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How to get the most out of your travel insurance

Peace of mind is a worthwhile investment for the frequent traveller. Here’s how to get it

Mar 26, 2012

by Robin Schroffel

Every day, millions of people travelling for business have to contend with crappy weather, virulent superbugs and heavy-handed baggage wranglers, not to mention the occasional erupting volcano or terrorist threat. There is an almost limitless potential for disaster – and that’s why there’s travel insurance.

Travel insurance can be the business traveller’s best friend, says David Brenner, Western Canada regional director with RBC Insurance. “There was a time when the business traveller relied on business-class tickets that were fully refundable and changeable, but that’s changed,” he says. Today, insurance is there to save your behind – and your bottom line – when a conference is cancelled and you’ve got a non-refundable ticket, or a snowstorm shuts down Minneapolis-St. Paul International and you’re not keen on sleeping across a row of seats.

There are many different types of travel insurance out there, and each addresses a different need.

More interesting for business travellers are the deluxe or comprehensive insurance packages, which encompass all of the above and offer the best value.

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Most travel insurance companies also offer a multi-trip annual plan that makes sense for anyone travelling more than three times a year. These plans cover you for unlimited trips of a certain number of days each, and can be topped up with extra days if needed.

You can tweak your coverage with policy riders, which are available for a few additional dollars and entitle you to extra benefits like transportation on the same-class ticket and entertainment expenses in case of flight delays or cancellations. And a number of scenarios, or “risks,” are specifically targeted toward people involved in business. If a meeting is cancelled for reasons beyond your control, you can be reimbursed for the non-refundable costs of your travel arrangements. There are also risks that pertain to small business owners: if a key employee gets too sick to work, travel insurance will cover the cost of a one-way flight home.

“Whether or not someone is travelling on leisure or business, all the risks still apply,” Brenner says. “It’s very important that they take the time to see what coverage they do have and ways to top up the necessary parts of their coverage.”

Culture Smart! Guides

Don’t be caught giving the A-OK sign while doing business in Brazil or shaking left hands in the Middle East. Learn the dos and don’ts, customs, traditions and subtleties of both business and leisure travel with Culture Smart! guides, available for more than 80 countries. Bone up before you go to avoid making a deal-breaking faux pas.
US$9.95 www.amazon.com

Air Tamer Travel Air Purifier

Being sealed in a metal tube with 200 other travellers is a pretty good way to pick up their germs. Create your own clean-air bubble with a travel air purifier, easily worn around the neck. By emitting negative ions, it forces any viruses and bacteria lurking within a one-metre sphere out of your airspace and back into someone else’s.
US$80 www.magellans.com

Milockie Hotel Safe Lock

The hotel may be high-end, but can you trust its staff? Keep your valuables inaccessible to hotel employees by using one of these personal locks, compatible with most hotel-room safes. It also works on gym and resort lockers.
US$69.95 www.corporatetravelsafety.com

Travel Safety for Canadian Businesses

Employees who travel for work, as well as supervisors and management, can all benefit from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s new e-course on travel safety. Travel risk assessment, dealing with travel incidents and personal safety measures are just a few of the topics covered in the one-hour, on-demand session. Huge discounts are available for multi-seat licensing.
$80 www.ccohs.ca

Pacsafe Scansafe Checkpoint-Friendly Laptop Brief

Never again fumble with your laptop at airport security while a line of cranky passengers forms behind you. With Pacsafe’s line of checkpoint-approved laptop cases, it’s no longer necessary to take your computer out of the bag before sending it down the conveyor belt. A slash-proof shoulder strap and eXomesh panels offer an additional benefit: protection from thieves.
US$95.99 www.pacsafe.com

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