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5 good reasons to have travel insurance

March 1, 2023

Why should you purchase travel insurance? Whether you're going to another province or another country, as you count down to the big day, maybe you're wondering whether travel insurance is really worth it.

Here are five good reasons to purchase travel insurance so you can head off worry-free, wherever you decide to go.

1.  Keep your money in your pocket if you have a medical emergency abroad 

If you have a medical issue or accident while travelling, unfortunately you might find yourself somewhere that definitely wasn't part of your itinerary, like a hospital or urgent care clinic.

In many countries, medical bills can mount up quickly, and the Quebec and Ontario provincial health plans only cover a fraction of the cost. Whether you're travelling for several weeks or just taking a very short trip, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that you can use your Emergency Health Care coverage if you have an accident or medical issue. Anyone can get indigestion, food poisoning, a horrible flu, or a sprain during a hike. 

Your provincial health insurance won't cover you fully when you're abroad

A 3-day hospital stay in the United States, for example, following a heart attack, could cost about $200,000, excluding doctors'fees1. Since provincial health insurance covers only a small portion of the cost, – $100 per day of hospitalization in Quebec1, this unexpected event could cut most of your travel budget!

Be careful of pre-existing conditions

Since travel insurance only covers sudden and unforeseen events, you may not be covered for an injury or medical condition you were suffering from before the date you purchased this coverage. So it's important to tell your insurer about any unstable pre-existing conditions when you purchase your travel insurance.

Do you travel for several months a year?

If you're a snowbird or nomad, you should know that your government health insurance plan doesn't cover you if you spend more than 182 days (Quebec) or 212 days (Ontario) a year outside your home province. Check your travel dates to see if this applies to you.

2. Take part in activities and sports without worrying 

Sometimes, your travels will take you to places where there are new activities and dangerous sports to try. Are you the kind of person that can't sit still and often gets tempted by the thrill of these new experiences?

Your travel insurance generally covers several activities that can take your trip to the next level, including jet skiing, snorkelling, and riding a camel or an elephant.

However, you should know that certain activities that you might want to try out aren't covered abroad, including ziplining, parachuting and bungee jumping.

Are you renting a car abroad?

Your auto insurance may cover you if you're renting a car in Canada or the United States. However, if you're renting a car somewhere else, you'll need to purchase additional insurance. Some credit cards include auto rental collision and loss damage insurance that may protect you in the event of an accident. Contact your auto insurance company or credit card provider for more information.

3. Protect your baggage and your souvenirs

Stolen or damaged baggage, or realizing your suitcase decided to get on a different flight—whichever direction you're travelling—can be unsettling and annoying.

With Baggage insurance, you could receive a benefit if your baggage is stolen, or lost or delayed by your airline. If your baggage is delayed more than six hours, your travel insurance may reimburse the cost of any basic necessities, so you can still enjoy the start of your trip.

Has your passport been stolen during your trip? Your travel insurance may cover the cost of replacing a passport, visa, driver's licence or birth certificate.  


4.   Cover any trip cancellation or interruption expenses

When we decide to spread our wings and discover other parts of the world, we want to make sure that we feel safe during our trip and take full advantage of our time abroad.

However, unexpected situations can arise before or during a trip, and Trip Cancellation insurance gives you the option to put that dream vacation on hold for another day. Trip Cancellation insurance covers expenses incurred due to a variety of situations, including if you get severely injured, if you lose your job or severe weather delays your flight.

However, there are limitations and exclusions, including but not limited to if you and your partner split up before your trip, if your boss won't give you the time off or if the forecast is calling for bad weather. Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance covers the unused portion of your trip if you need to cut it short and some additional expenses resulting from your unexpected return.

Emergency Return Trip insurance is particularly useful for snowbirds or other fans of extended trips. Available as an add-on when you purchase Emergency Health Care coverage, it may cover non-refundable transportation expenses you've already paid if you have to make an urgent trip home.

Be aware of Canadian government travel advisories

Check the Travel advice and advisories by destination page regularly if an "Avoid all travel" advisory has been issued for your destination. If this happens, the cost of cancelling your trip may be covered, as long as you paid for it before the advisory was issued. 

5. Benefit from an Assistance Service before and during your trip

Free and available at all times, the telephone assistance service offered by insurance companies provides support and advice at every stage of your trip. That means you can:

  • Get practical information and recommendations before you leave about precautions to take, and passport, visa and vaccination requirements in the countries you're visiting;
  • Receive assistance with lost or stolen baggage, or in the event of any legal issues;
  • Get help in the event of a medical issue, including directions to a healthcare facility, test results and repatriation to your home town.  

What should you do if you have an accident or medical issue abroad?

If a medical emergency occurs, you should contact your insurance company's travel assistance service as quickly as possible if you're able to do so, before you go to a hospital or clinic. The telephone agent will be able to direct you to a nearby healthcare facility. 

So why is it so important to purchase travel insurance?

Travel insurance protects you from the unexpected. You can head off on vacation with peace of mind and make the most of your trip without worrying about paying for expensive medical treatment. 

Pack some knowledge

  • To make sure you're not paying twice for the same coverage, take the time to check whether your credit card or group insurance plan includes travel insurance. Add on some à la carte coverage such as Baggage or Trip Cancellation if you need to.
  • Is the country you want to visit too dangerous to be covered by travel insurance? Get the latest information on the federal government's Travel advice and advisories by destination web page.
  •  When should you purchase travel insurance? When you purchase a trip, it's recommended to purchase travel insurance immediately, especially trip cancellation insurance. You can also purchase it later as long as you haven't already left your home province.
  •  Do you travel every year? With Multi-Trip Annual Insurance, travel as often as you want with a single annual insurance policy.

1 Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec, Is healthcare received outside Canada covered? | Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) (

Travel insurance is manufactured by Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company. Desjardins®, Desjardins Insurance®, all trademarks containing the word Desjardins, as well as related logos are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.