Risky business: Canadians brace for increased travel costs,
but many risk more by travelling without insurance: RBC Insurance
Mississauga, ON - June 26, 2008 — As soaring
gas prices and higher travel costs hit Canadian travellers,
a new survey by RBC Insurance and Ipsos Reid suggests many
travellers don't feel the need to protect their travel investment.
The survey reports that 37 per cent of Canadians never purchase
travel insurance when travelling on vacation to the United
States, a country where medical costs are among the highest
in the world. These Canadians are left potentially exposed
to the high costs of the U.S. healthcare system. In fact,
a four-day stay in a U.S. hospital for an appendectomy could
cost US$39,400, with only CDN$1,600 covered by a government
health insurance plan (GHIP). A one-day stay in a U.S. hospital
for a broken arm and wrist could cost US$32,600, with only
CDN$400 covered by a GHIP.
"As fuel costs rise and the economy slows, travellers
may be exposed to increased travel costs and capacity cuts;
so the need to protect their investment is even greater now,"
said Stan Seggie, president and CEO of the travel insurance
division of RBC Insurance. "Comprehensive travel insurance
including trip interruption, trip cancellation and travel
emergency medical insurance will help protect them."
Many Canadians also assume they are covered through existing
travel plans. For example, the survey shows 43 per cent of
travellers feel they don't need to buy travel insurance because
they have sufficient coverage through work or their credit
Often these plans don't offer features such as up-front payments
of medical expenses (when possible), 24-hour multilingual
support, assistance in finding a local doctor or hospital,
emergency transportation by air ambulance and coverage extending
to children. In addition, there may be limits or restrictions
on claim amounts, number of travel days, age and certain types
of medical emergencies.
"Travel insurance is a minor cost for most vacationers.
At a time when travellers are paying more for fuel and other
goods and services, the last thing they want to see is a large
travel medical bill," said David Redekop, principal research
associate, Conference Board of Canada. "Purchasing travel
insurance when travelling to another province or country is
one of the most prudent purchases a traveller can make."
The survey also reports that 55 per cent of Canadian travellers
never purchase travel insurance when they travel outside their
home province but within Canada. Sixty-two per cent of Canadians
believe they don't need to purchase travel insurance when
travelling to another province within Canada because they
believe their provincial health plans will cover their medical
In fact, government health insurance plans may limit reimbursement
for expenses such as land and air ambulance services and X-rays.
An air ambulance with a full medical team travelling from
Calgary to Toronto, for example, can cost $28,000 and is not
covered by a GHIP.
"When Canadians plan for a summer trip, their main focus
is on having fun, not whether they may need to cancel the
trip at the last minute or get sick while away," added
Seggie. "However, before they leave, Canadians need to
ask themselves if they could afford to pay out thousands in
hospital bills or lose the cost of their vacation. If they
can't, they need to consider purchasing travel insurance."
These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey
conducted between March 27 and April 10, 2008. The poll was
based on a randomly selected sample of 2,251 adult Canadians,
who were interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size,
the results are considered accurate to within ±2.19
19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire
adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error
will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings
of the survey population. The data was statistically weighted
to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects
that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001
RBC Insurance offers a wide range of travel insurance products.
For more information when making travel arrangements, ask
a travel agent about RBC Insurance, go online to www.rbcinsurance.com,
call 1-800-565-3129 or visit a local RBC Insurance retail
About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance, through its operating entities, including RBC
Insurance Company of Canada, Assured Assistance Inc., and
The Liberty Marketing Corporation, provides a wide range of
travel, life, health, home, auto, business, and reinsurance
products, as well as creditor insurance products to more than
five million North American customers. The company is the
leading provider of travel insurance and emergency assistance
services in Canada and has also expanded into the U.S. travel
insurance market. Its travel insurance operations draw on
more than 40 years of professional experience and provide
a wide range of products and services through a network of
over 4,000 travel agencies, as well as over the Internet,
through retail insurance branches and bank channels, to more
than three million individual and corporate customers annually.
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