Risky business: Canadians brace for increased travel costs, but many risk more by travelling without insurance: RBC Insurance survey



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 26 /CNW/ - As soaring gas prices and higher travel
costs hit Canadian travellers, a new survey by RBC Insurance and Ipsos Reid
suggests many travellers don't feel the need to protect their travel
investment.
    The survey reports that 37 per cent of Canadians never purchase travel
insurance when travelling on vacation to the United States, a country where
medical costs are among the highest in the world. These Canadians are left
potentially exposed to the high costs of the U.S. healthcare system. In fact,
a four-day stay in a U.S. hospital for an appendectomy could cost US$39,400,
with only CDN$1,600 covered by a government health insurance plan (GHIP). A
one-day stay in a U.S. hospital for a broken arm and wrist could cost
US$32,600, with only CDN$400 covered by a GHIP.
    "As fuel costs rise and the economy slows, travellers may be exposed to
increased travel costs and capacity cuts; so the need to protect their
investment is even greater now," said Stan Seggie, president and CEO of the
travel insurance division of RBC Insurance. "Comprehensive travel insurance
including trip interruption, trip cancellation and travel emergency medical
insurance will help protect them."
    Many Canadians also assume they are covered through existing travel
plans. For example, the survey shows 43 per cent of travellers feel they don't
need to buy travel insurance because they have sufficient coverage through
work or their credit card.
    Often these plans don't offer features such as up-front payments of
medical expenses (when possible), 24-hour multilingual support, assistance in
finding a local doctor or hospital, emergency transportation by air ambulance
and coverage extending to children. In addition, there may be limits or
restrictions on claim amounts, number of travel days, age and certain types of
medical emergencies.
    "Travel insurance is a minor cost for most vacationers. At a time when
travellers are paying more for fuel and other goods and services, the last
thing they want to see is a large travel medical bill," said David Redekop,
principal research associate, Conference Board of Canada. "Purchasing travel
insurance when travelling to another province or country is one of the most
prudent purchases a traveller can make."
    The survey also reports that 55 per cent of Canadian travellers never
purchase travel insurance when they travel outside their home province but
within Canada. Sixty-two per cent of Canadians believe they don't need to
purchase travel insurance when travelling to another province within Canada
because they believe their provincial health plans will cover their medical
costs.
    In fact, government health insurance plans may limit reimbursement for
expenses such as land and air ambulance services and X-rays. An air ambulance
with a full medical team travelling from Calgary to Toronto, for example, can
cost $28,000 and is not covered by a GHIP.
    "When Canadians plan for a summer trip, their main focus is on having
fun, not whether they may need to cancel the trip at the last minute or get
sick while away," added Seggie. "However, before they leave, Canadians need to
ask themselves if they could afford to pay out thousands in hospital bills or
lose the cost of their vacation. If they can't, they need to consider
purchasing travel insurance."
    These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey conducted
between March 27 and April 10, 2008. The poll was based on a randomly selected
sample of 2,251 adult Canadians, who were interviewed by telephone. With a
sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/-2.19
percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the
entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be
larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population.
The data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and
age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according
to the 2001 Census data.
    RBC Insurance offers a wide range of travel insurance products. For more
information when making travel arrangements, ask a travel agent about RBC
Insurance, go online to www.rbcinsurance.com, call 1-800-565-3129 or visit a
local RBC Insurance retail branch.

    About RBC Insurance

    RBC Insurance, through its operating entities, including RBC Insurance
Company of Canada, Assured Assistance Inc., and The Liberty Marketing
Corporation, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto,
business, and reinsurance products, as well as creditor insurance products to
more than five million North American customers. The company is the leading
provider of travel insurance and emergency assistance services in Canada and
has also expanded into the U.S. travel insurance market. Its travel insurance
operations draw on more than 40 years of professional experience and provide a
wide range of products and services through a network of over 4,000 travel
agencies, as well as over the Internet, through retail insurance branches and
bank channels, to more than three million individual and corporate customers
annually.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Kerry Gaetano, (905) 816-5583,
kerry.gaetano@rbc.com; Margie McNeil, (905) 606-1425, margie.mcneil@rbc.com


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