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Albertans make holiday plans but many not adequately prepared for emergencies: RBC Insurance survey


As numerous Albertans 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, a significant number of Albertans reported travelling without insurance coverage: three quarters (75 per cent) said they never or rarely purchase travel insurance when travelling within Canada but outside Alberta; 36 per cent never or rarely purchase travel insurance for trips to the United States; and 22 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 Albertans that their health plan will cover everything, but that’s incorrect,” said David Brenner, regional director, Western Canada, with the travel insurance division of RBC Insurance. “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.”

Despite the absence of insurance coverage among many of the province’s travellers, Alberta residents were among the best prepared for vacation mishaps when compared to travellers surveyed from other regions in Canada. According to the RBC Insurance survey, 60 per cent of Albertans report being fully-prepared for car break downs and 65 per cent keep an emergency supply kit (first aid, blankets, extra clothing) in their car. The survey also found that 60 per cent said they have emergency funds set aside for up to three months of their income, but only a minority (46 per cent) said they were fully-prepared for medical emergencies.

“Before heading off on vacation, it’s crucial to prepare properly for all kinds of emergencies,” added Brenner. “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.”

Eight in ten Albertans (79 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 Alberta, 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 Vancouver to Calgary could cost $11,225 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 Alberta, the sample size was 410 and the margin of error would be ±4.8 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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