I’m lying here in a Canadian Hospital in what is without a doubt the most pain I have ever been in. After being rushed to hospital while on our snowboard trip between Japan and The Canadian Rockies I am admitted in to hospital not for a torn ACL not for a broken collarbone that would be more fitting for someone that has been on hill everyday without any regard for his personal safety. But I’m in hospital praying to whatever higher power there is to take mercy on me and for that all to relaxed nurse to give me some Morphine. After X-rays and and ultrasound around my abdomen its conclusive… Bloody…kidney….stones. I’m feeling every one of my 31 years and cursing everything that might have done this to me (mostly myself for too many drink yourself sober nights from my youth.)
The one thing that I’m not regretting is the assuring memory of my sweetheart having all our travel insurance details on hand and calling the emergency phone line to start what I thought was going to be the not so pleasant process of dealing with an insurance company on the other side of the world! It’s one of those rare times where I’m happy to be wrong! They answered straight away and we had constant contact with them and their medical team the whole time I was in hospital as well as the week I was in recovery making sure I was getting the best care.
After two of the longest days that I’d rather forget, 2 hospitals an hour long ambulance ride to Calgary and an eye opening procedure called a Ureteroscopy from a friendly Urologist (I hope this never happens to you) I’m left with a invoice from Alberta health in the amount of $9000! As a non resident I’m responsible to pay these outright with no assistance from the Canadian Government.
My Travel insurance company has been liaising with the hospital the whole time and we were only out of pocket for the original admitting fee ($800) and ambulance fee ($750) which was all reimbursed plus expenses (food, travel and phone costs) for the whole time I was in hospital.
Two weeks later I’m telling this story with humour and making light of what could have been a disastrous end to our trip and possibly a life changing incident. The experience left a lasting impression and I would never travel without insurance and pray that the dreaded kidney stones were a one off!
Here are some tips for shopping for travel insurance and getting the best coverage.A great policy will always include the following provisions:
1.Cover most countries in the world.
2.Some coverage for your electronics (and have the option for a higher coverage limit)
3.Cover injury and sudden illnesses.
4.Twenty-four hour emergency services and help (you don’t want to call to be told to call back later).
5.Cover lost, damaged or stolen possessions like jewellery, baggage, documents, cameras, etc.
6.Cover cancellations such as hotel bookings, flight, and other transportation bookings if you have a sudden illness, death in the family, or some other emergency.
7.Cover emergencies, strife in the country visited, etc., that cause you to head home early.
Epic Snow uses World Nomads as our preferred Travel insurance and are registered partners with them.
Travel safe and don’t forget to keep all your receipts to help with your claim!
*Me in Banff Mineral Springs Hospital. Note defective hospital gown.