Travel Insurance – Navigate the Landmines

Travel Insurance… you do not want to leave home without it!

Manulife Financial offers good coverage and many different options. You can purchase simple emergency medical coverage or cancelation coverage. You can purcahse a plan that allows you to leave the country many times during the year.

There are many misconceptions about this deceptively complex type of insurance. For many, it provides a peace of mind, for others it can actually be the cause of financial ruin.

I would strongly recommend AGAINST purchasing any travel insurance online, without speaking to an actual human being (IE: an agent).

For starters- travel websites such as Travelocity, Hotwire, Expedia, etc will offer a package underwritten by a licensed life insurer, but as the middleman in the equation, will charge an extra premium for their “referral”. They actually don’t do anything but host the robot-app, and as I explain below- this can have some MAJOR consequences.

Secondly, by filling out the application without any assistance, it most often means skimming through fine print.

This is the dangerous part.

Every travel insurance policy will have a window prior to travelling called the “stability period”. An applicant with a pre-existing condition that is NOT STABLE prior to leaving (within the stability period), will be declined if a claim is made while on vacation, if the root of the problem were to stem from said pre-existing condition.

Sounds fair?

Here is the scary part:

Say your stability period on the plan was a full 12 months prior to travelling. Six months prior to going on vacation (and long before you even take out the plan or even book the trip), you go to the doctor and he/she alters your prescription for blood pressure or cholesterol medication.

“Alters” =  a reduction, an increase, changing the brands, or even taking you completely off them!

Now, fast forward six months to that vacation in Mexico, the USA, Europe… Asia- you are enjoying your trip with the “Peace of mind” the coverage is inforce. Then suddenly, you suffer a heart attack and are rushed to the emergency room.

Luckily you survive, however the doctors have insisted you stay under care for another full week as they had to perform open heart surgery and fix the blockage.

You finally leave with several hundred thousand dollars in medical bills, but not to worry right? the travel insurer will be paying the bill and everything will be fine, right?


Insurers would consider the change in your heart medication occurring within the stability period means that any claim resulting from or relating to the heart, will be denied!

And yes, that includes cholesterol AND blood pressure meds.

Another thing to be extremely careful with (especially with those over the age of 60) are the application questions. They can be worded awkwardly. They are as dry as an appliance warranty. Answering any of these incorrectly, will VOID your plan as well!

Travel Insurance can be excellent coverage, but there are landmines to navigate. please be careful, and call a professional for help- you’ll save money on premiums, and have the coverage you need.

For a free quote, please contact Arthur Guest 1-877-830-7000 or fill out a quote form online