There are many things to get in order when planning your vacation or long-term trip. You’ll need to submit your vacation request to HR, make arrangements for Fido and grab some vacation essentials at the store. If you’re traveling outside of the country, there will be even more things to check off your to-do list before departing, such as ensuring your passport is up to date.
One important item that’s often overlooked by those traveling to foreign countries is travel insurance. Just because you have coverage in the country you live in doesn’t mean it will cover you in foreign countries while traveling. We spoke with Melissa Kaerne, marketing and communications brand manager of TuGo, to learn more about their emergency coverage and the importance of travel insurance.
How TuGo Pioneered Canadian Travel Insurance
TuGo was founded in 1964 by the parents of the company’s current CEO and president, Patrick Robinson and Kathy Starko. TuGo started in the insurance space and the founders started to realize there was a need for travel medical coverage for travelers.
“They noticed there was a lack of coverage when it came to how people were traveling, and they were the first to see and launch missed flight insurance in Canada,” Kaerne said of TuGo founders. Back in the sixties, traveling by air wasn’t very common—it was still considered a bit of a luxury—so they were really innovative at that time.
Today, TuGo is one of Canada’s top travel insurance providers specializing in travel insurance. They serve Canadian residents that are traveling outside of Canada or their Canadian Province, and also offers some coverage for those traveling to Canada.
Coverage for Traveling Within Canada
TuGo suggests travel insurance for all Canadians traveling outside their Province before they leave. If you have a medical emergency, your provincial health care plan won’t cover pre- and post-emergency services such as:
- Prescription drugs
- Family member at bedside
- Travel costs and meals for travel companions
- Transportation services for family
- Air evacuation
- Ambulance (ground, mountain or sea)
- Medical equipment
- Return of vehicle
- Dental services
Travel Insurance for Canadian Visitors
If you’re planning a trip to Canada or live in Canada and have visitors coming from outside the country, the Canadian government recommends getting health care coverage before visiting. Non-Canadian residents may have some coverage from their health insurance plan, but many things won’t be covered in the event of an emergency or accident.
Single Trip vs. Multi-Trip Coverage
TuGo offers two types emergency medical travel insurance: single trip and multi-trip. Both plans require full payment upfront, and the multi-trip option will provide coverage for an entire year with the option to renew each year.
For example, an ideal option for a back country skier that plans to ski the entire season would be the emergency medical multi-trip plan plus the Adventure Sports Coverage. Each coverage option will have their own fee associated with it.
How Travel Insurance Differs From Credit Card Travel Programs
Many travel credit cards come with excellent programs and benefits such as free checked bag, trip cancellation insurance and rental car insurance. TuGo differs from those types of programs and coverage because they are more of a supplemental insurance.
TuGo has also found that the benefit limits tend to be higher with TuGo. For example, you’ll get up to $5 million in emergency medical coverage with TuGo and may only get $500,000 – $1 million with certain credit card insurance programs or providers.
The biggest drawback with travel protections offered through credit cards is that the travel may need to be purchased with that credit card or it won’t be covered. “That differs from us because we aren’t concerned with the purchase and are just making sure the coverage is in place,” said Kaerne. If you think you are already covered by your credit cards, she cautions to always read through the policy before your trip, to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs.
If you still aren’t sure you need emergency coverage, check out TuGo’s Credit Card Questionnaire to get a snapshot of their differences.
TuGo also provides a helpful list of what to look for when shopping for emergency travel insurance:
Don’t let a medical emergency ruin your savings; check out your options on TuGo’s website.