BCAA reminds Black Friday cross-border shoppers to protect themselves from unexpected medical emergencies

Poll shows majority of B.C. travellers crossing border for short trip take risks

BURNABY, BC, Nov. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The British Columbia Automobile Association's (BCAA) recent cross-border travel poll revealed 77 per cent of British Columbians who have travelled to the U.S. without travel insurance do so because they believe that short trips don't justify getting insurance. With many British Columbians making travel plans to the U.S. for Black Friday, BCAA reminds travellers of the risks with leaving the province, even for a few hours, without adequate medical coverage.

"It's a huge gamble to leave B.C. for any length of time without any, or adequate, travel insurance," says Hubert Rau, BCAA's vice president of Insurance Marketing. "Learning from our survey that people are travelling unprotected is troubling. Even a minor, unexpected medical emergency, especially in the U.S., could cost thousands of dollars to treat, let alone all the other expenses associated with a medical incident."

BCAA's survey of Lower Mainland cross-border travellers also revealed that those who travelled to the U.S. infrequently (one to four times per year) are more likely to go without travel insurance, compared to more frequent travellers. Seventy one per cent of infrequent cross-border travellers purchase travel insurance, while 89 per cent of frequent cross-border travellers ensure they are covered.

Rau says travellers may think they are adequately covered by their provincial medical plan, employer plan or through their credit card.

"It's important that travellers take the time to review their current medical policies and close any gaps in coverage," says Rau. "Travel medical plans offered by employers and credit card companies often have limited coverage, and Health Insurance B.C. may only cover as little as ten per cent of a person's medical expenses outside the province."

To help ensure British Columbians are adequately protected when travelling to the U.S., BCAA offers detailed advice at bcaa.com/travelinsurancetips on what to consider for travel insurance. Some tips include the following: 

Review your current medical policies (including any offered through an employer and/or credit cards) to find out what is and what isn't covered. Some things to consider:

  • Can your supplier provide you with advice on where treatment may be available?
  • Does your policy cover incidental expenses such as telephone charges, renting wheel chairs and crutches?
  • Where possible, will the supplier coordinate up-front payment of covered medical services?

Find gaps in your medical coverage by getting answers to some important questions, such as:

  • Does your insurance provider protect your spouse or children? If not, can they be added?
  • Does it cover trips of any length? Some policies have a limit on trip length and you may need to purchase additional coverage for longer trips.
  • What's the limit on coverage for medical expenses?

Look for travel insurance that provides coverage for:

  • medical and/or hospital expenses not covered by B.C.'s Medical Services Plan;
  • prescription drugs;
  • ambulances, and;
  • emergency dental care

About BCAA
BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one in four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto and travel insurance services, and is renowned for its legendary roadside assistance. J.D. Power has ranked BCAA "Highest In Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada" two years in a row (2012 and 2013) - details at jdpower.com. Now in its 107th year, BCAA has over $460 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 900 employees. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership, visit bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit bcaaroadsafety.com.

SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information:

Niela Melanio
BCAA Communication Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Mobile: 778-228-8859
Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com


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