Travel without insurance? How’s $45,000 for a broken ankle

TORONTO — While 37% of Canadian travellers say safety and security are their main concern while abroad, close to a third of Canadians still travel without proper insurance.

The stats, from Allianz Global Assistance Canada, show that the percentage of travellers citing safety and security as their top concern is 40% among Baby Boomers.

Not surprisingly, according to the Winter Vacation Confidence Index conducted by Ipsos for Allianz, 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.

Among Canadians who do get coverage, less than a quarter (23%) actually read their policy thoroughly to know what they’re covered for. Some 38% say they scan it, while 13% say they don’t read it at all, says says Dan Keon, Vice President, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada.

“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 Keon.

“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,” he adds. “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.”

About 18% of Canadians say they get coverage from their workplace benefits plans. Another 15% say they purchase insurance when booking their trip. And 14% say they rely on coverage from their credit card.

Seven percent say they buy travel insurance from a broker, which 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.”

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