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Most of us say no thank you to the extra cost of travel insurance, feeling invincible before departing on a well-earned time away from work. But let’s put aside the burgeoning excitement of the coming holiday and consider whether additional coverage is needed.

First, check what travel insurance you currently have, whether it’s an existing insurance policy from work or through a credit card and learn what’s detailed in your policy. Extended medical coverage, trip cancellation, trip interruption or baggage insurance for lost, stolen or delayed luggage (including contents such as electronics, sports equipment or jewellery) are typically not included in basic travel insurance policies. If you’re a frequent traveller, consider getting a policy that covers multiple trips instead of paying per trip.

Bragging about our health-care system to our southern neighbours doesn’t get us very far when we’re visiting the United States or any other country in the world – coverage ends at the 49th parallel. With no insurance, foreign hospitals will ask for payment before any medical treatment and may ask for cash. If you’re a traveller with pre-existing health issues, speak to your doctor before heading off on your trip and have details in writing in regards to prescriptions or possible treatments that could be required.

And if you think that you’re covered while travelling in Canada, think again. Travelling within our borders doesn’t guarantee the same health-insurance coverage as being in your home province or territory. Read the fine print of your provincial or territorial health-care provider when it comes to travel, all which have information posted online.

Travel insurance can also be a lifesaver when a holiday has to be postponed, when Mother Nature’s wrath happens (think earthquake, storms or wildfires) or unforeseen situations occur, such as a terrorist attack or the spread of the new coronavirus. Trip-cancellation or trip-interruption insurance will help recover costs, just don’t assume or expect every penny you’ve spent will be refunded.

Special note to adrenaline junkies who like to indulge or try an extreme sport: Participation in those activities may not be covered by travel insurance.

My advice: Ask questions, pay a little more for peace of mind before your next jaunt and carry copies of your travel insurance, complete with emergency contacts, with other precious documents.

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