Canadians exposed to travel risks

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Travel insurance

A new travel insurance survey conducted by Forum Research for InsuranceHotline.com has revealed that many Canadians have misconceptions over travel and medical insurance, and that over one-quarter do not purchase travel insurance for themselves when taking a trip.

While 72 per cent of Canadians asked had purchased some form of travel or medical insurance for their recent travels, those who were considering foregoing travel insurance believed that: they were covered by their employee benefits (36 per cent); their credit card provided them with coverage (around 20 per cent); or they had provincial coverage for health insurance when travelling outside of Canada (over 37 per cent).

Anne Marie Thomas from InsuranceHotline.com commented on these figures, noting that oversights such as these are not surprising: “The general assumptions being made by many Canadians on what coverages they believe are in place or that are available to them illustrate an overall lack of awareness that could prove to be quite costly.”

In response, InsuranceHotline.com outlined some of the common misconceptions about insurance coverage. Namely, that one in five Canadians are unaware of lost luggage insurance; 24 per cent of Canadians are unaware of illness insurance; 43 per cent are unaware of insurance for missing connecting flights; 55 per cent are unaware of severe weather insurance; and 39 per cent are unaware of theft of goods or money insurance.

Thomas advised that travellers check with their credit cards, employee benefits and provincial insurance to see what coverage they actually have before they or a family member take their next trip.

The survey also highlighted that over one-quarter of Canadians travelling do not get any form of insurance for themselves and, in addition, a worrying 82 per cent of Canadians would not consider purchasing medical insurance for relatives from abroad, which could prove extremely problematic should a visiting family member find themselves in a medical emergency – hospital bed accommodation ranges between CAN$3,000-$5,000 per day.

A staggering number (41 per cent) of respondents asked said that they believed the cost of a four-hour emergency medical evacuation to be under $2,000 – in reality, the costs are going to be in the tens of thousands, warned Thomas. More concerning still, 39 per cent of 18-24-year-old Canadians believed that the cost would come in under $500.

Misconceptions around travel and medical insurance are not exclusive to Canada, but they do have a negative impact on travel plans, as well as costs to travellers, their families and the wider economy. It seems that more needs to be done to make Canadian consumers aware of what is and isn’t covered by their policies and the costs that can accrue should misfortune occur. An informed approach is always the best when it comes to ensuring travellers have the appropriate protection for their trips and those of their family.