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Buying travel insurance is key to stress-free vacationing: TICO

Last Updated Jun 13, 2017 at 7:32 pm EDT

A Toronto man is fighting for his life in a Vietnamese hospital after he was brutally attacked while on vacation.

Fifty-eight-year-old Han Ngo was on his family’s farm when we was hit over the head with a rock and beaten with wooden planks during a robbery. His son, Lang Ngo, says his father suffered brain trauma and remains in a vegetative state.

Unfortunately, the family has been struggling to bring him home due to the high medical costs they’ve already endured and wanted to share their story as a cautionary tale to always buy travel insurance.

“You never think something like this could happen,” said Lan. “If you’re looking at medical evacuation, it’s 100-thousand to 200-thousand dollars.”

A GoFundMe page has been set-up to try to recover some of the costs, but so far only $170 have been raised. Lang said they’ll need at least $100,000 in total.

In Ontario, two out of three people do not get insurance before leaving the country or the province even though it’s highly recommended. Will McAleer, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada says once you do get coverage, a little planning can also go a long way.

According to Ontario’s travel watch dog, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, the key to full protection is reading the fine print. Every policy is different as is every traveler and their potential needs.

“The thing you want to make sure is that you know what you’re covered for,” said McAleer. “Make sure you look at the certificate of insurance so you have no surprises.”

Lang said his father goes to Vietnam for six months once a year and travel insurance was never a thought. While Han luckily has relatives by his side at the hospital in Vietnam the goal is to bring him back to Canada to be with his wife and three kids.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before buying travel insurance, according to Will McAleer, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association:
– Know your health status before you leave on your trip
– Pre-plan your trip so you know the risks you’re going to be taking
– Make sure you’re covered for accidents and sickness
– Read over your coverage plan