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Over Half of Canadians Don’t Purchase Travel Insurance: Surveys

Eye Opening

Recent surveys from three major Canadian travel insurance providers have all revealed one shocking conclusion: A large number of Canadians don’t purchase travel insurance before leaving on a trip.

Surprisingly, a large number of young Canadians believe (quite wrongly) that their Canadian provincial health coverage will cover them on a trip to the United States.

BMO Insurance’s new Summer Travel Insurance Study reports that six in ten Canadians don’t purchase travel insurance regularly before leaving Canada.

Only half of those polled know that they are primarily responsible for medical costs when outside Canada.

The results of BMO’s survey are strikingly similar to results from an earlier study by Desjardins Financial Security, reported earlier this year in Canadian Underwriter magazine. In the Desjardin’s poll, only 52% of Canadians intended to buy travel insurance for their next trip, either out of province or out of Canada. Interestingly, 91% of travellers in the Desjardins study agreed that personal safety was an important consideration when travelling .

Younger travellers were less likely to carry travel insurance, with only about 42% of Canadians aged 18 to 24 getting travel insurance for trips out of province.

The BMO and Desjardins survey results are echoed in results from an July 2011 RBC insurance survey. In the RBC survey, “Young and Carefree”, 44 percent of Canadians between 18 and 34 years of age rarely or never purchase travel insurance when heading to the United States. On top of this, 56 percent of young travellers don’t take time to understand their travel insurance coverage.

Says Tim Bzowey, vice-president, Travel, RBC Insurance, “Young travellers often forget about travel insurance in the excitement of planning a trip. Travelling without insurance can have some serious consequences and since this age group tends to be more active when they travel, their chances of needing emergency medical care may be increased.”

In the RBC survey, 34 percent of young Canadians said they believed their provincial health plan would cover their medical costs when traveling in the United States.

“While safety is obviously an important factor for Canadians, it’s clear that many are not taking steps to prepare for the unexpected when they travel,” said François Morel, insurance sales consultant with Desjardins Financial Security. “For example, treating an uncomplicated lower leg or arm fracture in a U.S. hospital could cost well in excess of $10,000 for an uninsured patient. Removal of the appendix, another common and unpredictable procedure, costs an average of $33,000.”

To find out more, check out Do I need travel insurance?

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