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A look at Travel Insurance, Alcohol and High-Risk Activities

Whether you are planning a trip for high adventure, pure relaxation or a family affair, getting away is always exciting.  Preparing the details is time consuming – passports, tickets, transportation arrangements – but it is time worth investing to ensure a hassle free vacation. While looking at those details – don’t overlook your travel insurance.

Often, when travelers are offered extra insurance, people think ‘I’m healthy, I’ll be fine’ and decline. However, travel insurance is much more than just medical coverage and requires some serious attention. Are you renting a car? Going to an all-inclusive? Maybe you want to try paragliding on the beach? On a trip, anything can happen and you want to be prepared. Insurance is one of those things you hope you never have to use, but at a cost of a few dollars a day, it is the best money you will spend.

Travel Insurance Basics

When looking over what policy is right for you, ensure your broker has you covered. A great policy should always include:

  • Coverage for the country you are travelling to
  • Injury and sudden illness
  • Cover lost, damaged or stolen possessions
  • Cover cancellations such as trip, hotel bookings, flight etc.
  • Personal accident coverage


Accidents and Alcohol Don’t Mix

Sipping a few Mai Tai’s on the beach sounds like a lovely way to spend your time on holidays, and with more and more resorts going all-inclusive, it is easier than ever to indulge – just don’t count on your travel insurance to cover you if you have an accident while under the influence of alcohol or nonprescription drugs. Many holiday goers enjoy a few drinks responsibly; the question is ‘how much is too much?’ That is a difficult question to answer when a claim does not involve operating a motor vehicle. Travel insurance policies will often have an exclusion if someone is “abusing” alcohol. But that definition is vague.

Of course, using common sense goes a long way. It is also very important to check your travel insurance policy wording, and if you are not sure, clarify the policy with your broker to fully understand the conditions.  You need to understand what level of intoxication will invalidate a claim in case of an accident, and know this, if the level is excessive, it most certainly will.


High Risk Activities

The family of B.C. native Kenzie Markey is all too familiar with the downfalls of participating in extreme sports without the specific coverage. No stranger to skydiving, performing more than a hundred jumps in the past three years, in April this year Kenzie travelled to Arizona with friends where she planned more skydiving. Something went terribly wrong at some point in her jump, the chute collapsed and she went plummeting to the ground. She had travel insurance, but it did not cover extreme sports. Kenzie suffered serious injuries, was hospitalized and her medical bills skyrocketed to over $500 000.00 before the family was able to transport her home to a hospital in Canada.

More and more adventure travel packages are offering to up your thrill factor with skydiving, bungee jumping, parasailing, hang-gliding and more. While travelers are more prone to take part in these risky adventures when on vacation abroad, many sign up without knowing their coverage limits. But, without the proper insurance coverage, these activities can end up being the furthest thing from a cheap thrill. When looking into your policy, be prepared to ask very specific questions to ensure the activity you are planning to participate in is covered. The dollar value of the policy is not the bottom line; it is the wording that needs to be clear. A licensed insurance broker can guide you through high-risk policies that would be most suited to your vacation plans.

Wherever you decide to holiday, and whatever you decide to do, we sure hope you never need to use your travel insurance. For peace of mind, speak to your broker before you go and get the insurance policy that covers you. Stay safe and enjoy your holidays.

For more information, call McDougall Insurance & Financial and ask us about Travel Insurance at 1-800-361-0941.

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