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About RBC > Media Newsroom > News Releases > Young and Carefree: RBC Poll Finds Young Travellers Taking Risk without Travel Insurance

Young and Carefree: RBC Poll Finds Young Travellers Taking Risk without Travel Insurance

TORONTO, July 26, 2011 —As Canadians travel south of the border, almost half (44 per cent) between the ages of 18 and 34 say they rarely or never purchase travel insurance when travelling to the United States, according to a recent RBC Insurance survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid. More than half (56 per cent) of young travellers don't take the time to understand what their travel insurance covers before they leave on their trip.

"Young travellers often forget about travel insurance in the excitement of planning a trip," said Tim Bzowey, vice-president, Travel, RBC Insurance. "Travelling without insurance can have some serious consequences and since this age group tends to be more active when they travel, their chances of needing emergency medical care may be increased."

Other misconceptions young travellers have include:

  • More than a third (34 per cent) of young Canadians say that they don't need travel insurance if they're only travelling to the United States because their provincial health plan will cover their medical costs.
    • However, a two day hospital stay for a broken leg in California can cost up to $8,000 per day and the average provincial health plan would pay only $200 daily, leaving the individual responsible for the $7,800 difference. In comparison, a 30 year old travelling for eight days in the U.S. could buy full emergency medical travel insurance for just $33.

  • Surprisingly, the survey finds that 84 per cent of young travellers believe that they don't need to buy travel insurance if they are travelling to another province within Canada.
    • However, government health insurance plans (GHIP) may limit the reimbursement of emergency medical expenses once travellers leave their home province. For example, an air ambulance with a full medical team travelling from Calgary to Toronto can cost $24,000 and is not covered by GHIP.

  • Young Canadians also assume that they are covered through existing travel insurance plans; fifty-seven per cent believe that they don't need to buy travel insurance because they have sufficient coverage through their work or credit card.
    • These plans may have limits or restrictions on claim amounts, the number of travel days, age and certain types of medical emergencies.

"There is often confusion and misconceptions around the different types of insurance available," added Bzowey. "It's important to understand what your needs are and the different types of travel insurance available to ensure financial protection against any unexpected travel situations."

Travel Insurance Tips

  • Review existing insurance coverage before every trip. Credit cards often provide coverage for a limited number of days or limit the amount you can claim and may not provide coverage after age 65. Employment plans may not cover all medical emergencies, may limit travel benefits, and usually don't include up-front payments of medical expenses, 24-hour multilingual support, assistance in finding a local doctor or hospital, emergency transportation by air ambulance and transportation for a bedside companion.

  • Understand what your Government Health Insurance Plan covers. GHIP typically cover only a limited portion of your medical expenses once you leave your province or the country. For example, it doesn't cover medical expenses such as an air ambulance trip back to your home province.

  • Learn about the different types of coverage available and select (a) plan(s) based on your needs.
    • Emergency Medical Travel Insurance - Covers you if you are in an accident or become ill and need emergency medical treatment while you are outside your home province - even if you are travelling within Canada.
    • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance - Trip cancellation insurance covers your non-refundable travel arrangements when you have to cancel your trip. Trip interruption benefits cover you when you have to come home early, or stay later at your destination.
    • Lost Baggage and Personal Effects Insurance - This type of insurance provides protection against lost, stolen or damaged baggage and will often cover some of the costs for the replacement of a lost or stolen passport, driver's licence or birth certificate. It also provides coverage for necessary expenses if your baggage is delayed en route to your destination.


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, call 1-800-565-3129 or visit a local RBC Insurance retail branch.

These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey conducted between May 13 - 24, 2011. The online survey of 3,931 adult Canadians was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with 100 per cent response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of ±2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Margins of error for subgroups will be higher.

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For more information:
Margie McNeil, Senior Manager, Communications, RBC Insurance
905 606-1425

Angela Gordon, Advisor, Communications, RBC Insurance
905 816-5650