When it comes to travel insurance, as with any insurance, it’s a good idea to shop around. No, it’s not the most exciting part of planning for a trip, but it’s a must. Looking for the most affordable insurance? Here are our tips for saving money without sacrificing quality.
1. Before you buy, make sure you aren’t already insured
It’s common sense! Your group insurance policy or the one included with your credit card might already provide all the coverage you need for your trip. Two insurance contracts cost more money, and you won’t be allowed to file two claims if ever there’s a problem!
Don’t tick the “travel insurance” box on your checklist too soon, though! You need to make sure your existing policy provides sufficient coverage. Read our article on the things to check if you have a travel insurance policy from your credit card provider..
2. Choose an annual plan
Are you the prudent type who systematically takes out travel insurance every time you go on a trip? Excellent! If you go abroad several times a year, though, you’re probably better off buying annual travel insurance.
This option, also called multi-trip insurance, is often very beneficial. You have one contract covering the whole year, so you only have to go through the purchase process once. You don’t need to contact your insurer again before every departure. You can also choose from various maximum lengths of stay. Best of all, after a few trips—only two in the case of CAA-Quebec Annual Travel Insurance—you start saving money.
Another tip: choose automatic renewal of your policy. This way, there’s no danger of forgetting to renew. You probably already do the same for your auto and home insurance, so why not for your travel insurance?
Important points to remember about annual travel insurance
- Annual travel insurance generally isn’t available to older travellers, for example those over 80. If you’re in that age group, you’ll need to take out a separate policy for each trip.
- Pay careful attention to the exclusions relating to pre-existing conditions. In principle, you won’t need to contact your insurer before every trip, but if your health condition changes during the contract period, you must inform them. This way, you can make sure your coverage is still valid.
3. Purchase your travel insurance before your birthday
Certain age thresholds result in significant premium increases for travel insurance. After your 55th and 60th birthdays, you could see a significant price jump. So if you purchase coverage before your birthday, you’ll get a better price.
4. Ask about discounts for bundled products
It’s the same principle as when you combine your auto and home insurance: if you already have one policy with a given company, there’s a good chance they’ll give you a discount on the second. CAA-Quebec health insurance policyholders, for example, can save when they add travel insurance.
5. Consider a family premium
Many insurers cover emergency medical care for dependent children free of charge. With CAA-Quebec Travel Insurance, for example, in the case of a family of four or more, only the two adults pay a premium. For a single-parent family, the premium amount is calculated only for the parent and the eldest child. This can save you a lot of money—which you can spend on the many souvenirs that your kids will want to bring home!
6. Group insurance means strength in numbers
Let’s say your best friend and her partner are off to say “I do!” on a tropical beach, and you’re invited. You can take advantage of the fact that a bunch of you will be travelling to ask for a group discount on your insurance. Sometimes the same type of discount is offered for trips such as group tours and cruises sold through a travel agency, even if the members of the group don’t know each other.
CAA-Quebec Travel Insurance offers a 10% discount to groups of ten people or more and to customers who purchase a cruise or tour from the CAA-Quebec Travel explore collection.
7. Ask for a discount for your travelling companion or grandchildren
A discount may also be available for the person or persons travelling with you. Are you spending the winter in Florida with your spouse or a friend? Will your grandchildren be visiting for a couple of weeks? You should be able to get a discount, which they’ll apply to their premium—and they’ll thank you for your generosity!
8. Add a deductible to your travel insurance
A travel insurance deductible works the same way as for auto insurance: if you make a claim, you pay part of the expense that’s covered by your policy, and the insurance takes care of the rest. In return, you get a discount on your premium, calculated based on the deductible amount you choose. You can save as much as 35%!
This option can be attractive if your premium is fairly high. It’s far less advantageous, however, if you simply want to save a few dollars or you wouldn’t be able to afford the deductible amount if you had to make a claim (in this case, your bill for medical care would be much higher than the amount saved!).
9. Buy insurance for travel within Canada only, if you won’t be leaving the country
For an insurer, someone travelling within Canada is less of a risk than someone travelling elsewhere in the world: for example, healthcare costs here at home are much lower than in the U.S., the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec reimburses a portion, etc. The cost to the insurer for a Quebecer who falls ill in Ontario will therefore be less than that for another Quebecer in the same situation, but who is vacationing in Maine.
This is why an insurer will offer a lower price for insurance covering emergency medical care in Canada only. You might also be able to get baggage insurance as well as trip cancellation and interruption coverage added on for next to nothing!
Remember: for travel within Canada, you should always get insurance. Not convinced? Read our Tips & Tricks instalment on the subject.
10. Keep an eye out for “buy before” offers
You can easily buy travel insurance in advance, especially if the discount is available for purchase before a specific date. This will also protect you from any sudden increase in premiums.
What if you decide not to travel? As long as your coverage is not yet in force, you can generally cancel the insurance and get your money back. If your contract includes trip cancellation insurance, however, you won’t be eligible for a refund.