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Prairie residents make holiday plans but many don’t plan for emergencies: RBC Insurance survey


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

According to the RBC Insurance survey, Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents were among the least prepared for vacation mishaps compared to many other travellers surveyed. In fact, only 40 per cent said they have emergency funds set aside for up to three months of their income, and just 44 per cent said they were fully-prepared for medical emergencies. A larger percentage of residents were prepared for having their car breakdown (54 per cent said they were fully prepared) and 55 per cent said they keep an emergency supply kit (first aid, blankets, extra clothing) in their car.

“Before heading off on vacation, it’s crucial to prepare properly for all kinds of emergencies,” said David Brenner, regional director, Western 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.”

The survey also found that a significant number of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents reported travelling without insurance coverage: almost three quarters (72 per cent) said they never or rarely purchase travel insurance when travelling within Canada but outside of their province of residence; 36 per cent never or rarely purchase travel insurance for trips to the United States; and 30 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 Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents that their health plan will cover everything but that’s incorrect,” added Brenner. “Even when travelling within Canada, 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 74 per cent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents 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 full medical team from Ottawa to Winnipeg could cost $19,260 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 Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 125 people were surveyed and the margin of error is ±8.8 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 about RBC Insurance, go online to, call 1-800-565-3129 or visit a local RBC branch.


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