Anne Marie Thomas is an insurance expert with InsuranceHotline.com.
You did a survey recently of medical emergency and insurance. What were the key findings?
Thomas: The key findings are that while 72 per cent of Canadians had some form of travel or medical insurance for recent out-of-country travels, most leave their family under-insured, whether it be purchasing insurance for university or high school-aged children travelling abroad this summer or relatives visiting from out-of-country.
Specifically, the study showed over half of Canadians (52 per cent) would not think to purchase insurance for their dependents travelling alone and a full 82 per cent would not consider purchasing medical insurance for their family members from abroad.
Why are Canadians under-insured when it comes to insurance involving travel?
Thomas: It’s unfortunate, but the fact is many Canadians are either unaware of the many types of insurance coverage available to protect them, they typically do not think to ask for them, or generally assume that no harm will come their way while travelling.
Also, there are general assumptions made by Canadians on what coverages they believe are in place that fully cover them, when in actuality, only cover the bare minimum. The study revealed that 36 per cent believe they are covered by their employee benefits, 20 per cent believe they have insurance through their credit card and 37 per cent think that their provincial coverage will cover their health insurance when travelling outside of Canada.
What are the potential consequences of that?
Thomas: The study revealed that 41 per cent of Canadians believe the cost of a four-hour emergency medical evacuation is under $2,000, and 39 per cent of those 18 to 24 believe the cost to be under $500.
The reality of any emergency evacuation for medical reasons is that your costs are going to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. This widespread misconception could be very costly for a traveller.
What types of insurance are available for people who travel?
Thomas: Many people are aware of travel medical insurance, trip cancellation, and trip interruption. The not-so-well-known insurance types that are available to protect you are lost luggage insurance, missing connecting flight insurance, severe weather insurance, theft of goods or money insurance. Here’s a breakdown of what these are and why they should be considered when purchasing travel insurance:
- Travel medical insurance – Covers emergency medical costs such as ambulance trips, hospitalization, emergency room fees and prescription medication.
- Trip cancellation – Protects you in the event you must cancel a trip due to an emergency or unforeseen medical problem.
- Trip interruption – Protects you in the event you must end your trip early and immediately tend to an emergency back home.
- Lost baggage – Provides coverage in the event the airline loses your luggage in transit, allowing you to replace the items in your bag.
- Missing connecting flight insurance – Missing connecting flight insurance covers travel and accommodation expenses for unforeseen circumstances not related to delays caused by an airline.
- Severe weather insurance – Severe weather insurance reimburses for pre-paid travel expenses in the event of extreme weather.
- Theft of goods or money insurance – Theft of goods or money insurance covers a limit per item, anywhere from $150-$500 for direct loss of items in possession while travelling.
What is InsuranceHotline.com and its purpose?
Thomas: InsuranceHotline.com publishes rates from 30-plus insurance providers so that Canadians can find the best insurance rates for themselves. Canadians can use our site to find the best rates on auto, home, travel, life and commercial insurance.