Consulting a doctor abroad

18 April 2017

When traveling, you want to visit lots of places… except the doctor’s office! But events shape the adventure and sometimes you can get ill on the road. Whatever the cause, you must always be prepared to handle any health problems abroad.

Before consulting a doctor

Call your insurance company if you are able to do so and ask them to refer you to a hospital or international clinic near you. You’re insured and the recommended locations meet Western standards. In addition, some medical centers are connected directly with the insurance companies and could prevent you from having to pay for medical expenses. If you are not able to call your insurance company, ask at the clinic where you are admitted to make an agreement with your insurer by giving them a copy of your insurance certificate.

Be careful if you are offered to visit the doctor at the hotel where you reside. You must make sure it is professional and not the shaman of the village. Insist on going to a recognized medical center.

Beware of anyone who offers you drugs to relieve yourself without being a doctor or a qualified pharmacist, including other travelers. Although people mean well, they lack the skills to diagnose you. Seemingly innocuous medication such as Advil or Aspirin can have adverse effects on your health and even dangerous in case of dengue (tropical fever), for example.

Make sure that you go to walk-in clinic or accept emergency treatment.

Prepare a list of your symptoms in order of their appearance. Note also the duration of each symptom. (For example, I had a fever for 24 hours, followed by mild vomiting which has intensified, etc.)

If you do not speak the language, try to find a “friend” who speaks the local language to accompany you. You can gently ask someone who works at the hotel where you stay to go with you to the clinic. If this is not possible, bring a dictionary or a translation phone app with you.

During the consultation with the doctor

Inform the doctor or pharmacist abroad of the medications that you take regularly (ideally, bring them with you to show him the names on the labels.)

Do not forget to mention your allergies. If you have significant allergies, you can prepare a list in advance with a translation of your list of allergies in the language of the country you visit.

Remember that the doctor you visit abroad has no access to your medical history, it is your responsibility to make them aware of your medical history.

Pay attention to medications that you are prescribed. Make sure you understand the reason for each drug. Ask the professional to repeat and take notes if necessary.

After seeing the doctor

Always keep your receipts for medical treatment and medicines. These will be crucial documents to accompany your claim.

Request a second opinion if an operation or surgery is recommended and if your situation allows. Call your insurance company to ensure that this operation will be covered.

Contact your family doctor by phone or a doctor from your country in case of doubt of treatment.

Finish your treatment in full even if you feel better. Some people stop taking antibiotics as soon as the symptoms disappear. The bacteria that fights you may be active in your body and could come back stronger than ever. Strictly follow the treatment dose you start.

To speed your recovery
, settle down in a comfortable place, even change hostel and pay a little more for somewhere clean, airy and accommodation with air conditioning, example.

You have to put the odds on your side and create a relaxing and familiar environment. Remain hydrated by drinking water and trying to take your mind off it by reading a novel or watching a film. Wash your hands regularly so as not to contaminate you again or catch another disease. It is important not to be stressed or to go read horror stories on the Internet. Sometimes talking to relatives at home can be comforting. Remain positive and return and consult a doctor if necessary.

By following these rules, you maximize the chances of receiving quality medical consultation abroad
and being ready to continue your journey. After all, you’re not the first person to fall ill while traveling, it will pass!

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Smartphone or Camera? What to Bring While Travelling?

20 February 2017

When preparing for a trip, the question that will always arise is “what to bring?” It takes a wizard to nail down the perfect packing list without forgetting any of the essentials. Recently, it seems as though there is another great dilemma when it comes to travelling and it’s whether to pack a camera or can a smartphone do the job.

It would be an understatement to say that the use of smartphones has revolutionized the way we travel. From the palm of our hands, we have access to maps, foreign currency converters and translating tools, all while being connected from almost everywhere in the world. The most enticing features of smartphones is undoubtedly the camera which delivers spectacular photo quality. In that case, many would ask if it’s still necessary to bring a camera while travelling or can you achieve the same results, simply with a smartphone.

Factors to Consider Before Taking a Decision

1. The place visited: Some destinations are a lot more photogenic than others and the camera of a smartphone alone would not give justice to the beauty of the place. For instance, it would be highly recommended to use proper camera equipment to shoot the dancing colors of the Northern Lights in Iceland or tracking lions in the African savannah during a safari.
2. The space available: The growing popularity of low-cost airlines has forced many people to travel with only a carry-on (10 to 12 kg) in order to reduce the costs of checking in luggage. For amateur photographers, the weight limitation can be quite restrictive considering all the gear they need to bring like extra lenses, spare batteries and all the other camera accessories.
3. The purpose of the trip: For the majority of people, taking travel pictures is a great way to save memories and share those moments with friends and family at home. For some, photography is the main reason to travel. In such cases, different equipment will be required.

