Canadians are ignoring travel insurance for short trips

Published: November 3, 2018

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While travel insurance is often advertised as an essential item, 99% of Canadians taking short one or two-day trips don’t bother buying coverage. Allianz Global Assistance Canada (AGAC) released a study that found less than 1.4% of medical travel insurance purchased through its channels are for one of two-day trips.

“That is concerning, especially when you consider how many Canadians take short trips,” said Dan Keon, vice president of market management with AGAC. “Over 12.5 million Canadians have travelled to the U.S. this year for at least one night, according to Statistics Canada.”

Clearly, most Canadians don’t feel the need to have travel insurance for short hops. However, even a minor broken bone can turn a bill of thousands of dollars at a hospital in the United States. Inpatient situations are even more costly and could cost people tens of thousands of dollars.

Keon says even short trips in Canada should be accompanied by adequate coverage. “Your provincial health insurance plan won’t necessarily cover all costs if you were to be injured or needed medical assistance. For example, ambulance transportation costs, whether by ground or air, are not covered by provincial health care plans in Canada, however, medical travel insurance provides for this eligible benefit to a covered limit.”

AGAC urges customers to purchase travel insurance immediately after they have booked their travel arrangements.

Happy Travelling

The results of the study arguably show Canadians are unknowledgeable on when to buy travel insurance. However, earlier in this year, a separate study showed Canadians are happy with travel coverage, when they buy it.

Earlier this year, Pollara Strategic Insights published data that showed over 80 per cent of participants with medical travel insurance are “satisfied with the product” and 98% had successful claims.

The study featured 1,200 adult Canadians. Satisfaction was high, and while many claims have been successful, they are the biggest cause of problems. 31% of participants who made a claim say they have an issue with the process. The chief issues were how long the claim took to process and an unclear system of requirements. However, it is worth noting the number of people unhappy with the claim declined over recent years, down 7% from 38% in 2015.