How to Make Sense of Travel Insurance Lingo

By Karen Kwan

Buying a travel insurance policy can be confusing. A big reason for that is the presence of terms and phrases that might perplex people, especially those who are first-time buyers. 

Consequently, this could also lead to people purchasing travel insurance policies in haste without understanding how the insurance coverage impacts their travel plans. 

Lori Madsen, General Manager of Insurance Services with CAA Saskatchewan, believes that people must take their time to thoroughly review a policy when purchasing travel insurance. 

A trip is a big investment, so you want to be protected—especially in this day and age,” she says. “Look at all the facts and figures to make sure the coverage suits you and be sure you understand all the lingo used in the policy.”  

Read on to understand the travel insurance lingo that many insurance consultants often use. This will empower you to purchase the most comprehensive coverage for your trip.


Pre-Existing Condition 

A condition for which you’ve experienced symptoms, received medical advice, treatment, been diagnosed or investigated, or have been prescribed or changed medication before the start of your travel health insurance.  

Many people assume a pre-existing condition disqualifies them from purchasing travel insurance, but a rider (explained below) can sometimes make it possible to get insurance. 



To qualify for a standard insurance policy, a pre-existing condition must be stable. 

This means that your prescriptions have remained the same or you haven’t started or stopped any treatment for a set period (typically 7, 90, or 180 days) before your trip.  

For example, if your doctor changed the dosage of your blood pressure medication a few days before departure, your condition would be deemed not stable. 



An add-on that provides extra coverage that is not included in a standard insurance policy.  

For instance, if you have a pre-existing condition, you can purchase a rider for coverage that may reduce your stability period (for example from 90 days to 7 days).  

Some of the other riders include adventurous air activities (for parasailing or hot air balloon rides), professional sports, and speed contests. 



The term exclusion refers to anything outlined in your policy that is not covered at the time of purchase.  

For example, some travel insurance policies might not provide coverage for the loss (or theft) of your personal belongings during a trip if you leave your belongings unattended. 

Another example is if a travel warning is in place for your destination, but you book a trip anyway and later had to cancel, it would count as an exclusion because you were aware of the warning when you booked the trip and bought the insurance policy. 


Travel Advisory 

Whenever there is a heightened risk to the lives of people while travelling to a specific destination, the government issues official warnings against travel to those destinations.  

These official warnings are known as travel advisories. 

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, The Canadian government issued a global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside the country.  

For the latest updates, check with your local CAA Travel consultant or visit the official government travel advisories webpage. 



When purchasing travel insurance, you’ll be asked a few questions to ensure that you’re eligible. 

For example, if you’ve been advised by a doctor against travel, if you’ve been prescribed home oxygen for a lung condition, if you’ve undergone any bone marrow or organ transplants, etc. 

If you answer yes, you may not be able to purchase travel insurance through that provider. 



The term deductible refers to a pre-set amount that you agree to pay if you must make a claim. 

Upon paying the deductible amount, you will be eligible to receive your coverage benefits from your insurance provider, who will then take care of the remaining cost. 

The deductible amount also determines the cost of your travel insurance premium. The higher the deductible, the lower the policy premium. 


Policy Premium 

Speaking of which, a premium refers to the amount that you pay an insurance provider in exchange for receiving the insurance coverage. 

The premium depends on multiple factors, including the type of policy you choose, the riders included, the exclusions, the duration, the destination, etc.  


Sum Insured 

The amount that you’ll be covered for under your travel insurance policy is known as the sum insured. 

For example, if the sum insured amount on your policy states $50,000, then that is the coverage amount for you in case you need to make a claim.


Here’s How CAA Can Help You 

Now that you have a good understanding of travel insurance lingo, it’s time to buy a policy that’ll cover you and your loved ones on your next trip. 

No matter where you travel, with CAA Travel Insurance1, you’ll always have the peace of mind that you’re protected against the financial impacts of illness, emergencies, and the unexpected.  

Being a part of the CAA family as a member also allows you to enjoy a 10% discount2 on your travel insurance policy.  

Plus, CAA assistance3 is available virtually 24/7, 365 days per year, which means that if you need emergency medical assistance or have a question, you’ll never have to worry about time again. 

Take the stress out of travelling by choosing Canada's most trusted brand.

Travel Insurance

1CAA Travel Insurance is provided by Orion Travel Insurance and underwritten by Echelon Insurance. Certain exclusions, limitations, and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire may be required to purchase travel insurance. 

2Applies to CAA Members in good standing with dues paid in full by membership expiry date. 10% savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance. 

3CAA Assistance is provided by Active Care Management Inc. Telemedicine and House Call Services availability may vary depending on geographical locations and current emergency medical conditions.  

For complete CAA Travel Insurance details refer to the policy guide.

Tags: CAA Insurance, Travel Insurance