To facilitate the decision process, here is a list of pros and cons to using either a camera or a smartphone while travelling.

Camera—Pros:
• Unlimited storage space with the use of multiple memory cards
• Extended battery life
• Superior quality because of the options available in manual mode and the higher resolution
• Better capacity to take pictures in difficult environment such as low-light, action shots or distance shots

Camera—Cons:
• Slow learning curve before achieving satisfying results
• More cumbersome to use, which makes it less practical
• Requires another device in order to edit, transfer or share the pictures

Smartphone—Pros:
• Very user-friendly even for people with not photography skills
• Image quality good enough to be used on social media
• Possibility to edit directly from the device
• Small, light, accessible and almost always at hand’s reach
• Apps and accessories available to improve the performance of the camera function

Smartphone—Cons:
• No optical zoom and produces poorer results in difficult environment
• Limited image quality, especially for print
• Low battery life because the camera function requires a lot of power

The majority of travellers would agree that the camera of a smartphone is sufficient enough to capture decent quality travel pictures which will not be used professionally.

That being said, some will still prefer the convenience of travelling with a camera AND their smartphone. Maybe it is in fact, the best of both worlds. There is an appeal to being able to take a picture with your smartphone, edit it and share it instantly on social media and being able to use your camera for higher quality shots regardless of the surrounding environment.

As with any high-tech devices, like the latest generation of smartphones or the newest camera model, it is important to keep it safe while travelling. A simple clause to a travel insurance contract against theft, loss or damage can make a huge difference.

No matter the option selected whether it’s to pack a camera, a smartphone or even both, remember that it’s the person, not the gear, that makes a great photo.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Trekking: 7 key questions to prepare for your adventure

1 February 2017

Discover a country walk, it’s magic. Feel dwarfed in the vastness of the mountains, it is priceless. The hike takes you back to the basics, it’s good for the body and mind.

Good preparation is required for a hike, to limit the risks, whether for a day or for several weeks in the Himalayas. Here is a list of key questions that you should answer before the departure:

1. What are my motives?

We often forget to ask this simple question. What drives you to want to do this trek? It is important to clarify your goals and expectations. Are you seeking to simply relax in nature or perform a feat?

2. What are my skills?

It is important to be realistic and not too ambitious. Objectively establish a portrait of your situation. What is my physical condition? What are my skills and knowledge in trekking? One must be aware of their limitations; nobody is invincible. Good mental predisposition coupled with experience in the field can make all the difference to avoid dangerous situations.

3. What will the weather be?

What will the weather be in the country where you go on trek? You have to do research to get an idea of what Mother Nature will prepare for you. Will this be the rainy season? Will you be at high altitude? You have to inform yourself of the temperature difference between day and night. It is better to anticipate the weather and to adjust your equipment list as appropriate. Too much material, is as bad as not enough!

4. How long will my adventure be?

On average, an adult walks four kilometres per hour with a backpack of less than 8 kg. In the mountains, the altitude can affect this and significantly reduce the distance one can travel in a day. You must obviously consider the time you have and add a buffer before and after your hike. You do not want to end up running from the plane to begin a trek.

5. What is my budget?

The budget and the level of adventure you seek affect your decision to opt for a guided tour or independently. Guided hikes vary depending on the price you’re willing to pay, this may include porters and cooks. In contrast, trekking independently does not necessarily mean that you have to do it alone. It is also not recommended to go hiking alone. On classic trekking circuits, it is easy to meet other independent travelers and shelters are rallying places.

For the budget, it includes the means of transport to get to the start of the trek, plus accommodation, food and water supply.

Accommodation in a lodge versus camping will play on the price and the quantity of material to bring. If the chosen route is not a loop, and you can not go back on your steps, think of organizing a “pick up” (a means of transport for the return) and set a date and time.

6. What kind of equipment will I bring?

The backpack is central to transport all your equipment, you must choose a format suitable for the duration of your journey and make sure it is well adjusted. Lack of comfort when trekking is already ubiquitous, so make life much easier with convenient and comfortable equipment.

To quickly adapt to the weather, you can use the technique of “onion skins” that is to wear several layers of clothing. Ideally, you try to have one close to the body, a thermal layer and a protective layer.

Good walking boots are a strategic investment. They should be comfortable for you and respond to your needs (support, flexibility, ventilation, waterproofing …). Wear your new boots several times beforehand, it will save you from “breaking them in” on your hike.

