Canadians Still Travelling Without Proper Insurance

A new study found that Canadians are taking unnecessary risks when it comes to protecting themselves on vacation – with close to a third (27%) of Canadians still travelling without proper insurance.

Of those who do get coverage, less than a quarter (23%) actually read their policy thoroughly to know what they’re covered for.

According to the Winter Vacation Confidence Index conducted by Ipsos for Allianz Global Assistance Canada, the biggest risk-takers are 18-34 year-olds, with 31% opting for no coverage. Regionally, Atlantic Canadians, at 36%, are most likely to travel uninsured.

While 73% of Canadians do in fact purchase travel insurance, a concerning finding of the study is that only 23% take time to read their policy thoroughly. Some 38% say they scan it, while 13% say they don’t read it at all.

Dan Keon, vice-president, market management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada, observed: “Canadians are typically savvy travellers, but this lack of knowledge on the importance of travel insurance and what is covered, suggests we’re still taking unnecessary risks abroad.”

The percentage of Canadians who travel uninsured is even more surprising given that 37% of Canadian travellers indicated that their main concern while abroad was safety and security, with that number climbing to 40% among Boomers.

Said Keon: “When you consider that Canadians spend an average of $2,700 for an annual vacation, not having the protection of trip cancellation or interruption is a genuine financial risk. And if you are injured or fall ill, the cost of out-of-country healthcare can be devastating – easily in the thousands of dollars. For example, we know from our own claims experience that a broken ankle requiring surgery and admission to hospital in Florida could cost as much as $45,000.”

The study also indicates that Canadians obtain their travel insurance through a variety of means, led by workplace benefits plans (18%), purchasing when booking their trip (15%) and coverage through a credit card (14%). While only seven per cent of those surveyed indicated they buy travel insurance from a broker, which rises to 19% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and 14% in B.C.

As Keon sees it: “It is encouraging that most Canadians purchase travel insurance. But they need to understand that travel insurance doesn’t cover every situation. There are different types of insurance plans and levels of coverage so it is important that they review their policy thoroughly and speak to a travel insurance professional if they have questions.”

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