Canadians Still Rolling The Dice By Travelling Without Proper Insurance

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

According to a new study conducted for Allianz Global Assistance Canada, Canadians are taking unnecessary risks when it comes to protecting themselves on vacation. 

The study shows almost a third (27%) of Canadians still travel without proper insurance. Of those who do get coverage, less than a quarter (23%) actually read their policy thoroughly to understand the coverage.

According to the ‘Winter Vacation Confidence Index’ conducted by Ipsos, the biggest risk-takers are 18-34 year-olds, with 31% opting for no coverage. Regionally, Atlantic Canadians, at 36%, are most likely to travel uninsured.  

While 73% of Canadians do in fact purchase travel insurance, a concerning finding of the study is that only 23% take time to read their policy thoroughly. Some 38% say they scan it, while 13% say they don’t read it at all. 

“Canadians are typically savvy travellers, but this lack of knowledge on the importance of travel insurance and what is covered, suggests we’re still taking unnecessary risks abroad,” says Dan Keon, Vice President, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada. 

Allianz says the percentage of Canadians who travel uninsured is even more surprising given that 37% of Canadian travellers indicated that their main concern while abroad was safety and security, with that number climbing to 40% among Boomers.

“When you consider that Canadians spend an average of $2,700 for an annual vacation, not having the protection of trip cancellation or interruption is a genuine financial risk,” adds Keon. 

“And if you are injured or fall ill, the cost of out-of-country healthcare can be devastating – easily in the thousands of dollars. For example, we know from our own claims experience that a broken ankle requiring surgery and admission to hospital in Florida could cost as much as $45,000.”

The study also indicates that Canadians obtain their travel insurance through a variety of means, led by workplace benefits plans (18%), purchasing when booking their trip (15%) and coverage through a credit card (14%). Just 7% of those surveyed indicated they buy travel insurance from a broker – a figure that rises to 19% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and 14% in B.C.

“It is encouraging that most Canadians purchase travel insurance,” says Keon. “But they need to understand that travel insurance doesn’t cover every situation. There are different types of insurance plans and levels of coverage so it is important that they review their policy thoroughly and speak to a travel insurance professional if they have questions.”

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.