If you go independently, choose carefully your sleeping bag, your means of navigation (GPS, compass, maps …) and practical items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a pocket knife and a headlamp.

7. Am I covered?

In addition to informing your relatives of your detailed itinerary, you should check with your travel insurance company that you are covered for all of your travel. A simple phone call will allow you to leave with peace of mind.

So, are you ready for adventure? Walking allows you to travel differently, either in the jungle or on mountaintops. Nothing is more impressive than the beauty of nature, but to admire it, we must prepare well to get there and back in one piece.

Article by Nomad Junkies team

Demystifying the concept of medical conditions

24 January 2017

Travel insurance is a protection against health expenses abroad following an accident or sudden illness. This is insurance that covers the person’s health. Insurance’s aim is to warn us of future hazards. Therefore, there are restrictions on the medical conditions for people wishing subscribe a travel insurance. The proper term would be to talk to medical eligibility.

What is a condition of medical eligibility?

To obtain travel insurance that will cover you with the benefits offered by the insurance contract, everyone must first meet certain criteria relating to their medical conditions.
A condition of medical eligibility is a health condition for which you have had to be hospitalized or operated, or any condition for which you are being treated by prescribed medication.

Each insurer decides on conditions that it does not want to accept or that it wants to accept under certain conditions (prior condition of health, degree of medical disorder, medical stability, etc.). All insurance policies operate according to a principle. What is not excluded or subject to restriction in the insurance contract, is covered.

Should one infer that one can not be perfectly covered (100%) if a medical condition afflicts them? The answer is no. However, the requirements can vary greatly depending on the age, duration of the trip or the medical condition itself.

What are the medical conditions subject to exclusion or restriction?

As stated above, each insurer sets its own rules. There are very frequent exclusions, that is, those that prevent us from taking out travel insurance:

  1. Your doctor advises you not to travel;
  2. You are suffering from a terminal illness;
  3. You are suffering from metastatic cancer or certain specific cancers (e.g., pancreatic cancer or liver cancer);
  4. You have kidney problems requiring dialysis;
  5. You suffer from respiratory problems requiring oxygen at home;
  6. You have HIV or AIDS;
  7. You are afflicted with some sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, etc.;
  8. Your state is considered as disabled*.

* Recently, some insurers refuse disabled people, that is to say the people who need the help of someone else for activities of daily living or to move.

These systematic exclusions are very common but again, should be reviewed with your travel insurance broker. Some insurers have a list that may differ with varying exclusions. There are also additional medical conditions that are found with one insurer and not with another.

What if one of these conditions affects them?

Now look at the positive side. Even with a medical condition, be it cardiac, pulmonary, diabetic or other, you may be covered if your condition is consistent with the stability required by the insurer. Stability is the time between your last treatment, the last change in medication or last follow-up investigation in relation to your subscription date or date of travel departure. Attention must be given to the definition of medical stability given by each insurer.

By cons, we must also understand that if you have more than two or three major conditions in your file, it is quite possible that you are refused to take out any insurance coverage. It can also impose a large deductible of $5,000 or more, in the case of consultation on all of your medical records on a specific condition or only in the case of hospitalization.

When you purchase travel insurance, it is important to give as much information as possible. Obviously, they will not consider an operation for appendicitis that is 20 years old or even the removal of gallstones after a long time. By cons, surgery to the cardiac system (bypass surgery, angioplasty, valve change, etc.) should always appear in the file, regardless of how long the intervention occurred.

This is where a representative in insurance against sickness or accident is a valuable guide to help you in preparing your travel insurance policy.

What medical information should I know before contacting my broker?

To help your broker to find you adequate travel insurance, it is very important

– To know your list of prescription drugs (all drugs listed on your medical record);

– Why you take them (it controls what);

– To have a calendar of important dates of operation, consultation or hospitalization for health problems such as cardiac, neurological, pulmonary, etc.

Example: Bypass surgery or angioplasty more than ten or twelve years old is regularly checked and even excluded for long-term trips.

If you can accurately provide answers to the three points mentioned above, you are putting every chance on your side. In case of hesitation, check with your doctor, because any error or omission makes the contract null and void in its entirety. A simple consultation for influenza on your trip abroad or in another province may be refused by the insurance. Indeed, if there is an error in your record, for cholesterol, high blood pressure or other, even though the wrong state of health is not the reason for the medical claim, you will not be refunded.

