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The hidden risks of relying on credit card insurance while travelling

Why you need more than credit card insurance for your next vacation

The travel industry is experiencing a revival as travel numbers bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, and air travel and exploration are back on the calendar for most Canadians after years of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. While it appears that nearly everyone is eager to board a plane for a much-needed escape, the expenses associated with travel remain steep, and the unfortunate reality of airline delays, cancellations—and snafus you see in the news—persist. 

In the current economic climate, taking chances with your hard-earned vacation, which likely required significant saving and planning, is not advisable. If you are part of the 33% of Canadian travellers relying solely on their credit card provider for travel insurance, keep reading. You could unknowingly be gambling with that well-deserved getaway you've been eagerly counting down the days for. 

In this article, we will look at the pitfalls of depending on credit cards and your Canadian government health insurance coverage while journeying abroad—and show you how to protect yourself fully—while staying on budget. 

Understand Your Credit Card’s Travel Insurance Limitations 

The extent of coverage depends on the specific card, and contrary to what many people think, it may fall short. Suzanne Morrow, CEO of InsureMyTrip, explains that credit card coverage is frequently restricted to expenses directly paid for with that card and may only address fundamental issues that could arise before or during your journey. 

“Even if your credit card offers trip protection, it may not be the level of protection you would expect,” says Morrow. “It’s important to carefully read the credit card travel insurance documents to understand limits, special conditions, and restrictions.” She also notes that credit cards often have lower limits than a robust third-party travel insurance plan. 

Why Local Health Coverage Falls Short During Travel 

Just as relying on your credit card for travel insurance can lead to surprises, assuming your Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) will suffice while travelling abroad can become a costly and frustrating oversight. 

“Canadian government health insurance will likely not cover you for medical expenses while you’re travelling abroad—and may be limited when travelling outside your province,” says Morrow. “If you become unexpectedly injured or ill while travelling out of Canada, you will have to pay for those medical bills out of pocket—unless you have travel medical insurance. You will likely find that the limits on travel medical coverage are often lower through a credit card than through a third-party, like InsureMyTrip.” 

All-Inclusive Insurance: The Ultimate Peace of Mind for Travel 

Instead of piecemealing your trip insurance and medical coverage together and crossing your fingers in the hopes of interruption-free vacationing, put your mind at ease with all-inclusive travel insurance, which offers coverage for emergency medical expenses, medical evacuation, baggage loss and delay, and trip cancellation and interruption, all under one policy. And contrary to what many assume, it doesn’t have to be costly. 

“As with any purchase, it’s important to shop around and compare,” explains Morrow. “And InsureMyTrip allows travellers to comparison shop for providers and policies—to find the best one for them and their trip at a price in their budget. Regarding all-inclusive plans, these offer the most bang for your buck.  

A third-party plan like InsureMyTrip can also include “cancel for any reason” benefits, which allows more flexibility if you must cancel your trip for a reason other than a covered one. “This benefit typically reimburses up to 50% of the covered trip cost, allowing you to recoup a good portion of your trip cost if you decide not to travel,” says Morrow. 

The Takeaway  

Relying solely on credit card or local health coverage while travelling abroad can leave you vulnerable to unexpected expenses and limitations. InsureMyTrip offers a solution by providing all-inclusive travel insurance that covers a range of potential issues, ensuring peace of mind and protection without breaking the bank.  

By understanding the limitations of credit cards and local health coverage and opting for a robust third-party plan, you can jet off on a well-deserved getaway with excitement and confidence, knowing you are fully protected.