In just a few days, I get on a small airplane and then a REALLY big airplane to head to some country on the other side of the ocean. You might remember me talking about it about once a week, in a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to make y’all jealous. I can only assume it’s working, since one of you egged my car last night. The cops are on it, so you might as well just confess now.
A couple of months ago when I announced this, friend of the blog Holy Potato expressed concern in my comment section. No, he wasn’t calling a moron for doing the trip — none of you did, actually, even after I practically dared you to — he was concerned about my health insurance coverage. Would my provincial coverage apply outside of Canada? How difficult would it be to get health insurance in that part of the world? It just showed all my readers really care and if we ever all got together it would be group hug after group hug.
Or not. Whatever.
So I looked into it. As far as I could tell I have some short-term coverage as a perk on my credit card, but that only got me as far as ‘Murica. My provincial coverage didn’t cover me in South Korea. I didn’t check Japan or China, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t covered there either. Those are the three places I know I’m going to visit, so it was obvious I was going to have to get travel insurance. Since I’m a freelancer now I’m going without traditional work benefits, so there was no back door coverage from them.
First up, I phoned the Alberta Motor Association, who has my auto insurance. I switched from ING Insurance (now Intact Financial) to AMA back in 2008 when I was
pissed off disappointed my auto premium only went down $20 compared to the year before. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but switching saved me about 25% a year. It was an easy choice.
So I talk to somebody at AMA and get quoted $488.77 for 152 days of coverage (I plan to come back to Canada for a couple weeks over Christmas). This is a blanket Asia policy which included no deductible, $5 million in coverage, and the option to transport me home if I’m stable and it ends up being cheaper for the insurer. I’m happy with the amount of coverage, but not really with the price.
Next person I visited was the attractive redhead at my local insurance broker’s office. She was VERY perky (no double entendre even implied, dammit), and was happy to punch some information into a computer for me. She printed me out the following sheet.
Hey, now we’re talking. She quoted me a full $107 off the original price offered by the competition, coming in at $381.52. Worst case scenario, I’d take this travel insurance. It had some nice perks too, like a $10 million limit, no deductible, and I made sure my short layover in the U.S. was covered. And did I mention a cute redhead helped me out with it?
But alas, this frugal champion marched further. There was one place I hadn’t yet tried. It’s Canada’s largest online insurance broker, kanetix . I went on the site, typed in a few pieces of information, and literally a minute later I had a dozen quotes to look at. I narrowed it down to the top 4, and then took this screen shot.
Travel Underwriters had two products in the all-important top four, one with a $250 deductible and one with a zero deductible. Something called Travel Guard came in second place. I’m assuming it has to be cheap because it sounds like what you’d call your emergency travel condom. It only has $1 million in coverage, but in reality, how hard is it even to hit $1 million in damages when abroad? These are places that have reasonable medical costs.
Admittedly I’m not a travel insurance expert, but I went ahead and read the Travel Underwriters policy. It was pretty straightforward. You have to have no preexisting conditions within the last 6 months. Even undiagnosed stuff, like experiencing chest pains before getting on the plane. You also have to still be in your province of residence while applying, and they reserve the right to fly you back to Canada if its cheaper and you’re not about to kick it. And, of course, they ask if you’ve smoked at any point over the last two years too. NAH I HAVEN’T I’M JUST SMOKIN’ HOT HEY LADIES DON’T SHOVE.
It looked to me like a pretty standard policy, and I didn’t see anything alarming in the fine print. So I went ahead and chose the Travel Underwriters option but with the $250 deductible. I was okay with the deductible because it’s emergency coverage. I’m not buying it for when I get a little bit of the runs over some strange food. I’m buying it to cover getting hit by a car or a North Korean henchman.
I also think there’s a very high probability I won’t use this policy, but this is why travel insurance exists.
Kanetix is a pretty smooth operator. I didn’t even have to print a copy of my policy. I downloaded their travel insurance app, and just clicked on the link they provided in the confirmation email. It automatically downloaded a copy of my policy to the app, and that was it.
It took about 10 minutes to get travel insurance through Kanetix. It was fast, easy, and the policy I have is underwritten by a reputable insurer. When it comes time to shop for home and auto insurance again, I plan to give Kanetix a try. I saved more than 40% by using it. That’s a huge savings for the amount of work. I recommend you run all your insurance through kanetix when it’s time to renew. I bet you’ll save a couple hundred bucks like I did.