Your travel itinerary has been confirmed, packing lists have been printed, and your family is beyond excited to enjoy some quality time together in a few days or weeks.
You probably spent a lot of time planning your family vacation, but there could be one big thing that you completely forgot about.
Maybe you’ve heard travel insurance is a waste of money – I’ll admit at one point in my life, I used to think this way too. Perhaps you don’t want to spend hours researching and reading about all the different coverage plans out there. It certainly is time consuming, but you shouldn’t skip this step.
While Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada says all Canadians travelling abroad should purchase travel insurance (even if it’s just for a day), the decision is a personal one.
Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself to determine if a travel insurance plan is right for your family.
Why Do I Even Need Family Travel Insurance?
Many people might think that travel insurance for a family vacation isn’t necessary. If something goes wrong on your trip, you have regular insurance and a credit card. Those should be enough to cover you right? Not always.
There are certain instances where having family travel insurance is better than your regular insurance or a credit card.
Medical Emergencies – This is the biggest reason to get family travel insurance, especially if you are traveling outside of Canada. Hopefully, no one in your family will get sick or hurt on your trip, but if they do, your regular health insurance plan might not cover doctor fees or the cost of medical services. Travel insurance can help you get the treatment you need no matter where you are.
Rental Problems or Damage – If you choose to stay at a rental home during your trip and it has been damaged or destroyed, travel insurance can help you recover the money that you paid to use that facility. Also, if you’re renting a car while on vacation and it is stolen or damaged, travel insurance can help cover those losses.
Advice, Help, and Lost Luggage – Depending on where you get your travel insurance from, if your luggage is lost or delayed your insurance can help you cover the cost of what you need to purchase to replace the lost items. Also, if you need any help while on your family vacation, you can contact your travel insurance agent and they can assist you. That can be a great peace of mind when you are in a new place with your family.
Many people believe that their credit cards will cover emergencies while they travel. Unfortunately, most credit cards only offer coverage on travel expenses that were charged to that card and rarely do they cover travel delays, cancellations or emergency medical coverage. Call your credit card company to find out what exactly they cover.
What Happens If My Flight is Delayed or Cancelled?
One common misconception is that airlines will reimburse hotel costs for delayed or cancelled flights. There’s a chance they might reimburse you for your missed hotel stay but having experienced this several times already, this is very rare. The airline’s only responsibility is to get your family to your destination on its next available flight.
Many travel insurance plans include trip cancellation and interruption coverage so if your flight gets delayed or cancelled, and you lose a night at a hotel, you’re covered for the financial loss.
What Type of Coverage Do We Need?
There isn’t one family travel insurance plan that fits everyone’s needs. There are different kinds of coverage that you can purchase to make sure that whatever situation you might face you are covered. You can get medical coverage for any kind of emergency that you might encounter on your trip, including injury or sudden illness. If anything goes wrong with your trip, you can also purchase trip cancellation or interruption insurance.
If for some reason you and your family have to cancel the trip your travel insurance can cover all pre-paid costs. If you have to cut your trip short, insurance can help reimburse unused trip costs. There are many different plans to fit each family’s needs while they are on vacation.
How Expensive Is Family Travel Insurance?
You might be thinking that family travel insurance sounds like a good idea, but it probably costs a lot of money. The cost of your plan is going to come down to what type of coverage and policy you decide to purchase.
Generally speaking, travel insurance policies are going to cost anywhere from 4 to 8% of the total cost of your trip. If you want to have the maximum amount of coverage and protection in your plan you can pay up to 12% of your total trip cost. Less comprehensive plans will be on the lower end of 3 to 4%.
If your family is planning to travel several times over the course of 12 months then a multi-trip annual travel policy might work out to be cheaper than buying policies separately.
Go over all of your trip details and try to figure out the variables that will cause any problem for you on your vacation. Shop around and read policy details carefully before purchasing.
My personal recommendation is to search on Kanetix – a website that compares travel insurance from Canada’s top providers after providing some information about your trip – travel dates, ages of family members, travel destination, travel cost etc.
Is It Too Late to Purchase Travel Insurance?
It is a good idea to get your family travel insurance well in advance before leaving for your trip. But if you have left it until the last second, you might not be totally out of luck. Some travel insurance companies will let you purchase insurance up until the day before you start traveling.
There are a few companies that will let you purchase your family insurance the day you leave, but that is not recommended as most travel insurance policies can take a few days to take effect. The earlier you buy your policy the better you will be protected. This is especially true for coverage of trip cancellation policies.
If you want to make sure that you get all of your money back for a cancelled trip you will want to get your family travel insurance policy as soon as possible.
Should I Buy Travel Insurance for My Family Vacation?
This is a difficult question to answer as the decision to purchase or skip it is a personal one. Vacations can be expensive and buying a travel insurance policy is a way to protect your family’s well-being and the financial investment you’re making in your family vacation.
For more information about travel insurance and the different options available for you and your family, check out Kanetix.ca
*This post was written in partnership with Kanetix and images and opinions shared above are my own.
Have You Read These?
Kelly D says
Great advice! Thanks!