1/4 of Canadians Have Needed Medical Attention While Travelling Abroad

Posted by Grant Longhurst

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TORONTO, ONTARIO — (Marketwired) — 07/27/13

With 83 per cent of Canadians planning on taking a summer vacation this year, BMO Insurance reminds travelers to keep safety and finances in mind when away from home.

According to BMO Insurance’s Annual Travel study, a quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians have, at some point, required medical attention for themselves or a travel companion while on vacation.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that required medical treatment could cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, forty-two per cent remain confident they could cover all of their medical costs if they required medical attention while abroad, even if uninsured.

“Receiving medical treatment outside of Canada without the proper travel insurance in-place can be very expensive, particularly if those costs are not budgeted for,” said Julie Barker-Merz, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, BMO Insurance. “We encourage Canadians to educate themselves on the potential financial risks they face when travelling without medical insurance, and to investigate what affordable options are available to them.”

Ms. Barker-Merz noted that, for example, treatment for a broken leg in Florida could cost up to US$20,000, while decompression sickness in Thailand could cost up to US$40,000 to treat.

Top Reasons Why Canadians Don’t Buy Travel Insurance

Further, according to the study, nearly a third (31 per cent) of Canadians either never or only sometimes purchase travel medical insurance when vacationing outside of Canada. Among those who do not always purchase insurance every time they leave the country, the top reasons identified were:

--  Already covered by a workplace or provincial healthcare plan  --  Already covered by a credit card  --  It costs too much money  --  Unlikely to need medical attention  

“Emergencies can happen anywhere and any time, so it’s critical that Canadians ensure they have the proper medical coverage before travelling,” said Ms. Barker-Merz. “While Canadians can sometimes be covered under the terms of their credit card or workplace healthcare plan, they need to do their research well in advance of their trip to be certain that they have insurance in place that is right for their trip.”

The online survey was conducted by Pollara with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over, between May 9 and May 13, 2013.


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