Travel Insurance: Does Your Employer Group Plan Cover You Enough Abroad?

Never take for granted that your group insurance covers all aspects of your travels abroad.

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Travel Insurance Employer Group Plan

As you plan your next trip, whether it's for work or a relaxing vacation, remember to consider your employer's group insurance from the get-go. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of choosing the perfect hotel, finding affordable direct flights, and planning fun activities. With all these details, it's easy to forget about travel insurance, particularly if you're under the impression that your employer's group insurance already has you covered.

Be cautious with this assumption; it can be risky. Although employer group plans are beneficial, they may not fully cover every aspect of your travel needs.

What is employer group insurance?

Group insurance is a social benefit offered by employers, unions, and professional associations to a group of individuals, often the employees of a company.

It aims to provide coverage in several areas: health, disability, life, and travel.

By pooling individuals, group insurance allows for more advantageous rates and broader coverage than individual insurance.

What is included in the travel coverage of an employer’s group insurance plan?

First, it is essential to underline that not all group insurances offer travel coverage. Before you start planning a trip, it's essential not to assume you're automatically protected. Instead, carefully review the details of your group insurance policy. This coverage can vary significantly from one policy to another, not systematically covering the same risks or offering different levels of protection.

Here are the main aspects to review to better understand your coverage:

Emergency medical insurance

  • Duration of coverage: It is crucial to check how long you are covered. Some policies offer coverage for limited periods, potentially requiring additional insurance for longer trips.
  • Amount of the coverage: Coverage limits can vary. Ensure the amount is sufficient to cover potential medical emergencies in your destination country.
  • Deductible: Some insurance policies include a deductible, representing the amount you are responsible for before coverage is activated. This implies that you might have to pay an initial sum in the event of an unforeseen event.
  • Assistance services: Check if your travel insurance includes an assistance service. This service ensures you receive comprehensive assistance, from directing you to medical facilities and managing your case, to facilitating hospital admissions, arranging repatriation when needed, and communicating with your loved ones during emergencies.
  • Limitations and exclusions: Familiarize yourself with the activities and conditions not covered by your group insurance, like extreme sports or pre-existing conditions.

Non-medical protections

Some group insurances may also offer protections such as trip cancellation or interruption insurance and luggage insurance. These protections can prove very useful in case of unforeseen events before or during your trip.

Claim process

For group insurance, if you encounter a medical issue abroad, you may need to cover medical expenses out-of-pocket initially.

Once back, you will need to follow the standard procedure, which consists of first claiming from your provincial health insurance plan, and then requesting reimbursement of the remainder from your group insurance. This process can be long and requires meticulous organization of your supporting documents.

Is it necessary to obtain complementary travel insurance to your group insurance?

Even if your group insurance offers some travel coverage, it is strongly recommended to consider complementary travel insurance for optimal protection.

Designed to offer an additional layer of security, travel insurance adapts to your specific needs, guaranteeing total peace of mind when you are away from home. Here are the main advantages it offers:

Additional coverage for medical emergencies:

If the medical coverage offered by your group insurance is limited in terms of amount or duration, complementary insurance can provide the additional protection needed for medical expenses abroad.

Non-covered risks:

Activities considered risky, such as certain extreme sports, may not be covered by group insurances. Complementary travel insurance can be customized to include these activities.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance:

Coverage for trip cancellation or interruption may be limited or nonexistent with group insurances. Purchasing complementary travel insurance ensures reimbursement of prepaid expenses for a multitude of eligible reasons.

Extended travel stays:

For trips exceeding the maximum duration covered by group insurance, complementary insurance is essential to remain protected throughout your stay.

Comprehensive luggage insurance:

The coverage for luggage offered by group insurance may be insufficient in case of loss, theft, or damage. Complementary travel insurance can offer better compensation.

Comprehensive repatriation insurance:

This coverage takes care of return expenses in case of serious illness, injury, or death, offering peace of mind not only to the traveller but also to their family.

Simplified claim process:

One of the significant advantages of complementary travel insurance is the simplified claim process it offers. Unlike some group insurances that may require complex procedures, by purchasing travel insurance in addition to your group insurance, your insurer takes care of coordinating with your provincial health insurance during a claim, sparing you any administrative paperwork.

This means you can generally initiate your claim directly with the complementary insurer without the intermediate steps, thus facilitating claim management and speeding up reimbursements.

Before every trip

Never take for granted that your group insurance covers all aspects of your travels abroad. Before leaving, make sure you review your coverage details regarding health, cancellation, trip interruption, and luggage. This will allow you to determine if complementary travel insurance is necessary to fill any potential gaps in your current coverage and ensure total peace of mind during your trip.

Here are some points to clarify with your insurer:

  • Validation of policy terms: Ensure that the conditions of your insurance have not changed since your last trip. Also, be aware that conditions can change over time, particularly based on your age.
  • Exclusivity of the insurer: Check whether your policy mandates purchasing coverage from just one insurer for the whole trip.

Embrace full protection for stress-free travelling

Although your employer group insurance offers a base of protection for your travels, it is essential to understand your coverage well and anticipate your additional needs. Before leaving, check the details of your insurance and consider the possibility of complimentary travel insurance.

Contact a SoNomad agent who can guide you on your travel insurance needs. Thus prepared, you can fully enjoy your trip, knowing that you are well covered in case of unforeseen events.

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