Ensure clients have adequate travel insurance

By Helena Smeenk Pritchard | December 17, 2012 | Last updated on December 17, 2012
2 min read

People inclined to rely on out-of-country travel insurance coverage from their credit card company need to get them to verify in writing that they will allow private coverage as a top-up to credit card travel insurance.

Read: Little-known facts about travel insurance

When my father had a stroke in Florida, we learned that two conditions must be met before an air ambulance will take a private client:

1) A minimum of $10,000 U.S. cash.

2) An available hospital bed at home.

My father’s stroke happened at a time when there was an acute shortage of hospital beds. Due to liability issues the doctors in Florida would not discharge him. His hospital bill came to over US$50,000.

Read: Canadian travellers take risky retreats

The insurance company denied the claim, citing pre-existing conditions. We fought and won, but not all seniors have the resources to take on an insurance company.

Brain Sanderson of Sanderson Travel Insurance says it’s fairly standard for underwriting companies to ask for the last five years of health history. In my father’s case they went much further back. As a financial advisor it is your responsibility to ensure your clients have the best possible out-of-country coverage and that they answer the medical questions fully.

Read: Canadians don’t understand insurance products

Unexpected financial burdens are created by the need for special equipment, home care, expensive medications and so on. When discussing out-of-country travel insurance with your clients, ask them about their critical illness coverage. Sell it to them if they don’t have it or review it with them if they do.

Helena Smeenk Pritchard has over 36 years of experience in the insurance industry and is the Principal of Helena Smeenk Pritchard & Associates, a leader in “Insurance Know-How” training. Helena publishes a weekly free ‘Did You Know’ newsletter on her site.

Helena Smeenk Pritchard