Don't let travel mishaps ruin your vacation

Carrie RussellMy husband and I took our children on a family vacation to Mexico last year. But an hour into the flight, we realized my son's cold was getting much worse. Our resort recommended an excellent doctor who diagnosed my son with strep throat and prescribed an extensive, but expensive, schedule of antibiotics.

Getting sick or injured when you're away from home isn't only bad timing, it can be very expensive. What many Canadians don't realize is that your provincial health coverage may not cover you for medical expenses outside of your province and outof- country hospital bills can add up fast. A visit to the emergency room in the U.S. costs approximately $1,000 and the average hospital stay costs $10,000. Thankfully, we had invested in good travel insurance which covered all the medical bills. Here are my top tips to ensure you're insured on your vacations:
1. Insurance Insurance features you shouldn't skimp on

One of the most important things you should look for in a policy is 24/7 assistance. Make sure you choose a policy that offers coverage for any expenses if you need to be flown home for medical care.

2.Look out for hidden clauses

Review your policy so you understand what you're covered for, especially when it comes to pre-existing conditions and limitations. For example, if you are pregnant and planning to travel, your policy may only provide coverage up to a certain stage in your pregnancy. Another thing to look out for is whether your policy has a deductible, which is an amount you would have to pay towards the cost of any single claim.

3. Check all your holiday activities are covered

Activities that may not be covered under a regular policy include things like parasailing, bungee jumping or mountaineering. If you're planning any risky activities, it's worth checking your insurance policy before you leave, and taking that into consideration before you take the plunge.

4. Consider an annual policy

If you travel frequently or have kids, do your research as an annual policy may be a more convenient and affordable option. If it makes sense for your situation, look for a plan that can provide emergency medical insurance for the whole family for multiple trips, plus trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.

Accidents never take a vacation, so it's important to invest in quality travel medical insurance to protect you and your family from unexpected expenses and unwanted headaches when you're on vacation in Canada or abroad.

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Carrie Russell works for TD Canada Trust and has over 20 years experience in financial services .