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Media Advisory
RBC Insurance Advises Cross Border Travellers:Get Adequate Travel And Auto Insurance

TORONTO, MARCH 8, 2011— As more and more Canadians drive across the border to access less expensive flights for U.S. and foreign travel , RBC Insurance reminds travellers to protect themselves with comprehensive emergency travel medical, as well as ensure they have adequate liability coverage on their auto insurance - even if they are just visiting for the day.

"Many Canadians don't think about emergency medical or auto insurance when it comes to driving across the U.S. border for short periods, because they are so close to home," said Tim Bzowey, vice-president, auto and travel insurance, RBC Insurance. "Even if it's just for a few hours, there are serious financial risks associated with not having adequate auto and/or emergency travel medical insurance anytime you're driving in the U.S."

FACTS AND TIPS:

Auto Insurance:

  • Before driving to the U.S., Canadians need to remember to check the impact of their coverage with their auto insurance provider and make sure they have sufficient coverage to match their specific needs.
  • One of the most important protections in your auto insurance policy is liability insurance, which can help protect you financially if you're in an accident and found legally responsible for injuring someone or causing damage to another vehicle or property - up to your insured limit.
  • In Canada, it's mandatory to have minimum third-party liability insurance of $200,000, except in Quebec and Nova Scotia, where the minimums are $50,000 and $500,000 respectively.
  • Most drivers purchase $1 million in liability coverage, but for those who frequently drive to the U.S., where the ability to sue is not restricted to serious injuries and liability settlements and can be extremely expensive, it's highly recommended to purchase $2 million. It's usually only a fraction of the cost of your current insurance premium.
  • If you are found legally responsible for injuring someone or causing damage to another vehicle or property, and the cost of damages exceed your liability coverage limit, you may be held personally responsible for paying the excess.

    For example, if the courts ordered you to pay a million dollars in damages and you only have $200,000 in liability coverage, you would have to pay the remaining $800,000 out-of-pocket.

Travel Insurance:

  • Medical assistance in the U.S. can be very expensive. A two-day stay in a U.S. hospital for chest discomfort could cost US$10,800.
  • Government health insurance plans typically do not cover all out-of-country expenses. For example, an appendectomy, which usually involves a one-day stay, could cost US $10,000, with only US$1,100 covered by the health plan.
  • Review your credit card contracts and any existing policies before you travel. Credit cards often provide coverage for a limited number of days or limit the amount travellers can claim and not all credit cards offer medical insurance coverage. Employment benefits may not cover all medical emergencies and have limited travel benefits.
  • Check any existing travel insurance coverage to make sure it extends to your children, as many policies have age limits for children covered under their parents' insurance.
  • For travellers who cross the border multiple times a year (and especially for last minute trips), a multi-trip annual insurance plan can save you money and takes the worry away from having to purchase travel insurance every time you plan a trip.

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Media contact:

Margie McNeil, Corporate Communications,
RBC, 905 606-1425, margie.mcneil@rbc.com

Tim Bzowey is available for media interviews.