According to Desjardins Financial Security's recent national survey, Canadians are planning to stay close to home for their leisure travel in the coming year. In fact, 57% expect to visit the US and 62% will travel within Canada*.
Among this last group of respondents, close to 1 in 4 aren't planning on purchasing travel insurance. The survey also pointed out that 91% of respondents agreed that personal safety is an important consideration when they travel. Despite this revelation, only 52% of respondents** intended to buy travel insurance for their next out-of-province or international trip.
"While safety is obviously an important factor for Canadians, it's clear that many are not taking steps to prepare for the unexpected when they travel," said François Morel, insurance sales consultant with Desjardins Financial Security. "For example, treating an uncomplicated lower leg or arm fracture in a US hospital could cost well in excess of $10,000 for an uninsured patient. Removal of the appendix, another common and unpredictable procedure, costs an average of $33,000."
Young travellers more carefree, take more risks than their older counterparts
Young people aged 18 to 24 were much less likely to always carry travel insurance. Among those respondents, only 42.1% say that they always carry travel insurance when they travel out of province, compared to 63.2% overall. They tended to be much more cavalier about the need for insurance when traveling south of the boarder. This is alarming considering they are more likely to take part in risky sports or activities (57.7% compared to 37.2% overall) and less likely than the average Canadian to take precautions against illnesses not generally found in Canada (71.8% compared to 85.5% overall).
"Our results show that this combination of riskier behaviour and a lower likelihood of being insured means that younger people may be especially vulnerable when travelling” said Morel. “Parents whose young adult children are planning summer vacations should consider encouraging them to purchase travel insurance. Young people may not always realize the risks – or the tremendous cost of emergency health care if necessary."
Even within Canada, medical costs incurred outside of the home province are not completely covered. Interprovincial agreements exist but usually require that a patient must pay up front, and coverage varies widely by province. Morel suggests that no matter the out-of-province destination purchasing travel insurance should be top of your to-do list. For more information about the Desjardins Financial Security 2012 health survey, visit www.desjardinslifeinsurance.com. To learn more about DFS travel insurance, visit the Going on a Trip section at www.desjardinslifeinsurance.com.
* 1/3 of those traveling in Canada will travel outside their province of residence
** Quebec and Ontario respondents only