Canadians on holiday may not be prepared for perils on the road: RBC survey
With the kids out of school, many Canadian families are loading up the car and heading out on road trips this summer. However, a new survey from RBC Insurance reveals many may not be prepared for unexpected travel incidents, such as sudden illness or accidents. In fact, only just over half of all Canadians (52 per cent) are fully prepared if their car breaks down.
“While many Canadians spend a large amount of time planning their trips, it’s also important to prepare properly for emergencies,” said Stan Seggie, president and CEO of the travel insurance division of RBC Insurance. “Holidays should be about making good memories, rather than having one bad experience that could ruin a trip or leave a family with extensive unforeseen costs.”
The survey also found that only 51 per cent of Canadians have an emergency supply kit in their car that includes first aid supplies, blankets or extra clothing and other essential items. Even fewer (43 per cent) report they are fully prepared for medical emergencies.
“This RBC Insurance survey is particularly timely considering a record number of Canadians are planning to take a vacation trip this summer,” said David Redekop, principal research associate of The Conference Board of Canada. “Summer travel plans for 2007 are up 16 per cent from 2006, with nearly seven in ten Canadians planning to take a summer vacation trip. More Canadians are planning to visit the United States this summer to take advantage of the high exchange rate. Plans to visit another province this summer are also strong.”
Preparing financially for an emergency while travelling is not even on the radar for many Canadians, particularly those who travel out of province, but within Canada. Two-thirds (64 per cent) of survey respondents report they have never purchased travel insurance when venturing out of province but still within Canada, despite the fact their health or car insurance policies might not be in full effect when travelling outside their home province. Four-in-ten (37 per cent) say they have never purchased travel insurance while travelling in the United States; one quarter (26 per cent) say they have never purchased travel insurance when travelling outside of Canada or the United States.
Even though 61 per cent of travellers surveyed feel they would be able to pay for needed medical care if something happened to them or their family while on vacation, many Canadians are not aware that provincial government and employee health plans do not cover everything when they leave their province of residence.
In fact, seven in ten Canadians (72 per cent) believe that the majority of their medical expenses would be covered by a provincial health insurance plan when they travel within Canada and outside their province of residence. However, government health insurance plans may limit reimbursement for expenses such as air ambulance service, prescription drugs and X-rays. Without additional travel insurance, this can get very costly - an air ambulance with a full medical team from New Brunswick to Toronto, for example, can cost $15,000 and is not covered by a government health insurance plan (GHIP).
Two-day emergency care in U.S. hospital can cost US $10,800
For those travelling to the United States, a two-day stay in a U.S. hospital for chest discomfort could cost US$10,800, with only US$400 being covered by GHIP. A 13-day U.S. hospital stay for trauma associated with a motor vehicle accident could cost US$113,300, with only US$5,200 covered by GHIP. An appendectomy, which usually involves a two-day stay, could cost US $18,500, with GHIP covering only US$800.
“It’s easy to overlook insurance, especially when travelling to another province or the United States, because there’s a sense of familiarity about destinations within North America,” added Seggie. “Anytime you travel outside your home province - whether it’s to the province next door, across the continent or around the world - you should have insurance to protect yourself and your family.”
These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey conducted between May 1 and May 20, 2007. The poll was based on a randomly selected sample of 2,000 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 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.rbcroyalbank.com/travel, call 1-800-565-3129 or visit a local RBC 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, creditor, life, health, home, auto and reinsurance 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 and through bank channels, to more than three million individual and corporate customers annually.
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