The Vast Majority of Canadians Do Not Purchase Travel Insurance
Purchasing travel insurance is one of the easiest decisions you will ever make. However, the sad reality is that many Canadians do not purchase proper coverage before they travel and in some cases medical expenses incurred in foreign countries have forced some families into bankruptcy.
In 2009, CBC News reported that Canadians made nearly 40 million day trips or overnight excursions to the US.1 This number does not include the number of travelers going abroad for vacations or business functions.
In 2012, the Toronto Sun reported that 6 in 10 people2 do not arrange for travel insurance coverage when leaving the country. Traveling without insurance is a risky venture and Canadians pay tens of millions of dollars each year for unexpected injuries or illnesses that require out-of country hospital care; even if only for a day trip.
Why Buy Travel Insurance?
Nearly everyone insures their vehicles, homes and life in the event of an accident, natural disaster or fire. So why are Canadians reluctant to buy travel insurance for the same reasons? Some think it is unnecessary; especially younger people who are generally in very good physical health. Others simply cannot justify the cost….that is, until they experience a problem when they are traveling. Here are a few reasons that you ‘should’ invest in travel insurance:
- Provincial governments cover only minimal expenses for out-of-country healthcare. Claims for those expenses can take months or even years to be settled.
- Accidents happen. They do not discriminate as to who and where they will strike. Something as simple as a broken leg can cost upwards of $20,000.00 in foreign medical expenses.
- In some countries, medical facilities will refuse to treat those that do not have medical insurance coverage.
Travel Insurance Providers
Various institutions can provide travel insurance that is based on the length of travel, age and pre-existing medical conditions. Travel agents, insurance brokers and credit card companies offer insurance but it is important that you understand the terms and conditions and any exclusions that the policy may carry. A few of the many questions to ask are:
- Does the policy have continuous coverage while you are away and is it renewable if your stay becomes extended?
- Does the underwriter have a 24 hour, English or French language emergency contact number?
- Do you have to pay for all applicable expenses and claim later or do they pay the institution up-front?
According to the Government of Canada’s web-site, the following incident occurred. ‘Gabrielle had insurance that lapsed three weeks before she was involved in an accident. Her Canadian family had to raise $300,000 over a three-day period to cover the costs of medical treatment and evacuation. Fortunately, she survived, but her family is left with a hefty debt to repay.’ 3
There are various types of travel insurance plans depending on your needs. Single and multi-trip policies as well as annual premiums are available. And if you are flying abroad, most plans also cover trip cancellation, loss or damage of luggage, flight and travel accidents.
Enjoy peace of mind with travel insurance for you and your whole family. Don’t risk the trip without coverage.