When it comes to travelling, insurance is usually the last thing we think about. It’s so much more fun to think about sipping sangria on the beaches of Spain, or exploring the urban jungles of Japan. However, without the right travel medical insurance, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. Healthcare outside of Canada can be expensive, so it would be foolish to travel without insurance. There are plenty of options, but it’s important to know how to buy the right kind of travel insurance.

Identify your needs

When speaking to your travel insurance broker, be specific about your needs. Travellers who dive in Thailand will have very different needs compared to snowbirds who spend 3 months a year in Florida.


Photo of a mountain biker with adventure travel insurance jumping while on vacation
A mountain biker has different insurance needs than the average traveller.

Basic types of travel insurance

  • Travel Medical

    The most common type of travel insurance and a must for any trip. This insurance provides emergency coverage for injuries or sickness requiring medical attention while you’re travelling.

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption

    Sometimes you’re forced to call off your trip. This insurance will reimburse your travel costs if your travel plans are cancelled before departure, if you’re delayed or if your trip is interrupted during your travels.

  • Baggage Insurance

    Your luggage can be delayed, lost, or even stolen on your trip. Having baggage insurance will pay for damages or stolen items and even covers out-of-pocket expenses for personal or sundry items to tie you over. Worried about claiming? Here are some baggage insurance claim tips.

  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment

    It’s impossible to predict when it’s our time to go, but with AD&D insurance, costs will be covered in a worst case scenario.

  • Multi-trip Insurance

    Combine what you need from the above insurance policies as a multi-trip annual plan. This can help you save money if you’re a frequent traveller.

RELATED: 4 Things to Know About Multi Trip Annual Travel Insurance

Travel insurance FAQs

Every policy is different so be sure to ask plenty of questions. Travel insurance brokers will be able to easily answer them, so don’t be shy! If you’re still not sure where to begin, consider asking yourself the following first.

Each policy is different so find out what exactly you’re covered for. Once you purchase a policy, check out the full details in the full policy.

Photo of insurance policy form being filled out by a TuGo travel insurance customer
Talking to your insurance provider to understand the extent of your coverage is recommended. CC Attribution: Photo by Pictures of Money used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
  • How much does the policy cover?

    Most travel medical policies will cover you for $5-10 million, which should be more than enough.

  • How long does the policy last?

    Travel insurance can be purchased for various lengths of time—maximum trip lengths depend on the insurance provider. Needless to say, the longer the trip, the higher your premiums will be.

  • What is the pre-existing condition exclusion clause?

    Pre-existing medical conditions can affect your coverage, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be insured. No matter how small your condition, find out whether it will be covered and what the insurance provider’s stability clause is.

  • What if I make a mistake while answering the medical questionnaire?

    You should always be truthful when answering a medical questionnaire, but sometimes you might make an honest mistake. Find out how the insurance provider handles unintentional mistakes.

    TuGo, for instance, has a medical questionnaire deductible for unintentional mistakes. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely cheaper than being on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • Are there any additional costs?

    You can opt for a deductible, which in most cases will decrease your premium.

  • Do I have to make a payment up front if I need to seek medical attention?

    Some travel insurance companies like TuGo will work with hospitals and other medical providers to process payment behind the scenes, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. However, it’s dependent on the medical provider; some of them want to get paid right away and ask you to pay out-of-pocket. Always ask your broker regardless of the situation— should ask your broker what to expect.

  • Are there any ways other to save money?

    TuGo’s Multi Trip Annual plan offer good value to frequent travellers. You can also buy an all-inclusive package for single trips. Ask if there are other ways to save money on your insurance premiums.

Photo of cars trying to drive on a flooded road on a trip
Trip cancellation insurance covers you when you have to cancel your trip for a natural disaster, such as a flood.

Tips on buying travel insurance

Many different factors can affect your decisions, so here are some travel insurance tips to keep in mind before you make your purchase.

  • Location matters

    The US has some of the highest medical costs in the world, so if you’re not heading south, you may be able to purchase a cheaper policy that excludes the US. TuGo offers a plan like this.

  • You need travel insurance within Canada

    Provincial health plans won’t cover everything when you’re outside your home province. It’s wise to purchase additional insurance.

  • Natural disasters

    Trip cancellation insurance protects you when a natural disaster forces you to cancel your trip.

  • Don’t drink too much

    Travel insurance only covers unexpected emergencies, so if you get into an accident while intoxicated, it’s unlikely you’ll be covered.

Final word

Travel medical insurance can be purchased from a travel agent or tour operator, but they might not know the details of the policies offered. It’s better to deal with a travel insurance broker who can answer all your questions.

There’s no blanket insurance available to everyone so talking to a broker is essential in helping you figure out your best options. Once they understand your needs, they’ll be able to recommend the right product for you.

Happy travels


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