Most Canadians leave their families exposed when it comes to travel insurance

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TORONTO, June 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — While 72 per cent of Canadians had some form of travel or medical insurance for recent travels, most leave their family under-insured, according to a survey released today by InsuranceHotline.com. The study showed over one half of Canadians (52 per cent) would not think to purchase insurance for their university or high school-aged children travelling abroad this summer.

“This oversight is not surprising and brings attention to assumptions around coverage Canadians often make regarding purchasing travel insurance for themselves and family members,” said Anne Marie Thomas from InsuranceHotline.com.

Coverage misconceptions

Of the respondents who were not likely to purchase travel insurance for their next trip, 36 per cent believe they are covered by their employee benefits and one in five believe they have insurance through their credit card. Additionally, over 37 per cent think they have provincial coverage for health insurance when travelling outside of Canada.

“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,” said Anne Marie Thomas. “Check with your credit cards, employee benefits and provincial insurance to see what coverage you actually have before you or a family member takes their next trip.”

Additional misconceptions of available insurance coverage

  • 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
  • 39 per cent are unaware of theft of goods or money insurance

The fact is Canadians are either unaware these insurance exist or typically do not think to ask for them, or generally assume that no harm will come to them while travelling.

While over one quarter of Canadians travelling do not get any form of insurance for themselves, when it comes to family members visiting Canada, a full 82 per cent would not consider purchasing medical insurance for relatives from abroad. This could be problematic if a family member from abroad is involved in a medical emergency and requires a hospital bed. Typically, accommodations range between $3,000-$5,000 per day depending on the hospital and choice of room.

“The reality is that Canadians are not alone in their passive approach to travel medical insurance,” said Anne Marie Thomas. “You should be equally diligent in making sure your family members visiting from abroad are covered, especially those who are elderly or considered higher risk.”

Travel insurance is recommended by the Government of Canada and helps safeguard your health, travel plans and finances while you’re away or while family is visiting. Without coverage, you will be solely responsible for what can easily become exorbitant medical bills or unexpected trip-related expenses. Comparing travel insurance quotes will help you to get the best rate and the best coverage for your needs.

Furthermore, Ontario residents should be aware of upcoming changes to travel coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). The Ontario provincial government is scrapping coverage for Ontario residents who require emergency medical services while travelling outside of Canada. The changes are expected to come into effect on October 1, 2019.

Policy coverage & cost examples*

  • 60-day coverage for student under the age of 30 travelling in Europe – $89/$1.50 day
  • 30-day medical coverage for student under the age of 30 travelling to Brazil – $51.60/$1.72 day
  • Three-week visit from parents both aged 65 in good health who live in Calcutta – $123.64/$5.89 day
  • Cousin aged 42 in good health visiting from Germany for four weeks – $50.85/$1.82 day

*all examples above are to illustrate relative costs and involve certain assumptions that may not be reflective of other considerations in finalizing available coverages

Emergency medical evacuation

The survey also revealed that 41 per cent of Canadians believe the cost of a four-hour emergency medical evacuation is under $2,000. Furthermore, 39 per cent of Canadians aged 18-24 believes the cost to be under $500.

“The reality of any emergency evacuation for medical reasons is that your costs are going to be in the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Anne Marie Thomas. “Furthermore, there is a good chance this cost will be compounded by the hospital visit they are being sent home from.”

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