So you’re finally about to go on a trip and you’re debating whether or not you should take out travel insurance? Is it really worth it? Everybody seems to have something to say about travel insurance… and you’re having a hard time figuring out what’s true and what’s just a myth.
I’ve been travelling full-time for over 8 years and have visited 69 countries, so trust me, I totally get it. Don’t worry, we’re on a mission to unravel the mystery for you!
Here are seven examples that we’ll debunk for you:
Myth 1 – I can lose my citizenship if I travel abroad for more than 6 months.
FALSE! Of all the myths surrounding travel insurance, this one has got to be the funniest!
To put it simply, you can’t lose your citizenship because you go abroad for several months. That’s just an old wives’ tale.
That being said, you can lose your eligibility for the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) for Quebec residents. Basically, the RAMQ allows you to be away for fewer than 183 days a year without losing access to it.
The biggest question to ask yourself is: “Will you spend more than six months outside of Quebec during the same calendar year (January 1 to December 31)?
- If your answer is no, you can buy a complementary or standard travel insurance that covers you during your trip.
- If your answer is yes, you may no longer be covered by the RAMQ, and you will need a different type of travel insurance, in this case, one for expatriates. Your best bet is to speak directly with an expert from your travel insurance company.
Nomad tip: ask the RAMQ for your seven-year provision. It’s practically a secret since few travellers know about it, but in Quebec, you can ask for one special permission within a seven-year period.
You can only request this exception once every seven years. This will allow you to continue to be covered for a whole year, even if you spend more than six months outside the country. You will then have to wait 6 more years before you can apply for this exemption again. Visit the RAMQ website for more information.
The RAMQ also recommends that you purchase travel insurance: “We recommend purchasing travel insurance. In general, health services outside of Québec are partially reimbursed by the Québec Health Insurance Plan. Travel insurance covers the part not reimbursed by RAMQ.”
Myth #2 – I’m young and healthy, I don’t need travel insurance.
FALSE! Good on you if you’re young and healthy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need travel insurance. If you think that nothing can happen to you and that you are invincible, think again!
Getting into a fender bender or catching a disease is a real risk when travelling, especially if you like to backpack to exotic places in developing countries.
As stated so perfectly on soNomad’s website, travel insurance provides financial protection for medical expenses brought on while travelling. Without the right travel insurance, you may find yourself responsible for paying medical bills incurred in an emergency, when consulting a doctor, or even if you have to be hospitalized.
Myth #3 – I am already fully insured with my credit card.
TRUE AND FALSE! Some premium credit cards will indeed cover short trips, usually between 7 and 21 days. That being said, it’s really a case-by-case basis. You have to check with your credit card before booking your trip. Be careful though, there are often additional conditions such as having purchased your airfare and accommodation with your card. Make sure to read the fine print.
If you’re a backpacker, however, you may not be covered by your credit card. Your trip might exceed the allowed duration, and chances are that you won’t be able to pay for all of your accommodations with your credit card (like that beautiful beach bungalow in Thailand that only takes cash).
In my opinion, these high-end credit cards are not worth the money as they often have an annual fee of about $120, when you could easily get multi-trip travel insurance for a similar amount or less.
Myth #4 – Travel insurance is expensive.
NOT NECESSARILY! It all really depends on which company you purchase your travel insurance from.
It can be shocking to find out that some brokers can receive up to 45% undisclosed commission on your travel insurance!
It’s not the travel insurance costing you an arm and a leg, it’s the huge commissions being taken out by some of these companies.
Thankfully, the tide is shifting and soNomad has decided to put an end to this “nonsense” and to the exaggerated costs of travel insurance.
Since soNomad takes a minimal fee on each transaction compared to traditional brokers who take high commissions, these products are the most affordable on the market. On average, travellers save up to 25%.
To give you a better idea, with soNomad, you are spending about $1.50 per day to get full coverage and to travel with peace of mind. That’s a fraction of a coffee at Starbucks!
Myth #5 – I’m too cheap to buy travel insurance.
FALSE! You’re not penny-pinching, you just like to blindly go with the flow!
It’s okay to be frugal when travelling. You want to save as much as possible, and we’re all for that. So you found a flight with three stopovers, but you’re only paying half the price of the other flights? We applaud you! You want to sleep in a 20-person dorm and eat Ramen noodles for a month to travel longer? Why not? Go for it!
It’s okay to be cheap when travelling, but ending up with a hefty medical bill will surely empty your pockets. Making sure you have travel insurance is a financially sensible decision to make.
Myth #6 – Getting treatment abroad is cheap.
TRUE AND FALSE! Yes, some countries have cheaper medical costs than back home, but in Quebec, you don’t pay for your doctor’s appointment or your visit to the emergency room.
Remember, it’s also impossible to predict what kind of accidents, illnesses, and treatments you might need.
A visit to the doctor for a dislocated thumb in Nepal can cost you as little as $60 (Yup…true story), but if you have a scooter accident and have to be operated on and repatriated, we are now up to tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
To give you a better idea, a simple fracture in the United States can cost up to an average $10,000 US. (That’s A LOT of Starbucks!)
You definitely don’t want to mortgage your future just because you refused to pay $1.50 a day for travel insurance.
IMAGINE TRIPPING AND TUMBLING DOWN THE STEPS OF A TEMPLE… AYAYA!
Myth #7 – It’s time consuming and complicated to buy travel insurance.
FALSE! It always takes me less than 10 minutes to buy travel insurance. This is the 21st century after all! You can fill out the online form here or call 877-220-9092.
All you need are your travel dates, the countries that you intend to visit, and to answer a few health-related questions. You’ll be all set and covered by the time you go.
Nomad tip: Always purchase your travel insurance before you leave. If you’re not sure of the total duration of your trip (#YOLO), you can buy your travel insurance for, say, a few weeks but put a reminder on your phone to extend your insurance before the expiration date. Often, all it takes is an email or a call to extend, really as simple as that!
The beauty of travel is that things never go as planned.
As you probably already know, travelling comes with a lot of uncertainty which often involves taking risks, especially when backpacking. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be exhilarating. It makes you grow, but it can also be scary! Fortunately, not everything that goes unplanned turns into a problem, but rest assured that if you do encounter misfortune on your next trip, you will be covered!
Don’t forget, the unexpected makes for good stories (as long as you have travel insurance)!
On top of it all, you’ll have a travel insurance agent at the end of the line to guide you and make everything a breeze. Enjoy the adventure with peace of mind.
Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other concerns or questions; we will refer you to the right person!
The founders of Nomad Junkies are proud to be ambassadors for soNomad and to help change the travel insurance industry so that it costs you less!