**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BMO Insurance. All opinions are my own.

Canadians enjoy a world-class public health care system that provides for many of our health related needs with one notable exception: your Canadian health insurance is limited outside of your home province and once you travel out of the country. That’s why if you plan to go abroad, even on a day trip to the United States, the federal government strongly recommends you purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada.

Out of country medical services can be extremely costly. Emergency evacuation, dental services or even prolonged hospital visits could end up costing you thousands of dollars in the event of an accident.

Travel Medical Coverage

Here are some of the coverage options that are available to you when travelling:

Medical Coverage: This basic coverage generally includes trips to the hospital, emergency dental work, doctor’s visits, emergency evacuation, flying a relative to your bedside and more.

Trip Cancellation: This added coverage lets you cancel your trip and get some or all of your money back. Every policy is different but a trip can be cancelled for a variety of reasons such as: you change your mind, get sick or have important work commitments. The trip cancellation premium charged to the purchaser is usually a percentage of the total trip cost.

Lost or Stolen Baggage: For even more coverage, you can insure your belongings against theft or loss. This coverage is usually capped at a certain dollar value so if you lose a $5,000 watch you will maybe receive $500. Again, this varies by policy.

Now that you know some of the options, it should be clear that medical coverage is the most important of the three as a trip can always be rescheduled and lost or stolen items can easily be replaced, but your health and well-being cannot!

So why don’t more Canadians purchase travel medical insurance when they travel?

It’s possible that some travellers assume that travel medical insurance is costly, but there are packages available at a reasonable price. BMO Insurance offers an annual medical plan that covers up to $5 million per insured person for medical emergencies while travelling. This is a convenient option for those who make multiple trips throughout the year and an annual plan is often less than the cost of two single trip plans.

As always, your mileage may vary so read any policy for the fine details.

Travel Medical Coverage: Don't Leave Home Without It

When you travel, there’s a good chance are you are going to a place that you are unfamiliar with. Unfamiliar places may bring their own dangers and pitfalls.

Many of our readers are avid travellers and would never go on a trip without purchasing travel medical coverage. In fact, some readers have shared with me the need to use it on a few occasions!

One reader, Andrew, had to see a doctor in Australia when his ear became plugged with sand due to swimming in rough surf.

Another reader, Julie, injured herself jumping off a waterfall in Costa Rica. Turns out she sprained a joint in her back, which was determined after a visit to a clinic for x-rays and a visit with a doctor.

Finally, at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, Marc tripped and fell on some stairs (he says no alcohol was involved!) and partially tore a tendon in his hand, which required medical attention.

As you can see both seemingly benign activities and more adventurous ones can lead to requiring medical attention. Don’t be stuck paying out of your own pocket for treatment.

Be sure to check your credit card to see if you receive travel medical coverage. Many premium credit cards include this as a feature for short duration trips. Also, if you are travelling for business your employer most likely covers you under their insurance plan. This should be verified of course.

In closing, always remember to have travel medical insurance coverage when travelling outside of the country. ALWAYS read the fine print for any policy in order to know what’s covered, what isn’t and what to do in case of emergency.

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