Going across the border this weekend? Don't forget travel insurance
April 15, 2010
With the Canadian Dollar at or near par, BCAA predicts more British Columbians will be heading to the United States this spring for vacations and retail shopping with many travelling with costly risks along the way.
According to the latest statistics available, 37 per cent of Canadians never purchase travel insurance when visiting the U.S. for leisure (Ipsos Reid, May 2007). While people aged 65 and older are more likely to purchase travel insurance, 42 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 take the gamble, indicating they’ve never purchased travel insurance when visiting the States.
“Crossing the border without travel insurance is a huge risk,” says Lorraine Bullock, BCAA’s manager of travel medical and life insurance. “The U.S. has some of the most expensive health care in the world, and even small, unexpected medical emergencies can end up costing thousands of dollars.”
Bullock says many people have the misperception that they are adequately covered by their provincial plan, employer plan or through their credit card.
“The fact is, Health Insurance B.C. may only cover as little as ten per cent of a person’s medical expenses outside of the province,” she says. “And, employer and credit card travel insurance plans often have limited coverage as well. Additional travel insurance can close gaps in coverage and be customized to suit specific health requirements and travel needs.”
BCAA offers the following advice when selecting travel medical insurance:
Check the details of your current medical policies offered through your employer and/or credit cards to find out what is and what isn’t covered.
- Do you need to use approved facilities or can you seek treatment from the doctor of your choice? Can your supplier provide you with advice on where treatment may be available? Does your policy cover incidental expenses such as telephone charges, renting wheelchairs and crutches?
- Do you have access to an emergency 24-hour, toll-free number with a multilingual medical emergency assistance team?
- Will the supplier communicate with treating physicians to ensure treatment is appropriate and medically necessary?
- Where possible, will the supplier coordinate up-front payment of covered medical services? Does the policy provide coverage for your emergency transportation back to Canada or transportation of a companion to be at your bedside?
Find gaps in your medical coverage by getting answers to the following questions:
- Does your insurance provider protect your spouse or children? If not, can they be added?
- Does it cover trips of any length? Some policies have a limit on trip length and you may need to purchase additional coverage for longer trips.
- What’s the limit on coverage for medical expenses?
Leisure trips to the U.S. are expected to increase by 3.2 per cent this year (Conference Board of Canada, Feb 2010). BCAA recommends travellers of all ages carry adequate travel medical insurance so they can receive the treatment they need during their trip and avoid costly medical expenses.
To find out which [Link to insurance-travel-policy] meets your needs, speak with your BCAA insurance advisor.