Intentionally or unintentionally omitting medical conditions in your file may lead to the refusal of any medical claims.
A good knowledge of the contract conditions and a good statement of your medical conditions are the guarantee of a serene journey!

7 Challenges to working abroad

16 December 2016

Regardless of your country of residence and regardless of the expatriation country, looking for work experience abroad consists of similar challenges. Unless you are assigned abroad by your employer or if you have been recruited remotely, seeking employment abroad is not easy. Those who go abroad to work should prepare for and address the following seven challenges:

1. Obtaining a visa or a work permit

The key element of work experience abroad is to have the legal right to work in the destination country. This prerequisite is acquired by means specific to each country. The procedures can be long and require the applicant’s patience and perseverance. Various types of documents are frequently required for a visa: police clearance certificate, medical certificate, copies of diplomas, criminal record etc.

For young people 18 to 30 years, permits which facilitate working holidays greatly reduce the time required for the precious document to work in a country other than their own. The Working Holiday Permit is a temporary immigration visa which is for those who come from a country which has signed WHP agreements with other nations.

2. Adapt your resume

Each country is characterized by its professional culture and the approach to individual skills and talents. A resume is not written in the same way from one country to another. All candidates will have to discover these codes and customs in order to prepare their resume properly. It must be written in the local language to demonstrate their employability. Since the traveler or expatriate will perhaps be having their first international experience, they will need to bring strong references. Get references from current and past employers prepared before leaving for work abroad. The documents attesting to school and university education, ideally with a translation in the local language are also important in the job search process.

3. Adjusting your salary expectations

The professional experience gained in your country of origin will not always be recognized at its true value. It is often recommended to favor obtaining a first experience locally rather than seeking the ideal position in salary and job description. When you start a new career path in your expatriation country, do not always keep your previous salary as a reference point. Indeed, the cost of living from one country to another strongly influences the level of remuneration. In addition, some professions may be undervalued relative to its country of origin. The reverse is also true. Salary claims are fixed by inquiring about the local market reality and seeking comparisons.

4. Recognition of qualifications

The education system can be very different in the destination country. Your level of education does not always correspond to a tangible reality in another labor market. Some countries offer services to help establish the local equivalence of diplomas. This does not always guarantee that employers will be receptive to it. For technical professions, it may be necessary to carry out an upgrade in a local college. The issue of recognition of qualifications must be addressed early in the expatriation process to be free from setbacks once there.

5. Know how to decrypt a job offer

Professional jargon is specific to an industry but also a country. Thus, the same profession will be addressed in another country from a different perspective with certain terms and concepts unfamiliar to home. It is recommended to read many job descriptions to incorporate local specificities. Moreover, a similar term can describe even a very different reality. When the expatriate is ready, they can meet people and ask them about the reality of their daily tasks. They should choose their words wisely to define the position sought. As a result, they can detect the employment opportunities that are not really suitable and make the job easier to match the idea that they have.

6. Networking and relying on word -to-mouth

Many job opportunities are not available through traditional channels (job advertisements). In some countries, job positions are filled by an informal approach, on the recommendation or cooptation. Getting closer to expatriates and participating in their community social events are an excellent way to build a network of contacts and discuss employment opportunities. Members of these communities have gone through the same difficulties as any newcomer has. They will be able to warn of the pitfalls and recommend ways to optimize the chances of landing your first job locally. Establishing a list of interesting companies for self and planning a spontaneous application with each one of them is also to be explored.

7. Reassure the future employer

After the first challenges have been faced, the first interviews are conducted. Here, the same criteria of skills, attitudes and behaviors that during a job search in your home country come into play. Abroad, with a greater or lesser mastery of the local language, the expatriate worker or a WHP traveler will deploy his talent to reassure his future employer. The latter will feel that the candidate understands the local reality and will be part of a team that does not know its culture. Rapid adaptation is the hallmark of a successful experience working abroad.

What to do in case of theft while traveling?

16 December 2016

You are on a trip to Bali with friends to start surfing, sunbathe on paradisiacal beaches and immerse yourself in the Indonesian culture. Returning to your hostel, you realize that the locker in your room, where you left your wallet, your laptop and your camera, was vandalized… The padlock was cut. Your valuables are gone!

