Most places are very healthy but you never know which food service outlet will be a problem.

I don’t know how often people ask me if they should buy travel health insurance since Canadian coverage is so good. They ask if they are obliged to have travel insurance with the hope of avoiding the needless expense.

I’m only going to Mexico for a week, they say. Do I really need it, as though serious food poisoning was not an occasional serious issue in Mexico, or any other tropical country. You are seldom obliged to have travel insurance with you go out of country, but to travel without it is, to me, sheer folly.


I have seen the consequences. I am are aware of travelers whose insurance provider has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single client file.

Every Canadian province recommends coverage for a good reason. No matter where you go in the world your costs can escalate beyond imagination.

Most people know how expensive health costs can be in the United States. But when you are in a different country, you may find out that they too are beyond your financial reach.


A slip on a hillside hike could prove very expensive.

Additionally, most insurance companies also have medical professionals to help assess the patient’s condition, even from afar.

Here again, I am are aware of circumstances where a client was told he was going to require an extensive and dangerous operation abroad. After the insurance company listened to the assessment, they decided to fly the person home instead. In fact, no such operation was required. The assessment had been exaggerated beyond reality.

Even for travel to other Canadian provinces where we have a common health system, individual provinces assess costs and fees on procedures quite differently. British Columbia coverage can be quite different from Ontario’s or Manitoba’s on certain procedures, and even in the bed costs per night.

While I am aware of the burden travel insurance can place on senior travelers, as I outlined in the scenarios above, to not have it is a frightening proposition.

In terms of pre-existing conditions, so long as that condition has been stable for the proscribed period, you will find coverage readily available.

But as I have warned many times in previous posts, never lie or even stretch the truth on an insurance medical questionnaire. Those who do will almost always be caught and denied coverage after the fact.

And whether you are very young or very old, your travel insurance purchase may end up being your best investment.

Going for a short bicycle ride can be good for you, but an accident could put you in the hospital for a lengthy and expensive stay.


Ambulance photo courtesy of


A fall from a bicycly ride could lead to a lengthy and expensive hospital stay.