The Truth About Travel Insurance

HEY! Wait a second! Don’t run away just yet, hear me out before you decide this is boring/not interesting/doesn’t apply to you.

Alison and I (Ned) have been in the travel industry collectively for 33 years and we have seen a lot of situations occur. And we have heard all the reasons why not to buy insurance. For example:

I don’t need insurance

I will go no matter what

Nothing will happen to me

I have work/credit card coverage

This trip is only xxx dollars, not worth covering

Insurance doesn’t cover anything anyway

Well, we would like to dispel some of these myths and thanks to a recent conversation I had I realize there is still a lot of misinformation about travel insurance out there.

The media can be quick to jump on a story of the public being mistreated by insurance companies; but what they neglect to mention is often the person involved lied on their application form. Not everyone is dishonest, however the few taint the many. And the media doesn’t generally print happy stories of insurance gone right. In my 19 years in the business I have never had a clients claim refused. Period. I personally have made multiple claims for different reasons (health, cancellation, interruption, lost baggage, emergency hospital visit etc.) and have always been refunded. Not because I have connections, but simply because I purchased insurance.

My most recent claim was for cancellation, as 4 days before I was scheduled to fly to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro I slipped on ice while dog walking and cracked my head hard enough to get a concussion and whiplash. I couldn’t see out of my one eye for half a day, and had severe pain, nausea, blurry vision, and memory loss and ended up in the ER. I contact my insurance company and for $168 (the cost of my policy) and some paperwork I was able to get back the non-refundable portion of that trip PLUS pay to change my ticket to still fly to Uganda to do the second half of my vacation (which included covering 2 nights hotel in Amsterdam due to flight schedules). Refund I received was about $1700. That’s how much money I would have been out of pocket because I literally slipped and fell on ice in Spruce Grove. Think about that for a moment. Something so generic as dog walking, and had I not purchased insurance I would have been out of pocket $1700, on top of the disappointment of having to cancel my trek.

How often do we hear stories of people who didn’t buy insurance needing help, and now have a ‘gofundme’ page desperate to cover the $400,000 bill they came home with? From the lady from Trinidad who fell off a cliff walking or the older couple who had to cancel due to the wife’s sudden illness, begging a tour operator to give them their money back. Had they purchased insurance, they would have gotten everything back; instead they go to the media trying to make the supplier look bad, when the suppliers are clear on non-refundable packages. Quite literally emergency medical insurance is about $4/day for up to 60 years of age.

Listing what travel insurance does cover would take far too long, but in short simple terms, emergencies, unforeseen accidents, incidents etc. Death or illness of family member, loss of job, illness to yourself and/or travel companion. Coverage after departure includes emergency medical, flight delays, forced overnight, missed connections, lost baggage, stolen items and as hard as this is to read; repatriation. I have had to deal with bringing home the body of a client who died overseas, not only is it extremely emotional but incredibly expensive and complicated, not something you would want your loved ones dealing with on top of the loss.

Alison and I are here to answer your questions about insurance, for those of you that have medical benefits through work; we strongly suggest you confirm they cover you out of country. Same goes if you have cancellation insurance on your credit card, confirm HOW MUCH coverage you have (example: my MC is $1500). We can sell ‘top up’ insurance if your trip is worth more than the value the cc will cover, and we can sell you non-medical packages, or medical only. Remember Alberta Health Care only covers the cost of what an incident would cost in Alberta. So if you are traveling in Ontario, and twist an ankle and the hospital there charges you $500, but AHC says that would cost $400 in AB, you are responsible for the difference. (And in the USA that would probably be $4000!)

I realize this is a lot to digest and perhaps I have gone on longer than intended, but insurance is so important. So wonderful when you don’t need it, but when you do and don’t have it, it’s heart breaking not only for you and your loved ones, but for us as well, as our hands are tied on getting you a refund.

For more info or to get a quote contact us at