How do you react? Where do you start in order to get your stolen items refunded? To avoid panicking unnecessarily, here’s what you need to do step-by-step in the event of a theft:

Procedure in case of theft

1. Stay calm. It is useless to let stress take over. While these are items that have significant monetary or sentimental value, you have to keep your calm and focus on the positive. After all, your life is not in danger, and you did well to have subscribed to a travel insurance.
2. Check that it is theft. Sometimes you move your items from your suitcase to your day bag and you simply forget that you moved them. Before crying wolf, you must take the time to check out what is missing. You can also ask your friends who share your room or your neighbors of the same hostel to check if they were also robbed.
3. Make an inventory of what was stolen. Write a list of items that disappeared while your memory is still fresh. Add as much detail as possible in writing, such as the age and model, in the case of electronic devices.
4. Inform the management of the hostel. Go to the reception of your accommodation and ask to speak to the manager. Explain the situation calmly.
5. Call your insurance agent. Your agent will ask you for more information and it will send you a claim form to complete.
6. Get a police report. You must go into a police station and obtain an official report summarizing the theft. This is a key document for a refund of the missing items. If this is totally impossible, check with your insurance agent for insurance covering the loss of objects.
7. Send the police report to your insurance agent. Once you get the famous police report, you send it immediately to your insurance agent. You can email it by scanning the document, or by fax or mail.
8. Get your refund check. Once the documents are approved by the insurer you will receive a refund check according to the conditions of your travel insurance contract.

Experienced traveler tips:

● Take a picture of your passport, your travel documents and your valuable items in addition to noting the serial numbers of your electronic devices before going on a trip and send the to yourself by email. In case of theft, it will simplify your claim process. Click, click!
● If your passport is stolen, you must immediately inform the nearest passport issuing office. It is possible to get an emergency travel document or a temporary passport in case of urgent need. More information on the Government of Canada’s website.
● If you had your credit card stolen, you must quickly inform the company that issued the card. Your card must be canceled as soon as possible. Your credit card company will guide you in the process of obtaining a new card at home or while traveling.

It is not the end of the world to have items stolen while traveling, but it is certainly not pleasant. You should just know what to do and keep cool. After all, you should congratulate yourself for taking out travel insurance before you went! Well done!

Article by Nomad Junkies team

nomad

6 essential preparations before moving abroad

17 November 2016

To organize your life in a new country is both exciting and stressful. You become an expatriate. You usually keep all your attention on the life that awaits you. You struggle to make arrangements for your future home or new vehicle for example. For a family, enrolling children in a new school is a crucial topic. Whether you choose to move to an attractive job offer, to be closer to family already settled there, or just a new adventure, there are many things to organize. Preparing for expatriation is often perceived as a new life. But it also means considering important elements in your current life. So six preparations are essential to settle your affairs before leaving:

1. Deciding what to do with your housing

In the case of a person renting an apartment or a house, there are constraints to terminating the lease before maturity. It is often easier to wait until the end of the lease to synchronize departure from the country. In the event of a professional assignment occurring during the rental period, you should make arrangements with the owner upon learning of the departure date. And having informed him well in advance, it is usually easier to find a compromise for early termination of the lease.

If you are a homeowner, you should consider either putting it on sale, or to rent it, or to keep it without a tenant. Multiple factors will incline you to one or the other options. Above all, remote management of a sale after departure, maintaining an empty property or following up with tenants from abroad, are those that represent the biggest challenges. It is essential to surround yourself with friends and family or rely on professional services such as a real estate agent or an agency to manage the leased property.

2. Store your personal belongings

A departure abroad for a short or a long time does not necessarily translate removal of all your possessions. Expatriates may decide to keep the furniture and personal items that they would recover once the period of life abroad is over. Family and friends can not always provide the necessary storage space. Renting a storage space then proves a necessity. The cost is not insignificant and the expatriate needs to balance the monetary and sentimental value of its assets over the monthly fee from the warehouse. The risk is to forget to pay a fee at some point and lose all contents in the storage facility. The distance sometimes makes it difficult to pay costs. If the stay abroad is a defined term, it is better then to pay the amount of the entire period which the person needs.

3. Make arrangements with administrations

Leaving a country of habitual residence, a person may lose their social protection. Depending on the country, the expatriate loses their rights to the public health system as soon as the stay abroad exceeds a certain duration. It is recommended to contact the authority to inform them beforehand. Knowing the conditions to regaining rights upon your return also allows taking of adequate measures calmly.

Compared with your fiscal situation, you must inquire whether or not there is an agreement to avoid double taxation between your country and the country of expatriation. If you receive income (salaries, rents etc.) in both countries, you must know how to comply with the two tax administrations. Depending on whether you are paid for by a local employer or your current employer in the country also has an impact. Whether the salary will be paid into your bank account at home or at a local bank must be taken into account. Consulting an accountant or tax consultant is highly recommended to make arrangements before departure.

