Usually, it takes a sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one or a hefty medical bill from a foreign health care provider to make you focus on the benefits and peace of mind that an insurance policy can provide.
Gurneet Kaur Bal, an agent with AMC Insurance, sees this often as many clients wait until middle age to consider life insurance, or experience a harrowing holiday overseas or even a cross-border shopping trip.
“Middle age, that’s usually the time people start thinking about life insurance, when their health is no longer good enough for standard coverage,” Bal says. “The sooner you enroll in a life insurance plan, the less expensive it is, because, in general, a younger person has better overall health.
“You also have less of a chance of getting rejected by an insurance company,” Bal adds. “And once you qualify, you don’t need to provide any other information. There’s no annual physical exams.”
And since life insurance proceeds are paid tax-free to your beneficiaries, they can be a vital part of your estate planning.
When it comes to getting travel insurance, Bal says it should be considered a “must-have.”
“Now that we are seeing people considering travel plans again as COVID-19 travel restrictions are expected to ease, travel insurance should be at the top of your list before you go anywhere,” she says.
If you have an accident outside of Canada, your provincial medical plan will not cover you.
“You need travel insurance, even if you are just crossing the border to buy groceries,” Bal says.
Even the most minor incident requiring medical assistance can cost far much more than any minor savings you get from cross-border shopping.
Bal says from her own experience getting her daughter treated for what turned out to be a minor stomach ailment—but required an ultrasound and medication in a U.S. hospital—resulted in a US $20,000 bill.
“I called them and asked if they had put an extra zero on the bill by mistake, and the hospital said, ‘No,’” she says.
Fortunately, her travel insurance covered the cost.
If you are involved in a serious accident and require an airlift to a hospital, the cost of that transport alone can be around $50,000 south of the border.
“They will take good care of you, but it will come at a very high cost,” Bal says.
Frequent travellers over the Canada-U.S. border can purchase annual coverage.
“That makes it much more convenient if you travel a lot to shop or visit family,” Bal says.
To find out more, visit their website at amcinsurance.ca.