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Atlantic Canadians make holiday plans but not all ready for emergencies: RBC Insurance survey


As numerous Atlantic Canadians think about loading up the car and heading out of town for a short break this summer, a new survey from RBC Insurance reveals a good number of them are ill-prepared for the unexpected.

According to the RBC Insurance survey, slightly more than half (56 per cent) of Atlantic Canadians are fully-prepared for car breakdowns. A similar proportion (51 per cent) are likely to keep an emergency supply kit (first aid, blankets, extra clothing) in their car, or have emergency funds set aside (57 per cent) for up to three months of their income. Less than half (45 per cent) of those surveyed say they would be fully prepared for medical emergencies while travelling.

“Before heading off on vacation, it’s crucial to prepare properly for all kinds of emergencies,” said Marc Parsons, regional director, Eastern Canada, with 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 out-of-pocket expenses.”

Preparing financially for an emergency while travelling is not even on the radar screen for many Atlantic Canadians: three-quarters (76 per cent) report they never or rarely purchase travel insurance when travelling out of province but within Canada; 47 per cent never or rarely purchase travel insurance for trips to the United States; and 25 per cent say they never or rarely purchase travel insurance when travelling outside of Canada or the United States.

“There may be an assumption among Atlantic Canadians that their health plans will cover everything but that’s incorrect,” added Parsons. “There can be limits on reimbursements for expenses, which is why it is so important to think about the unexpected and plan accordingly.”

In fact seven in ten Atlantic Canadians (73 per cent) believe that the majority of their medical expenses would be covered by a provincial health insurance plan when they travel within Canada but outside their province of residence, even though government and employee health 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. For example, an air ambulance with a full medical team from Montreal to Halifax could cost $12,165 and is not covered by a government health insurance plan (GHIP).

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. For Atlantic Canada, 137 people were surveyed and the margin of error is ±8.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 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, call 1-800-565-3129 or visit a local RBC branch.


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