4. Adjust private insurance

To terminate insurance before departure or keep it is an important issue. If the expatriate retains a property in his home country, homeowner’s insurance will be kept but needs to be adapted. It should reflect their new status, that of non resident. If a tenant but the lease is not yet due, even in their absence, the accommodation is under their responsibility. The expatriate will keep their home insurance until the end of the lease. If a temporary occupant lodges in their absence, they will still maintain insurance unless the person who sublets brings them proof of home insurance in their own name.

If the person leaving for expatriation sells their car before departure, it is logical to terminate auto insurance. But if they will bring the vehicle to the country of expatriation, it becomes more complex. Depending on the country of destination and the duration of stay, the insurer can not always offer insurance coverage. There is often a legal aspect which comes in. It is necessary that the insurance company be approved locally. Changing insurer to a local insurance company often proves the only solution. The expatriate could then lose their historic good insurance record and be required to pay a higher car insurance premium.

5. Choose an international moving company

The first step is to solicit bids only from companies certified with International Association of Movers (IAM) or the Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs (FIDI) in French. The age of a member is also an indicator of the sustainability and seriousness of a moving company.

Furthermore, according to the country of destination, some companies do not hire local employees and external resources. This affects the quality of service because these people are not necessarily properly trained nor respect the standards of the company. It is recommended to select a mover that has a staff team of local movers and is not subcontracting. It is the same material that will be employed by a company. Beware of companies that use vehicles not screen-printed to their brand or employ people who do not even dress with a company logo. These small details are not so innocuous when the time comes to rely on an expert of international mobility.

As with any service, reading reviews and ratings made by other customers is a must in the evaluation of a provider. Opinions are a very good indicator of the quality of a moving company in the international service.

6. Subscribe to medical insurance for expatriate

Last preparation, not the least of which, is the purchase of a medical emergency health insurance. For every long stay abroad you need to have adequate medical coverage. The public health system in the country offers only cover for a certain scope and of limited duration. Only an expatriate health insurance will properly protect you and your family during your episode of life in a new country.

As such, Escapade Travel Insurance offers travel insurance solutions for expatriation and properly covers the risks of everyday life and the risks inherent in the geopolitical situation of the country of expatriation. Click here for expatriation insurance.

How to make a travel insurance medical claim?

18 October 2016

The bad press when paying insurance claims

Every insured person has already heard it said that the insurance companies do not always properly repay when an accident occurs. Even if the reimbursement rules are specifically listed but due to the fastidious way of insurance contracts, there may remain an afterthought on the risk of not receiving the coverage to which one would be entitled by paying the premium insurance.

This bias may come from several sources. One of the situations is that the insured person has misinterpreted the cover which he thought he had. The role of a broker or insurance representative is crucial because they are the privileged interlocutor to understand the needs of a traveler and to adequately inform the guarantees but also the restrictions and exclusions. Another situation is that the traveler is exposed to a risk of which he had forgotten that was not under his travel insurance policy. A final situation is sometimes the insured traveler did not correctly assess his condition beforehand from the conditions agreed in the travel insurance policy for emergency medical care abroad.

Complaints are perhaps not always easy to complete, but if the rules were well set out in the sale of insurance and where they were being followed by the insured, there is no reason that an insurer does not pay during a disaster.

The restrictions and common exclusions in travel insurance

Whether with travel insurance or without medical questionnaire, any contract includes provisions regarding the prior state of traveler health before his departure date or the date of entry into force. In addition, any traveler must keep in mind some general exclusions on most products. Many travelers are unaware of them and therefore this opens the door to a dispute at the presentation of a medical claim.

The travel insurance does not usually cover

  1. sports risks;
  2. the activities of paid professional sports;
  3. speed or endurance races;
  4. piloting an aircraft or a flight as a paying passenger in another public transport method;
  5. countries, regions or cities in which Canada’s Foreign Affairs issue a warning not to stay;
  6. and in some cases paid work (some insurance travel products for the Snowbirds do not cover people working against remuneration).

Exclusions that can be felt more by all travelers:

  1. an optional treatment (medical care that can wait for the return trip);
  2. a trip undertaken for the purpose of receiving medical treatment;
  3. concealment or deliberate misrepresentation regarding insurance or the presentation of a claim;
  4. drug use, abuse of drugs or alcohol that directly or indirectly leads to a claim;
  5. attempted suicide or self-harm;
  6. mental or emotional disorders, anxiety, stress or depression unless you need to be hospitalized. Here it should be noted that some travel insurance products never cover mental or psychological problems because they are not considered a medical emergency.

