Your Travel Insurance Questions Answered by Experts Leave a comment

I’d like to introduce you to Terra Baykal, Pam Langevin, and Stan Sandberg, our next guests in the Solo Traveler Insiders Speaker Series. On Wednesday, October 12th they will be answering all of your questions about travel insurance. Whether you’re an adventurer, a senior, or have some other special needs or conditions, we’ve assembled a team of experts who can provide the answers to all your travel insurance questions.

I interviewed our speakers recently, so that you could get a brief introduction to them before the event. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did, Read about them in their mini-profiles below.

Terra Baykal, Senior Marketing Manager

World Nomads

How did you get into the travel insurance business and what do you specialize in?

In 2018 I was eager to get back into the travel industry after working in advertising for a few years. I found a position at World Nomads that was an ideal fit given my experience, and though I had no experience with travel insurance or this industry, I dove into the opportunity. All my insurance knowledge has come from my time at World Nomads. A mix of professional training, insurance licensing and conversations with product managers, underwriters, and actuaries. I specialize in marketing, so it’s critical for me to have a deep understanding of our insurance products to educate customers and showcase the value that travel insurance offers travelers.

What’s a common mistake people make with travel insurance?

Purchasing their travel insurance too late. I have talked to many family members and friends who purchase a policy after an event happens, only to find out that certain benefits such as trip cancellation do not apply to their situation. Trip cancellation benefits apply to unforeseen events, so once a hurricane is named or you are declared too sick to travel by a doctor, it’s too late to take out a policy and have trip cancellation benefits apply to those known events. I always urge people to buy travel insurance once they have made an investment in their trip. Bake it into your purchase flow – flights, accommodation, travel insurance.

Tell us a bit about your own travels and/or the next destination on your list.

I was a late bloomer when it came to travel, but once I started, I was hooked. I’ve traveled to 16 countries across North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Most recently I spent three weeks backpacking across Europe on my own, meeting other travelers and connecting with friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen for years. I tend to lean towards adventure travel and am always looking to activities that get my blood pumping. While I was in Europe, I had the opportunity to bike through London, hike around Ireland, stand-up paddleboard in Spain and surf in Portugal.

Stan Sandberg, Co-Founder

How did you get into the travel insurance business and what do you specialize in?

My co-founder, Drew Sharma, and I started with the objective to simplify the way people research, shop for, and purchase travel insurance. We partnered with the top travel insurance carriers, such as Travel Guard, Generali, and AXA Assistance, to provide an easy and fully transparent shopping experience.

What’s something that everyone would be surprised to know about travel insurance?

One of the more common misconceptions about travel insurance is that you can only buy it when it is first offered at the time you purchase your airfare or hotels. And if you don’t buy it then, you can’t buy it later. You can purchase travel insurance at any time right up until the day prior to your departure date. Timing is important if you want to purchase a plan with a pre-existing condition exclusion waiver, or a plan that offers a cancel for any reason optional upgrade. Those time sensitive benefits require that you purchase your insurance within a strict time frame from when you make your first deposit or payment towards a trip.  That time frame can range from 7 to 21 days depending on the provider and plan. 

Tell us a bit about your own travels and/or the next destination on your list.

I went to Corsica last July and found the island to be incredibly beautiful. It offers spectacular beaches, a multitude of hiking trails, and not surprisingly, amazing food. For avid hikers, I would recommend going to Corsica either in the fall or spring when the temperatures aren’t as hot. It’s easy to get to through any major European airport. 

Pam Langevin, Broker

Med-Quote Insurance Brokers

How did you get into the travel insurance business and what do you specialize in?

Quite by accident. I found out about an administrative opening at Medi-Quote Insurance Brokers and after working in the administration area for a year, I was approached to become a broker. I truly enjoy being in a position that provides customer service and helps people. In addition to providing travel medical coverage to individuals traveling for pleasure, we provide coverage for students traveling abroad, visitors coming into Canada, trip cancellation & interruption coverage as well as health & dental benefits packages for individuals that do not have coverage through their employer or who have retired.

What’s a common mistake people make with travel insurance?

Not properly understanding a question on an application form and not disclosing a medical condition.  For example, some insurance companies include a simple hiatus hernia in their definition of a gastrointestinal condition.

Tell us a bit about your own travels and/or the next destination on your list.

I have been very fortunate in being able to travel to some wonderful destinations!  I was able to enjoy Prince Edward Island, as a teen in a school exchange program, where I fell in love with the emerald green grass against the red soil. In 2001, I was able to take my two boys to Churchill to see the polar bears. If that is not on your to-do list you should add it. We were lucky that year and were able to see not only the big males, but also the females with cubs. Normally you only get one or the other, but the ice was late and so there was a mix. In 2008, a friend who worked as a travel agent was able to take a trip to Jamaica and chose me to go along with her. What an amazing place. And finally, the last place I was able to visit was in 2019 when my husband traveled for work to Grand Cayman Island. Of course, as a dutiful wife, I needed to tag along to make sure he was eating properly!

Join us for our October 12th edition of the Solo Traveler Insiders Speaker Series featuring Terra Baykal, Pam Langevin, and Stan Sandberg. The world of travel has changed so much during the pandemic and travel insurance has never been more complicated. Let our experts help to take the pain out of that area of travel planning so that you can just focus on being excited for your trip. Get your questions ready! To participate in our virtual chat and ask your own questions, join the Solo Traveler Insiders.

Last updated: 28th September, 2022

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