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U.S. bargain-hunting could be costly without travel insurance


With the rising dollar, some Canadians will be heading south this American Thanksgiving weekend looking for deals as the holiday shopping season begins— but that cross-border trip could end up costing more than planned if medical treatment is needed while away from home.

RBC Insurance is reminding Canadians to think about travel insurance, even for last-minute, short getaways across the border.

“Unfortunately, accidents can happen at any time, so don’t let a shopping trip end up costing you more than you bargained for,” said Stan Seggie, president and CEO of the travel insurance division of RBC Insurance. “For less than $25, you can purchase travel insurance for up to four days, to protect against unexpected emergencies that may happen when you go across the border,” added Seggie.

A national survey conducted by RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid earlier this year, showed that 37 per cent of Canadian leisure travellers to the U.S. never purchase travel insurance. Unlike longer overseas trips that are usually planned months in advance, short cross-border trips can be more easily organized at the last minute, and with a sense of familiarity about destinations within North America, some travellers don’t think they need insurance.

A medical emergency in the U.S. is extremely expensive, especially when compared to the relatively low cost of travel insurance. For example, an appendectomy without complications costs an average of $20,331 (USD), and a major cardiovascular procedure without complications costs an average of $47,114 (USD), according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Although insurance premiums are based on a variety of factors such as age and health, as well as the length and value of the trip, the emergency medical insurance coverage included in the RBC Insurance Classic Medical plan, for example, typically costs less than $25 for a one to four day trip. Another option, for those who travel several times a year, is multi-trip annual travel insurance that provides coverage for multiple trips within a 12-month period, which typically costs about $50.


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