Of these exclusions, the one that causes problems most often is the abuse of alcohol.

If you go to the emergency room following a banal accident from a fall causing a blow to the head, a cut above one eye or a sprained ankle, and if they think you exceed the permitted alcohol limit and after a blood test result are above the legal limit, the insurance company has the right not to pay your medical expenses related.

The importance of calling the emergency phone number before any medical consultation

Failure to call the assistance center before consulting (unless a serious medical condition or admission to hospital in extreme emergency) can create unpleasant surprises for you, such as non-payment of the claim. By contacting the support center, the speakers will tell you immediately how to proceed, so you do not make a mistake. The emergency numbers to call are listed on your insurance certificate and your insurance policy detailing the exact scope of coverage purchased.

The importance of having a valid health insurance card

Whatever your province or territory of residence, you will normally have a registration for a public insurance plan. This gives you a health insurance card. It must always be in place, because during a claim when traveling abroad, the insurer verifies if you are in good standing. If unfortunately, your card is no longer valid, your medical claim is likely to be refused or the level of reimbursement of benefits may be drastically reduced.

The best way to avoid problems in medical travel claims is to read your insurance policy before departure and ask all relevant questions to your broker or your insurance representative.

7 keys to understanding international driving permits

2 October 2016

1. What is an international driving permit?

The international driving permit or IDP has information from the usual driving license translated into ten languages. The languages are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, Swedish and Portuguese. The holder thus has a new photo ID in addition to his other identity documents. In addition, most car rental companies will ask for an IDP, although it is not required to drive in the country visited. The international driving permit is not valid in the state or province where the holder has established his main residence. This should cover the formalities for obtaining regulatory permits for the state or province of residence. The international driving permit or IDP is a title of conduct where one is qualified as non-resident.

2. Does a Canadian motorist need a IDP in North America?

The international driving permit was created as part of a UN convention on road traffic in 1949. This document is recognized in all the signatories to this agreement. Even though some have not signed it, IDP is often accepted in their territory.
For Canadians, the IDP is usually required outside of North America. Normally, the Canadian driver’s licenses are sufficient to circulate in the United States or Mexico. Unfortunately, without explicitly requiring this famous international driving permit, some US states have adopted legislation that did not accept licenses not in English. This has a direct impact for residents of Quebec.

The US state of Georgia is almost a must for those traveling by car to Florida. Many Canadian retirees, commonly called snowbirds, were likely to be confronted with local laws regarding driving licenses. Indeed, any motorist driving in this state should have a driving license in English. This led de facto impossible for Quebecers to ride locally with their driving license denominated in French. The Georgian authorities seemed rarely fined motorists holding only allowed Quebec. Getting suspended since this law will be repealed end 2016, which will allow Quebec drivers to present their passport and driving license of Quebec when needed. From January 1, 2017, Georgia will no longer require that its agents present international driving permit if the lead held permit is written in a language other than English. The presentation of the Canadian passport with the Quebec driver’s license written in French is only admissible for local authorities. There will be no need for Quebeckers to have an international driving permit in Georgia.

3. How to get information about permits for the countries visited?

In addition to the travel advisory, the Department of Canadian Foreign Affairs informs about whether or not to obtain a prior international driving permit. The information is specified in the “Laws and Customs” tab of each country profile. To view the information by country, please follow the following link: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

4. Where to get an international driving permit?

For Canadian residents, the CAA is the only Canadian jurisdiction authorized to issue and to deliver international driving permit.

An international driving permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue. Motorists must reapply each time another IDP is required.

5. What are the conditions for an IDP?

A Canadian traveler wishing to use a road vehicle in a country requiring an international driving license must be at least 18 years. He must also hold a valid and unrestricted Canadian driving license. The Canadian drivers who can not get an IDP are those who hold only a temporary permit (or learning) and those who were stripped of their license because of violations of the code of the road.

The international driving permit does not apply to the category of vehicles which the Canadian license held by the motorist does not authorize driving.

6. What is the cost of this license?

The Canadian motorist can report to their local CAA Club with the required documents (two-sided photocopy of the driving license in good standing issued by the province of residence, two passport photographs and the IDP application form for the CAA).

The cost is currently $ 25 (subject to change without notice from CAA).

You can also apply by mail. A request sent by mail must include the payment of fees by credit card or by bank draft, money order or check in Canadian currency from a Canadian financial institution payable to your local CAA Club.

Note that IDP will not be issued earlier than a month before the departure date. The IDP is valid for one year from its date of issue. No need to be a member of the CAA to apply!

