Friday, February 20, 2009

Canadians Lagging Behind Worldwide Travelers for Travel Insurance

Survey results from pollsters Ipsos Reid and on-line travel community TripAdvisor published earlier this summer have found that Canadian leisure travelers are not protecting themselves while away from home. Moreover, Canadians are lagging behind travelers in other parts of the world.

Is this due to a lack of understanding of the benefits of proper travel insurance coverage, or is there more to this disturbing trend that is placing Canadians at greater risk of financial and medical hazard? It would appear that for many, Canada’s long-standing faith in the country’s healthcare system may be to blame.

Ipsos Reid polled more than 2,200 Canadians in the spring of 2008 and found that 50.1 per cent of them who travel to the US ‘always of usually’ buy travel insurance. In contrast, results from a worldwide survey of some 3,700 TripAdvisor members found that 75 per cent of worldwide respondents, and 60 per cent of US respondents, purchased travel insurance in the last year. Why such a disparity on coverage?

In part, it’s due to our mistaken belief that our existing provincial medical coverage will protect us should we need it abroad, or anywhere else in the country. Yet the reality is that our universal healthcare system only covers a fraction of any medical emergency outside of a traveler’s home province, not to mention it’s also very different from one region of the country to the next.

For example, some of the highest coverage rates for medical expenses come from the Maritime provinces, whereas some of the lowest can be found in British Columbia where residents rarely receiver more than $75 a day for emergency medical costs.

Due to these regional differences, the Ipsos Reid survey found that as many as 60 per cent of all British Columbians polled purchased travel insurance for travel to the US, whereas only 40.7 per cent of Maritimes do. As for inter-provincial travel, only 38.2 per cent of Canadian respondents said they protected themselves with additional travel coverage.

The reality is the most Canadians are not positioned to pay out thousands of dollars in hospital bills or expect to have to deal with the disappointing loss of their hard-earned vacation due to cancellations or interruptions. It’s true that some travelers feel that their employment or credit card insurance plans adequately cover them; however the truth is that most won’t cover up-front payments for things as basic as ambulance fees.

It’s important to learn the benefits of a property-protected vacation. In doing so, travelers will not only continue to turn them as their insurance experts, but they will also benefit from the peace of mind and protection that is so important when away from home.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Outdoor Adventure Travel Comes with Risks

If you enjoy activities like biking, snowboarding, sailing or backpacking, you are not alone.

A recent Canadian Tourism Commission report called almost five and a half million Canadians'soft outdoor adventure enthusiasts'. Activities that rated high withCanadians included wilderness hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing,cycling and kayaking.

During spring break many students and younger Canadians find themselves drawn to these kinds of activities in the United States and other destinations.
Of course, outdoor adventure always carries risk. Provincial medical plans cover only a fraction of medical expenses, and most foreign hospitals and doctors routinely charge thousands of dollars a day. ~We~re finding that these costs add up very quickly for travellers unfortunate enough to end up ina hospital, said Cecile Langlois, national director of claims and travel assistance for TIC Travel Insurance Coordinators Ltd.

Canadian travellers should always carry emergencyhospital and medical travel insurance. ~We cover recreational activities like skiing, hiking, camping and rock climbing, so students and travellers seeking adventure in other countries don~t have to worry about unexpected medical bills,~said Natalie Dupuis, TIC~s vice~president of product.

Students travelling witha group of three or more people and participating inamateur sport tournaments or activities can get coverage under TIC~s Group Sports Plan.

Finally, for those adventure~seekers under the age of 30 who are thinking about that big back packing trip across Europe or Asia, the YouthAdventure Package Plan makes perfect sense. Youthtravellers receive $5 million hospital and medical coverage as well as benefits covering lost or stolen baggage or trip interruption.

To learn more about travel insurance or for a complete list of products, visit Bridges International Insurance Services