Start Your Winter Travel Insurance Shopping. It’s Time for Deals.

With the Canadian dollar climbing heroically, now is the time to buy US dollars and salt them away for your coming winter vacation in the US South, or even destinations in the Caribbean that trade primarily in US currency.

Yes, it’s possible the loonie may climb higher, but if that’s what you’re waiting for, you move from being a prudent investor to a speculator. Remember, things that go up… go down as well.

And there is no better time to start planning. Why? Because many of your travel insurance plans are already offering “early bird specials,” essentially inducements to buy travel insurance at today’s lower premiums and activate it once the season is underway—in the fall or even the winter. These can be really good deals, but be careful. You need to understand a few of the fundamentals.

The main one to remember is this: If your health changes in any way between the time you buy and the time you travel, the terms of your purchase will have changed. So you must tell your insurer about it.

For example, let’s say you are in perfect health today and you buy insurance that will take effect on November 1st. However, in August, your doctor says you need to begin taking high blood pressure medication—this means you will have picked up a pre-existing condition, most likely invalidating your application. You were sold insurance on the basis of perfect health, and now you have a condition—no matter that your doctor says it’s nothing to worry about or gives you a “clean bill of health.” Your application will have changed and your insurer needs to know to issue new terms of coverage. Neglect that, and your claim for medical costs next winter may be denied.

Even if you admit to having conditions, but your medication changes, or you need to see a specialist, or you require a day or two in hospital before you leave, your insurer has to be told and your policy amended.

It’s easy enough to do. You will likely still get coverage—even though it may cost you a few dollars more. But you won’t risk having a claim denied for failure to disclose your true condition. And failure to disclose is one of the most prevalent causes for travel insurance claims denials.

Do your homework, look at competing plans and prices, take your time, and work out the best deal you can. You don’t know how much insurance premiums may rise in the fall. Buying now is a good way to make sure you will be covered when it’s time to leave.

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