I don't speak the language? How can I communicate with doctors or contact my family back home?

Certain plans that we offer include coverage for interpretation services. These plans will connect you with a foreign language interpreter when communication is necessary for emergency services. We also offer plans that help you communicate with your travelling companion(s) and even relay important messages to your family at home, in the event of a medical emergency.

5. If I get sick and need medical treatment, would I have to pay out of pocket?

Whenever possible, the insurance companies will try to coordinate direct payment with the hospital so that you do not have to pay out of pocket. It is important that you contact your insurer's Claims and Emergency Assistance department if you are in need of medical attention. This department will help you get the medical attention you need while attempting to coordinate payment at the facility where you are being treated. However, be aware that some medical facilities may insist on payment up front.

If your policy has a deductible, this means that you will be responsible for a portion of the medical expenses incurred. This deductible is a dollar amount that you must pay before coverage kicks in. Deductibles vary from policy to policy, and can be applied on a per-claim or per-trip basis.

6. What happens if I get sick in a remote area, far away from the nearest hospital?

Travel insurance plans typically include emergency transportation by land and/or air, as well as remote evacuation to the nearest appropriate hospital or medical facility. It is usually necessary to have air ambulance and remote evacuation benefits arranged and pre-approved by your insurance company; so check with your insurer before you leave for your trip. In the case of an emergency in a remote area, make sure to have a way of contacting your insurance company.

7. What happens if I leave the country before my wallet card arrives in the mail?

While it is handy to have your wallet card with you when travelling, it is not required. When you purchase a plan, you will receive all of your pertinent policy information via email. Confirmation documents, which include your policy number and the claims/emergency assistance phone number, can be printed from your confirmation email, and carried with you as proof of coverage while travelling.

8. What is an "emergency"? Will I be covered if I get a cold?

While all policies define "emergency" differently, in general, an emergency refers to a sudden, unexpected, and unforeseen sickness or injury which requires immediate medical treatment. A cold (or other illness) will only be covered if it falls under your policy's definition of an emergency. It is important that you read your policy wording carefully to make sure that you understand its benefits and exclusions.

9. I am currently taking medication; will I be covered if my existing condition gets worse while I'm away?

Some policies offer coverage for emergency medical expenses related to stable pre-existing medical conditions; however, refills for prescriptions and other routine expenses will not be covered, as these would not be considered emergencies. It's always a good idea to check the limitations and exclusions in your policy wording if you are concerned about what is and isn't covered for pre-existing medical conditions.