If you're planning a trip, it's important to pack the essentials.

But besides clothes, outlet adapters and toiletries, a good travel insurance policy is a must-have for helping to cover unexpected situations while you’re away.

But how much do you really know about travel insurance? Here are seven unexpected benefits of travel insurance to consider for your next trip.

1. Pre-existing conditions may be covered

Unlike many health insurance policies, a pre-existing condition may not be a barrier to purchasing travel insurance. Depending on your insurer, you may be able to get covered with a minor or major health issue. To find out, you have to disclose all health issues at the time of purchase and your condition must be stable for a set period of time before your trip departure date. Always ensure you speak to a licensed insurance advisor about any pre-existing medical conditions.

2. Traveling regularly could lower your costs

Travel insurance doesn’t have to be single-serving. If you plan to travel outside your home province, territory, or country more than twice a year, you can save on travel coverage by purchasing a multi-trip annual plan option versus a single-trip plan.

3. You can get coverage for short trips

You don’t need to book a lengthy trip to take advantage of travel insurance benefits. For example, RBC offers travel insurance packages with durations as short as four days. That means not having to pay for more coverage than you’ll actually use.

4. Extra costs may be covered if your trip is interrupted or cancelled

Travel insurance is primarily designed to cover you in medical emergencies, but you can choose a non-medical package if that’s a better fit for your needs. This kind of policy covers things like trip cancellation and interruption, baggage loss, damage or delay, and flight or travel accidents. For example, if your trip is cut short by an earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster, your travel coverage could reimburse you any covered costs, including non-refundable prepaid travel expenses. And travel assistance is just a phone call away!

5. Your travel policy can do more than get you home

In a medical emergency, travel insurance can help pay for travel arrangements to get you back to your home province. But, your policy may also cover the cost of returning your children, pets or vehicle along with you.

6. You can extend coverage if you extend your trip

Your travel policy doesn’t have to run out if you end up travelling longer than you anticipated. If you have single-trip coverage, you may be able to extend the policy.

7. Your policy can cover living expenses if an issue delays your return

If an emergency keeps you away from home, your travel insurance may provide a daily allowance to cover basic living expenses in the interim. That includes things like hotel accommodations, meals, internet usage fees, taxi fares or rental car fees and telephone charges.

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This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.