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Traveling Beyond Your Province or Territory? Consider Travel Insurance

Whether your travels will take you just outside your province or territory – or whether you plan to travel to the U.S. or another destination abroad – even a minor accident or sickness can become a major expense and a costly inconvenience.

While many Canadians rely on employee health plans or credit cards to provide coverage, most don’t realize that there are limitations to these coverages. For instance, credit card coverage is for a limited number of days, and employment benefits may not cover all medical emergencies and have limited travel benefits.

The foremost reason Canadians should consider travel insurance is that your Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) typically covers only a limited portion of your medical expenses once you leave the country and your province.

Consider this: A four-day stay in a U.S. hospital for an appendectomy could cost $39,400 (USD), with only $1,600 (CAD) covered by your GHIP*. A one-day stay in a U.S. hospital for a broken arm could cost $32,600 (USD), with only $400 (CAD) covered by your GHIP*. Travel insurance provides protection in the event of such unexpected and potentially costly circumstances.

Travel insurance can be utilized to cover your entire family for the duration of your trip, and family pricing is generally available. If you and your family are frequent travelers, you may want to consider a multi-trip annual travel insurance plan.

So what’s your next step?

You’ve decided you need insurance but, with so many companies offering a range of packages, how do you decide?

Here are a few things that are important to consider when looking into travel medical insurance:

  • Do they have a 24/7 toll free emergency help line, in any language, with registered nurses and physicians on staff to help you or your family understand, and make medical decisions?
  • Do they directly provide emergency assistance or do they use an outside company? Will the emergency assistance company know you and your insurance coverage when you call them?
  • And keep in mind, not all countries have the same standard of medical care that you may be accustomed to - so find out if they have a world-wide network of trained health care professionals that offer first class medical treatment, or if local resources are used.

At the end of the day, it may come down to the reputation of the company and if you feel they'll be there for you. You'll want to be confident that they'll be able to get you back to your trip, or home, with minimal financial and personal impact.

To learn more about the travel insurance available through RBC or to get an online quote:

*2008 RBC Insurance / Ipsos Reid Survey