You'd think I wouldn't make travel insurance mistakes.
After all, I wrote A Complete Guide to Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers. I wrote Best Travel Insurance for Seniors: How to Find What’s Right for You. I even wrote When to Say No to Travel Insurance because I don't want to see people pay for things they don't need.
I preach the importance of travel insurance all the time. I never leave home without it.
However, occasionally, I make a mistake. And it seems that just before I make the mistake of traveling without insurance, something bad happens that reveals the problem.
That's what happened last week.
But let me backtrack a bit, and tell you about the first time this happened.
Travel Insurance Mistakes Happen to All of Us
In 2014 my mothers health was in decline. She got sick and was admitted to the emergency department, and then to the hospital on a Monday. I was supposed to leave for Peru the following Sunday. All week I watched the situation and decided on Friday that I would not go on my trip. That night I got in touch with my travel insurance company and was first told that I didn't have insurance.
I thought, that could not be the case and sure enough they looked farther and discovered that my insurance was due to end at midnight that night. If it had not been for my mother getting ill, I would have left home without travel insurance. I just do not do that. I do not think it wise.
Now, to my present day travel insurance mistake. Last Thursday I was preparing to leave for Bordeaux, France on Sunday. This is my annual trip with Simon, and it's going to be great. It's based on a house exchange. A woman in Bordeaux is coming to stay in our home, and we are going to stay at hers.
However, on that Thursday I lost my balance in the garden as I was trying to make it presentable for our guest. I reached for a stone wall to catch myself and torqued one finger way back. It was painful, but not terribly so. My hand didn't close properly, but it wasn't too weird. However, given that I was going to be leaving in a couple of days for a month, I decided to go to the hospital. Better to know than not.
To my surprise, my hand was broken! Then the learning began.
In the middle of the night, not being able to sleep, I went to check my travel insurance in case I was going to have to delay my trip as the emergency room doctor had suggested that surgery might be necessary. To my surprise, I discovered that Simon would not be insured on this trip. I had received the renewal notification, but had neglected to complete it. A serious travel insurance mistake. Yes, Simon would have been travelling uninsured.
Again, the problem of traveling without insurance was averted by something bad happening just before departure.
Coincidence? Surely. But a second reminder not to assume anything when it comes to coverage.
All is now well. The surgeon saw me on Friday, and was very pleased with the set that the ER doctor had done. She didn't believe that surgery would be necessary and gave me the go ahead to travel.
My thanks to the team at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto for providing such good and efficient care.
My advice to myself is to always check the insurance that I have at least a month before leaving. I should have known the danger I was putting myself into on both occasions. As with all travelers, things can happen.