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A spring break could be costly on your family vacation

Treatment for a broken limb in Florida can cost up to $35,000 without insurance

MISSISSAUGA, March 9, 2010— March ushers in the start of a busy travel season with one-in-10 (10 per cent) Canadians planning to travel outside of Canada this month for Spring Break, according to a recent RBC Poll.

"Spring Break is a popular time to travel, whether it's a quick one-day cross border stop with the kids or a longer trip to a sunny destination," said Tim Bzowey, vice-president, Travel, RBC Insurance. "What parents may not be aware of is the high cost of medical care outside Canada for minor injuries like sprains or an asthma attack."

Parents could expect to pay up to $1,000 if their child sprained an ankle in the Mayan Riviera and up to $750 if their child suffered an asthma attack in Buffalo that required a visit to a local hospital.

"Employer plans or credit cards may offer travel insurance coverage, but it's wise to compare benefits," adds Bzowey. "Credit cards often provide coverage for a shorter number of days or restrict the amount you can claim, and employment benefits may not cover all medical emergencies or may limit travel benefits."

Travellers depending on government health insurance plans (GHIP) should also know that only a small portion of out-of-country medical costs are covered by GHIP. For example, a broken leg in Florida could cost $35,000 with only $2,000 covered by GHIP.

Furthermore, as more Canadians choose to fly to their destinations from U.S. airports, such as Buffalo or Seattle, it's important they are insured from the date they leave home, and not the date of their flight. An unexpected accident en route to the airport could spoil travel plans and cost a family their entire trip.

RBC Insurance is reminding families travelling south of the border to review their existing travel medical insurance to ensure they have comprehensive coverage, even if they're only crossing the border for the day.

Here are five points Canadian travellers should consider before heading south of the border with their family:

  • Are there any gaps in your travel insurance coverage? Government health plans, employee plans and credit cards may only provide a limited amount of coverage.

  • Does your travel insurance extend to your children? Many employer plans have an age limit for children being covered under their parents' insurance.

  • Who will care for your child if you become ill or injured? Travel insurance can help ensure that arrangements are made for the safe return of your child back home.

  • Are you prepared to handle additional costs? Unexpected expenses such as hospital fees, an extended hotel stay and long distance phone calls can quickly add up.

  • Does your existing medical insurance coverage handle up front payments? Many hospitals and treatment centres require up front payment, which could rise as high as $20,000.

The RBC Poll is based on the results of an online survey of 1,064 Canadians, ages 18 and over, conducted by Ipsos Reid between February 9 and 12, 2010. This data represents the most timely and comprehensive snapshot of consumer attitudes regarding their finances and the economy in Canada. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled.

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 and business insurance services 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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For more information contact:
Margie McNeil, RBC Insurance, 905-606-1425, margie.mcneil@rbc.com