What is a High Risk Travel Insurance in Canada?
Travel insurance is crucial. You do not want to deal with accidents, flight cancellations, illnesses and even lost luggage in a foreign country. Have you considered travelling to dangerous locations or engaging in risky sports activities? In most instances, your regular travel insurance will not provide coverage for risks involved in risk travel. If planning to travel to high-risk areas, having high-risk travel insurance is a must-have.
High-risk travel insurance is a type of travel insurance that is tailored towards high-risk destinations or activities. As such, it may not be offered by your regular insurer, rather, insurers who specialize in high-risk travel insurance. The insurance provider must have experience, local contacts and resources to assist you in a potentially hostile or remote environment.
Why do you need high-risk travel insurance in Canada?
- Your Canadian health insurance will not pay your medical costs for illnesses that occur while outside the country
- Your territorial or provincial health plan will not cater for costs that result from high-risk activities or locations
- You may not afford treatment from foreign hospitals. And even if you do, the cost of the treatments can cripple your finances
- Some foreign hospitals may deny you treatment if you do not have sufficient insurance
- Your regular insurance may exclude coverage for certain high-risk destinations or activities
Who needs high-risk travel insurance?
High-risk travel insurance is tailored for different types of travellers who want to engage in risky leisure activities or persons travelling to locations where insurance coverage is not provided by regular insurance providers.
Persons travelling to war-prone locations- Most domestic insurance policies exclude war-related occurrences such as civil unrest, riots and terrorism.
- You want high-risk travel accident insurance- High-risk travel accident insurance provides coverage for dismemberment or accidental death that is caused by perils not covered under regular travel insurance policies. For instance, accidents can occur during the travel period arising from terrorism, war, chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons.
- You suffer from difficult to insure medical conditions- Travellers suffering from serious and hard to manage medical conditions often face exclusions on the medical condition. In most cases, this leaves them with two options: to cancel the travel or risk travelling with the medical condition, uninsured. While you can purchase high-risk travel insurance to cater for a serious medical condition, the premiums will be higher given the risk.
- Travellers who want to engage in risky sports activities- You may be looking for some thrill and adrenaline rush. However, most insurers do not provide coverage for high-risk sports activities. If you want to partake in sports such as rock climbing, hang gliding, bungee jumping or scuba diving, you are better off purchasing high-risk travel insurance for maximum coverage.
- Persons travelling to areas where the Canadian government advises against travel- If you are travelling to challenging, dangerous or remote locations globally where the government has advised against travel, then you need high-risk travel insurance. This includes locations experiencing different kinds of crises and disasters such as floods and earthquakes.
- Persons engaged in high-risk occupations- Various work trips or businesses such as humanitarian aid, journalism, conservation, disaster or relief work, religious works, voluntary, charitable programmes, educational travel and non-governmental organizations may need high-risk travel insurance.
- Individuals embedded with governmental, military or non-governmental organizations- This also includes related use of aircraft and vehicles.
What coverage is provided in high-risk insurance plans?
While high-risk travel insurance coverage differs with insurers, here are some coverages that you should be on the lookout for.
- Baggage loss or delay- Travelling to new and risky areas means that you are at risk of losing your personal items. And that can include vital documents or even work equipment. This is one of the coverages that you should be on the lookout for when purchasing high-risk travel insurance.
- Emergency medical evacuation- Your high-risk travel insurer should be well versed with the travel location. This means that you should get medical help or evacuation with ease.
- Repatriation in case of death- Most high-risk travel insurance provides coverage for repatriation of a person’s remains to Canada
- High-risk sports activities- If you plan on engaging in high-risk sports activities, ensure that it is one of the coverages provided by the insurer.
- Emergency medical assistance which may include emergency air ambulance
- Personal accident, legal cover and personal liability coverage
- Natural and political disasters
- Mugging, piracy and hijacking
Factors to consider before purchasing high-risk travel insurance
Most travellers often get unpleasant surprises when making a claim. As such, you need to ensure that you only get the best travel insurance coverage, more so when it comes to high-risk travel insurance. Here’s how you can avoid those unpleasant surprises on your high-risk travel insurance.
- Get clarification on the coverage provided- It would be pointless to purchase high-risk travel insurance that does not provide coverage for risky sports activities if you intend to scuba dive the entire trip. It is very important (and we can’t stress this enough) to get clarification and the coverage provided.
- Is there a deductible? While a deductible can reduce the amount of your premiums, it can be difficult to get compensation especially when you are unable to raise the deductible amount. Ensure you get clarification from your insurer on whether you will be required to pay a deductible when making a claim, and how much the deductible amount is.
- What are the limitations and exclusions? Purchasing high-risk insurance does not give you leeway for all high-risk activities. You will find exclusions and limitations on your coverage, despite it being a high-risk travel plan. For instance, your insurance coverage may limit you from visiting certain countries or participating in selected activities.
- Can the coverage be renewed when abroad? Most often, you may not make it in time to renew your coverage in Canada. Ensure you get clarification on whether the insurance can be renewed abroad as well as the maximum period of the stay covered.
- Your budget- High-risk travel insurance is costly. If the cost of the insurance surpasses your budget by a significant amount, you can opt out of any unnecessary high-risk activities.
However, you may not have an option, especially if travelling to high-risk destinations. To save up on the cost of the insurance, shop around for more affordable plans in the market while comparing the price and the coverage provided.