Know Your Meds When Buying Travel Insurance



Travel insurance is as important as medication. Both protect you from what could be a catastrophe. Medication protects your health and travel insurance protects your bank account. An out-of-country claim could cost you tens of thousands of dollars because health care is expensive and, if you are hospitalized, getting home is out of your control.

The medications you take, or have taken, are important when you complete an application to purchase travel insurance. Most travel insurance applications require that you answer medical questions. Your answers will determine whether or not you are eligible to purchase the insurance and which rate table you should use to calculate the premium due. If you make mistakes and have a claim, your claim could be denied and you could be responsible to pay your medical expenses.


In the 28 years that Travel Insurance Office Inc. has been serving travelling Canadians, I have seen many common mistakes that could have been avoided. When you complete your application keep the following points in mind:

  • If you have a prescribed medication, you are being treated. If you are unsure what condition(s) is being treated, check with your doctor (not your pharmacist).

  • If you take a medication as a preventative, you are being treated. You may not have a diagnosis but the fact is, without the medication, you would have the medical condition(s).

  • If a doctor prescribes a medication, and expects you to take it, you are being treated. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have filled the prescription or taken the medication.

  • A puffer, inhaler, and rescue inhaler are considered taking medication regardless of how often you use them. Some medical questionnaires differentiate between whether or not the medication is taken daily or “as needed”.

  • Aspirin and Entrophen taken without a prescription may be considered treatment if you have had a stroke, TIA, heart attack, blood clots and some other medical conditions. Check with your insurance provider to confirm.

  • A medication you used to take may be relevant if the medical questionnaire has a time frame such as “In the past three years have you taken medication…”, or “Have you ever taken medication…”.


When you apply for travel insurance, you must answer all of the medical questions accurately. It is a good idea to keep a health record at home so you remember your health history. If you are in doubt consult your doctor (not your pharmacist) and know what is in your medical file. You will avoid making mistakes on an application and you will avoid having a claim denied and being responsible for your medical expenses.


Dan Donnelly is the President of Travel Insurance Office Inc. and a founding member of the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA). He has been serving travelling Canadians since 1991.


Travel Insurance Office Inc. has been serving Canadian travellers for 28 years and is one of the largest travel insurance brokers in Canada. It offers a range of products and some are exclusive and only available from this broker. It offers excellent service and there are no service charges or administration fees.

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