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Cross-border shopping? Allianz says don’t forget the insurance

Cross-border shopping? Allianz says don’t forget the insurance

Thursday, August 23, 2018

TORONTO — With back-to-school season fast approaching, many Canadians are scrambling to squeeze in final one-day trips across the border in search of deals.

According to Statistics Canada, from January to the end of May 2018, Canadians made 18.1 million trips to the U.S., an increase of 11.5% compared with the same five months in 2017. In May of this year alone, Canadians made 3.9 million trips across the border, up almost 18% from a year earlier. More than three-quarters of those trips (3.0 million) were made by car.

Both same-day (+20.9%) and overnight (+12.3%) car trips were up from May of the previous year, when much of Central and Eastern Canada experienced unusually wet weather.

But Allianz Global Assistance Canada is reminding Canadians that while provincial government healthcare programs will cover a small percentage of medical expenses incurred in the U.S., these plans won’t come close to covering the actual cost of treatments, which can be thousands of dollars.

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“Canadians typically have a good awareness of the need for travel insurance, with 78% indicating they were covered by some form of private travel insurance on their last trip, according to the Conference Board of Canada,” said Dan Keon, Vice President, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada. “However, travel insurance may not be top of mind for Canadians who are only going to be in the U.S. for a few hours or overnight for cross-border shopping, especially when they’re still relatively close to home.”

Keon added that just getting a few stitches in an American hospital could cost upwards of $3,000, or a sprained ankle around $2,000.

“More serious injuries requiring surgery or hospital stays, such as those resulting from auto collisions, will also increase medical costs considerably and possibly into the tens of thousands of dollars,” he sad. “Too frequently, travellers just don’t consider that something adverse could happen on a simple day trip.”

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Less than 1.4% of the single trip medical policies purchased through Allianz’ broker and travel agent partners were for one or two day trips, said Keon, which suggests there may be a coverage gap that’s putting Canadians needlessly at risk.

“When you consider how common it is for Canadians to cross the border, particularly for shopping, it’s concerning that some travellers may not be considering the financial consequences of a medical emergency during these shorter trips.”

Keon recommends that travellers who make several day trips across the border each year consider annual multi-trip medical coverage. This type of plan provides emergency medical coverage for an unlimited number of trips during a one-year period, allowing the customer to “set it and forget it, and stay protected each and every time they leave the country.”

For more information go to allianz-assistance.ca.

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