At a time when regions around the world are experiencing extreme weather events, travel insurance is one way to stay protected both medically and financially.
Omar Kaywan, co-founder of Goose Insurance, said travel insurance can be extremely useful to have at a time of global uncertainty.
“We’re living in a world, unfortunately, where we’re dealing with a climate crisis, a lot of natural disasters are happening everywhere,” he told CTVNews.ca on Thursday.
At the moment, the streets of Norway and Sweden are flooding, South Korea has evacuated thousands of scouts due to a tropical storm and wildfires are quickly spreading across Maui, Hawaii, forcing many to cut their vacations short, cancel their travel plans and, most importantly, flee those areas for safety.
In situations like these, travel insurance is not just about financially protecting yourself, it’s also about having “peace of mind,” Kaywan said.
“If something like this happens, you do have a provider you can work with that can help you with repatriation and getting back into Canada as soon as possible,” he said.
DOES TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER CASES LIKE THE WILDFIRES IN MAUI?
So, you purchased travel insurance and there’s a natural disaster, now what?
The simple answer is to check your insurance policy, experts say.
Nainesh Kotak, founder of Kotak Personal Injury Law, said this is an important step because each travel insurance provider has its own unique policy.
“Look at your policy and make sure that (natural disasters) actually are covered before you make the decisions on the type of policy you would purchase,” Kotak told CTVNews.ca.
In Maui, Hawaii, an estimated 2,000 travellers, some newly arrived and others who had cancelled flights, were sheltering at Kahului Airport on Maui early Wednesday morning. Global Affairs Canada and other officials were discouraging non-essential travel to the island.
In this case, Kotak said insurance should cover costs for travellers who are already on the island. He recommends Canadians to immediately contact Global Affairs Canada to get assistance and “get back home.”
“Keep the receipts of what you’ve had to spend to get out and get out of that country,” he said.
For people whose travel plans to the island were disrupted and haven’t left their homes yet, they could make a claim now.
The important thing to keep in mind when thinking of natural disasters and travel insurance, Kotak said, is whether or not the events were known before you purchased tickets to go on a trip.
For example, if someone were to purchase a ticket to Maui now, fully knowing there’s a travel advisory in place and a natural disaster happening, travel insurance providers will most likely not be covering costs, he explained.
Kaywan, Goose Insurance’s co-founder, said most people don’t buy travel insurance because of the cost, but he urges people to change that perspective because of how much it could actually help them save in an emergency situation.
“When you’re spending thousands of dollars booking a wonderful vacation to Hawaii, spending a few hundred and getting travel insurance, both medical and non medical, is not that incremental,” he said.
Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance may contact Global Affairs Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling +1 613 996 8885, texting +1 613-686-3658, via Telegram at Canada Emergency Abroad, via WhatsApp at +1 613-909-8881, or via Signal at +1-613-909-8087.
Help is also available through email at [email protected].
With files from the Associated Press.