Are you planning to visit warmer destinations this winter? If you frequently travel abroad, you could be putting yourself at risk by not buying sufficient travel health insurance. Thirty five per cent of Canadian travelers admitted to not buying travel health insurance, yet 21 per cent said they required medical treatment during their travels, according to a recent survey by the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA). Although Canadians enjoy many health benefit benefits at home, the same can’t be said abroad – you could be stuck footing a bill in the thousands for international medical care without adequate insurance.
Putting Yourself at Risk
Vacations are supposed to be about some much-needed time away for rest and relaxation – the last thing you want to do is end up hurt or injured. Even if you aren’t planning a risky adventure like scuba diving with the sharks or scaling to the peaks of Mount Everest, it’s important to ensure you have sufficient health insurance coverage. The survey found the most common requests for medical assistance while travelling abroad include gastrointestinal issues (21.8 per cent), infection (16.2 per cent), and fractures (10.7 per cent).
40% Of Those Needing Medical Care Pay Full Cost
So how prepared are Canadians for a medical emergency? Only six in 10 Canadians who required medical attention were savvy enough to have extended medical insurance – the rest were stuck paying their expenses out of pocket. Living in Canada, a country praised for its world-class healthcare, it’s easy to lose sight how expensive seeking medical attention can be. Only 28.5 per cent of respondents were aware the average cost of treating a fracture in the U.S. is a whopping $10,000! Sometimes you can wait until you arrive at home to seek medical attention, but you could be putting yourself at risk – all this could have been avoided by simply purchasing travel health insurance.
Good Health at Any Cost
Your health isn’t something you should take for granted. Not surprisingly, 59.3 per cent of respondents claimed they would pay whatever it took for medical care, yet for many an expensive medical bill could pose a financial catastrophe; 33.6 per cent said a medical bill of over $1,000 would cause a financial crisis, while an unforeseen medical emergency of $5,000 would be a crisis for 32 per cent.
Why Don’t Travelers Protect Themselves?
So why are so many Canadians deciding to skip buying travel insurance? Perhaps if they were better educated about the options and consequences, they would think twice.
Not only is travel expensive easy to purchase, it’s relatively inexpensive. Skipping travel medical insurance is a case of penny wise, pound foolish. Thirty three dollars is the going rate for single trip medical coverage offered by airlines and travel companies as an add-on. Is saving such a measly amount really worth the risk?
Planning Ahead of Time
Whether you’re traveling to Wisconsin or going backpacking through Europe, here are some recommendations from THiA to ensure you have an injury-free vacation.
– Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions
– Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive?
– Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance companies have staff available to answer any questions related to policies
Find An Even Lower Rate
While you’ll be presented with the option to buy your travel coverage when purchasing your airfare, keep in mind that you have more options. There are a number of insurance providers offering a variety of rates, and you can cut your costs even more by comparing your travel medical, baggage or all inclusive options. As well, if you travel frequently, you can pre-plan your coverage with a multi-trip policy, which includes multiple trips up to a set number of days.