7. What will happen if you stay abroad for over a year?

If the stay abroad exceeds one year and your IDP expires, you can request a new one, provided that your Canadian driving license is still valid. Your new international driving permit will be posted abroad, at your expense.

6 disregarded realities of travel insurance

2 September 2016

Multi-trip insurance cannot be interrupted

If a traveler subscribes to an annual travel insurance plan, also called multi-trip insurance, this type of plan is not refundable as soon as it comes into force. It provides insurance coverage for unlimited travel for a certain period, in the course of 365 consecutive days. If the insured has availed of that once or several times during the annual period, the insurance premium does not vary. The argument of non-payment is that the insured can use it later as the contract is valid for one year from the start date of their first insured trip. Obviously age of the insured traveler, certain medical conditions may not be covered if it does not respect the stability period required at each new start. Usually, anyone planning to travel outside their province of residence repeatedly should consider the option of an annual plan of travel insurance. It will prove more economical than several unique travel insurance.

 

A deductible can be applied several times a trip

Some travel insurance for all and travel insurance for travelers 55+ offer the possibility to choose the application of a deductible in order to lower the insurance premium. The exact application of the deductible depends on each insurer. It is important to refer to the section of the insurance policy that details the conditions of application of the deductible. In general, the medical deductible applies to each new event (accident or illness). For example, if a traveler consults for early bronchitis, they shall pay the amount of the deductible in their travel insurance policy. If they then consult for a broken ankle, the deductible applies again because they are two separate events.

 

But increasingly, the deductible also applies per visit to an emergency room or hospitalization even if connected to the same medical condition. If the insured returns for a follow up planned by the treating physician, the deductible will not apply. But if he returns to an emergency room due to a sudden relapse of his condition, some contracts apply the deductible again.

 

When purchasing travel insurance, you must check the General Conditions carefully.

 

The number of prescribed medications can influence the insurance premium

The number of drugs prescribed at the pharmacy regularly are subject to a medical question on contracts for travelers wishing to cover their pre-existing conditions. This criterion is found in either the admissibility or the medical questionnaire. The answer is involved in determining the premium. It is strongly advisable to check with your doctor if certain medications taken as needed or nonessential could not be replaced by OTC drugs. Thus, the number of drugs decreases. This can give access to more insurance products or avoid elongated medical questionnaires which must be approved by the medical team of insurance companies. This process is more difficult because the traveler must provide exam results, so for him it involves costs, waiting time and therefore stress.

 

The partial reimbursement of the insurance premium for shortened travel is subject to conditions

Any traveler making a hasty return to his country or province of residence can claim a refund for unused days. This possibility is not offered on annual insurance nor if insurance includes cancellation coverage or trip interruption.

 

When the travel insurance policy so authorizes, reimbursement for early return is subject to certain conditions. No refund is possible if the insured traveler consulted in order to obtain medical services during their stay abroad. This restriction is always described in the conditions of the travel insurance policy wording. If the traveler has made any medical claims and has no medical claim form to be submitted to the insurer, it can claim a refund of the unused insurance days. Administrative charges are applicable. They are usually specified in the insurance certificate originally issued. These fees vary slightly between insurers. It is also asked to provide proof of valid return to his country or province of residence.

A group plan to cover the beginning of your journey brings some disadvantages

It may be advantageous to cover the beginning of your journey through a group insurance or a credit card that gives the holder travel insurance coverage. It is the responsibility of the traveler to check out the number of days covered and the required stability. If the trip undertaken exceeds the coverage offered in duration through group insurance or credit card, it should be complemented by a unique travel insurance. Should the latter be purchased prior to the date of departure in trip and the two insurance periods must follow each other without interruption.

 

If the traveler extends the coverage offered through group insurance or card credit, it is essential to check that the first insurer authorizes to extend its plan with another insurer. The standards are sometimes quite different. For example, some require group plans to use the predetermined number of days of insurance, without possibility of extension. Or some credit cards must be extended by the same insurer unless with special permission.

 

Finally, if a medical event occurs during the first period of insurance (one in the group coverage or that of the credit card), it causes a change in medical stability with regard to the insurer completing the second period of coverage. Accordingly, an accident or illness during the first period of insurance becomes an exclusion for pre-existing conditions for the second period of insurance.

 

The return date of an insurance contract is based on the time of arrival of the flight

When a passenger makes a request to provide a package holiday, it is important to know the dates and times of departure and return. Time to return to the country or province of residence is crucial. Often return flights will be quite late in the evening. For travel insurance it is very valid, it must be taken out until the date of the next day if the flight ends after midnight.