March 18, 2021 by Don Lewthwaite
Our experienced Insurance Law team can offer comprehensive services to our clients in insurance related matters. Our primary objective is to obtain a favourable resolution for our clients in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Our insurance law practice involves representing both those insured and insurers in disputes and subrogated claims involving several issues.
Two kinds of insurance that is highly recommended by senior partner Don Lewthwaite is tenant insurance if you are renting a place to live and once traveling begins again, travel medical insurance is a must. Don talks about both kinds of insurance in detail and tells us why they are so important.
I have two topics today; tenants insurance and travel medical insurance. Both policies are intended to protect your financial well-being and our products that I recommend.
Dealing first with tenants insurance that obviously, is intended for rental accommodation and generally speaking it covers three things; contents, liability to others who are injured on the premises and living expenses when you are forced out of your dwelling. We have all seen television news reports on fires at rental apartments and the poor folks that were living there now find themselves out on the street. Frequently the commentator will mention that they did not have insurance and of course what he/she is talking about is “tenants insurance” and if those folks had tenants insurance here's what would happen. Usually within a matter of hours after the event and making a claim they would receive a cheque from the insurance company to get them over the initial hump, buying some clothing, buying some food and locating some accommodation. Thereafter they would likely be put up in a hotel at the insurance company's expense and in due course the value of all of their contents that were destroyed or damaged in the event would be paid for. That's opposed to being broke and homeless and it's for that reason that I recommend tenants insurance if you are a renter and perhaps equally important is the fact that it is not expensive. It usually amounts to a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand dollars.
The next topic I would like to discuss is travel medical insurance. If you fall sick or are injured outside of Canada you will pay vast sums of money for medical treatment unless you have travel medical insurance. But, and this is important, travel medical insurance companies are not interested in ensuring sick people. The insurance will cover accidents and unexpected medical emergencies but if you have a pre-existing medical condition that flares up while you're on holidays there's a chance that the medical expenses associated with that will not be covered.
Let me explain, let's say you have a heart condition and it’s controlled by medication the travel insurance company will say, if that condition is stable for 90 days before you leave the country and then flares up we will cover the medical expenses, but of course that raises the question what does stable mean? Well that, as you might expect depends on the policy, both the definition of stability and the time frame during which you must be stable will vary from policy to policy, for that reason you likely need a professional to assist you when your purchasing travel medical insurance. Therefore if you have that insurance and you have an accident while you are out of the country or you are hospitalized because of a new or unexpected medical condition you will be covered and if you have a pre-existing medical condition that flares up that was “stable” within the definition of the policy before you left that will be covered generally as well. But there is one other wrinkle and I think the best way I can explain it is to give you an example. Let’s say you rent a condo down in Arizona for the winter and you go and get travel insurance to cover you while you are down there. During your stay something unexpected medically comes up, let's say some abdominal distress and you are hospitalized for that. That hospitalization will be covered by the medical insurance that you took out, but after you are discharged let's say you feel pretty good and you know you have spent a lot of money to rent this condo for the winter I don't think I'm going to go home I think I'll just stay here and ride it out and the abdominal distress comes back with a vengeance and again you are in the hospital, the travel insurance company will not pay for that second hospitalization because that would be considered by them to be a pre-existing condition that most definitely was not stable.
The moral of the story is if you get sick you treated and your discharged come home. Now it's been said that insurance contracts are just a bet where you win if you lose and you lose if you win, travelling abroad without travel medical insurance exposes you to financial ruin, so go to a few brokers, protect your assets and enjoy your trip.