What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance Before Your Trip

Whether your employees take work trips or are going away for leisure, offering them travel insurance as part of their benefits plan shows them that you care about their safety and well-being. Your employees may become ill or require medical assistance while abroad. The cost of getting sick in another country can be expensive. That’s why travel medical insurance is so important to have.

While it’s great that you’ve decided to offer travel insurance, it’s also important for your staff to be well educated on the details of their coverage before their trip. To avoid any unexpected expenses and worry upon return, share these top facts on travel insurance with your employees. 

Here’s what those with coverage need to know about travel insurance before their flight:

Having travel insurance doesn’t guarantee full coverage

Some people may assume that they’re automatically covered fully under their benefits plan, but this might not be the case. Make sure you know what types and levels of coverage you have before you leave for your trip. 

Some travel insurance plans also may not include the complete coverage you may think you have. For instance, you might have emergency travel medical coverage but not be covered for loss of baggage or trip cancellations. Even travel medical coverage has its limits, so make sure to check the details of your plan before your trip.

If you’re traveling with any dependents, like your children, don’t forget to ensure they are covered by your travel insurance as well. Honeybee plan members can easily view what types of coverage they have through their Honeybee app. 

Did you know? 

With virtual health care, plan members can access a medical practitioner from anywhere in the world, so long as they have an internet connection. This can help avoid foreign assistance and the expense that comes with it. Read more here.

There are restrictions around pre-existing conditions 

If you have a pre-existing condition you should be aware of the fact that you will be taking on a heightened level of risk while travelling. Pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, can often affect many forms of travel coverage. For example, trip cancellation insurance may be subject to different requirements if you have a pre-existing condition. 

If you are pregnant while travelling, you should also expect there to be unique restrictions of your travel coverage worth considering. 

The key takeaway is that if you have a pre-existing condition and end up needing medical assistance while travelling, your travel insurance may not cover the expenses, or cover less than initially assumed. Medical assistance could mean needing to see a doctor, or requiring hospital care or medication abroad for your pre-existing condition.

This is why if you have a pre-existing condition, you should be sure to speak with your doctor in advance of your trip about the precautions you may want to take. 

Travel insurance is generally designed to cover sudden and unforeseen circumstances. Examples include food poisoning, sand flea bites, heatstroke due to extreme weather, etc. 

Travel coverage may not extend to certain activities

People often go on vacation to relax. But some vacations are less mellow and more adventurous! For the thrill-seekers who are excited to explore and try new things while abroad, it is always a good idea to review your travel policy and ensure that you will be covered should you be injured during one of your planned activities.

Restrictions commonly apply to activities such as hang-gliding, rock climbing, paragliding, skydiving, parachuting, bungee jumping, or scuba diving without a basic SCUBA designation from a Canadian certified school. Review your travel coverage for specific details.

If you find you are not covered by your standard plan, you may want to consider purchasing additional insurance. At the very least, it is important to understand what level of risk you may be taking by participating in certain activities. Have fun, but be careful!

Travel coverage has limits

Like other forms of insurance, expect that your travel coverage will have limits. This means that depending on the circumstances, your travel insurance may not be enough to cover your full expenses. 

For example, let’s say your trip cancellation insurance is limited to $5,000 per trip. It’s possible that this will not cover the full cost of your flights, particularly if you’re travelling with dependents. Similarly, if your baggage insurance is limited to $1,000 per trip and you are travelling with expensive possessions, you may not be reimbursed in full. Review your travel insurance information to learn about your specific coverage.

You will also want to confirm that your travel insurance has you covered for the entire duration of your trip. Most annual travel insurance policies will have a per-trip length limit. 

The majority of insurance policies provided by employers cover at least the minimum amount of vacation days that an employee would take in the year. But it’s still important to check, especially in the case of extended trips. 

In many of these instances, it is possible to purchase additional coverage in order to minimize your risk.

You need to have your benefits information while traveling

In the event of a travel medical emergency, it is always a good idea to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, ideally prior to receiving services or treatment. Many policies reserve the right to limit, delay, or even deny the benefits payable if they are not notified within a given time period. This is why it’s critical to have these numbers on hand in case of emergency.

Honeybee plan members can view their benefits card and travel emergency contact information  online through the Honeybee app anytime, anywhere.

You must save all your receipts!

Make sure to save all of the receipts pertaining to your trip, in case you need to make any claims. This includes, but is not limited to, the following paperwork and/or original electronic copies, for you and any dependents:

  • Original airline tickets in case of trip cancellations
  • Original prescription drug receipts or bills from a medical provider
  • Any reports made due to theft, damage, or loss of baggage during transport
  • Your original receipts and any theft-related police reports for business equipment (i.e. laptops, phones, tablets) 

Check for travel advisories for your destination

The Government of Canada provides travel advice and advisories based on situations that may affect your safety or well-being while abroad. This official information is designed to allow Canadians to make their own informed decisions and minimize risk while travelling. 

You can search your destination and find information on the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories website.

If a travel advisory is issued for your destination before your departure date, it’s important to note that many policies will not cover sickness or injury contracted in that region. If a travel advisory is issued after your departure date, often your coverage will be limited for a period of time after the date of that advisory’s release. For example, 10 days or a period reasonably necessary in order to safely evacuate. 

Some of these advisories come with precautions that may not change your trip plans, but if you feel uneasy as a result of an advisory you may want to cancel your flight. Trip cancellation insurance is typically available if a new formal notice is issued by the Canadian Government prior to your departure date. Check your travel coverage to see whether trip cancellation insurance is included. 

Tip: Check with your family doctor to make sure you have taken all the vaccinations necessary to prevent yourself from getting any travel-related diseases. You may also want to have a blood test done in advance of your trip to be sure that any prior vaccinations you’ve had are still in your system to protect you.

It’s important to read the fine print on your travel coverage before you take your journey abroad. Honeybee clients can view a complete list of eligible expenses within the Honeybee app, including their coverage details and policy. Note that many credit cards also provide some form of coverage, so this may be worth investigating as well. 

Remember, it’s never a good idea to make assumptions about your travel coverage.

If you’re a Honeybee client and you have any questions about your travel coverage, please contact our Customer Care Team before your trip. They’re available from Monday to Friday at 8:30 am to 5:00 pm ET by phone or text at 416-626-6642 or email at help@myhoneybee.com.

Interested in travel insurance for your employee benefits plan?