Don’t forget travel insurance when packing for your vacation

Travel insurance and its importance will be explained at an information seminar Oct. 19 at the Vernon library

You've packed your sunscreen

You've packed your sunscreen

Your travel checklist includes: itinerary, vaccinations, passport, you’ve registered with Travel.gc.ca and you’ve bought travel insurance.

Congrats, you’ve done a great job planning your trip! But have you ever wondered what actually happens if there is a medical emergency and you have a claim while on vacation? Your broker would have provided you a wallet card and/or policy booklet, which will have some important phone numbers on who to contact in an emergency.

Of course, you’re going to call the first responders in a real emergency — but what if you catch the flu and you’re not sure how to proceed? Make contact with the emergency assistance provider and they can assist in directing you to the nearest clinic, urgent care or emergency room.

Not only can the assistance provider direct you to a medical facility. But when you open a claim, it allows them to make contact with the billing department at the hospital, review coverages with you and authorize tests and procedures as well.

Most hospitals in the U.S. will bill your travel insurance provider directly. On occasion, they may request a deposit for services.  Always keep your original medical receipts and you can submit them with your claim form.  If you visit a small clinic it’s likely they will want full payment up front and will not be interested in billing direct.  Again, keep your receipts.

In Mexico and the Caribbean, hospitals in popular tourist destinations will likely be happy to arrange direct billing with your insurance provider. However, deposits are commonly always required. Be prepared and have access to funds or credit.

If you are admitted to hospital, it might be appropriate to be returned to your home province for further care.  The assistance provider will confer with treating physicians to ensure it’s in your best interest to return and they will coordinate an available hospital bed near your home and an air ambulance.

Some conditions might require you to be accompanied by a full medical team, or perhaps a medical attendant. Often a family member will be allowed to travel with you. They’ll assist with obtaining your passport too.

Remember to travel informed! Ask questions, keep in contact with the assistance provider during your emergency and keep all of your original medical and travel receipts for your claim submission.

Learn more at a travel insurance information seminar hosted by Lifestyle Insurance & Benefits Brokers, Wednesday at the Vernon library, 10 a.m. to noon. Refreshments will be served and door prizes won. Please call Maria at 250-542-8577 to guarantee your spot.