Only 1.4 per cent of Canadians buy travel insurance for short trips

CTVNews.ca Staff

With Black Friday approaching, many Canadians will be getting ready to head across the border in search of deals.

But a quick day trip could turn into financial disaster, with even a minor accident or illness leaving travelers with bills that can cost thousands of dollars.

According to data from Allianz Global Assistance Canada, only 1.4 per cent of single-trip policies purchased by Canadians were for one or two-day trips.

That’s in spite of 78 per cent of Canadians saying they were covered by some form of travel insurance on their last vacation, according to the company.

Allainz suggests there may be a coverage gap, with Canadians not considering that they’re leaving themselves vulnerable on short cross-border trips.

Though provincial healthcare will cover a small percentage of medical expenses in the U.S., it doesn’t come close to covering the thousands of dollars that can be incurred.

“Just getting a few stitches in an American hospital could cost upwards of $3,000, or a sprained ankle around $2,000,” VP of Market Management Dan Keon said in a press release.

“More serious injuries requiring surgery or hospital stays, such as those resulting from auto collisions, will also increase medical costs considerably and possibly into the tens of thousands of dollars.”

RVs provide freedom for adventurous travellers, but it will cost you

By Dan Healing

THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY _ The symbol of a retirement filled with travel and relaxation arrived last year for Bruce and Lisa Anderson of Calgary in the form of a 12-metre long package.

That’s how big their diesel-powered Class A motorhome is _ about the same size as a city bus with, as Bruce points out, a bigger weight-carrying capacity.

It’s big enough that it doesn’t fit into some campgrounds. It’s so big it has two wry nicknames: “Motorhome” and “My Daughter’s Inheritance.”

“Our camping experience has run the whole gamut from tent to travel trailer to motorhome,” said Bruce, acknowledging that purists might not consider it camping if you stay in air-conditioned luxury with more floor space than a small apartment.

“As a teenager, I camped under a lean-to. At age 60, I like my house on wheels.”

When it comes to buying a trailer or motorhome to get out into the great outdoors or just avoid paying hotel rates on vacation, the choices can be daunting and the price in the window just the beginning of what ownership will actually cost.

The best prices are usually seen now, at the start of the off-season, when more used units are on the market and dealers may be willing to bargain to reduce inventory, said Jeff Redmond, general manager of Bucars RV just north of Calgary.

The range of options and prices mean it’s best to have a good idea of your budget and needs before turning up at the dealership, he said.

“You can get into a really good used RV for around $5,000,” he said.

“In the new market, you can be as low as … $20,000 (for a travel trailer) and we range all the way up to over $1 million for luxury Class A diesel motorhomes.”

A scan of used campers for sale online shows a number actually being given away for free although sometimes with ominous wording such as: “Toilet works but valve to empty out sewage won’t open,” and, “Floor a little spongy and will need to be replaced.”

The total number of new camping units sold in Canada this year is expected to be about 52,000, up about five per cent over 2017, said Eleonore Hamm, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada.

Private RV sales represent about 50 per cent of used unit sales, with the rest being sold by dealers.

“If you’re buying privately, the main thing is safety,” Hamm said, adding many dealers will do safety checks for a fee.

“You want to ensure that the units have been checked, that the propane has been recertified, make sure there’s no water damage, make sure the braking system is working adequately.”

Renting is the best way to go RVing, says Brian Gronberg, CEO of Calgary-based CanaDream Corp., which counts about 85 per cent of its RV rental customers from outside of Canada.

“Nobody should buy a motorhome. They’re expensive and they are depreciating assets,” he said in an interview.

He conceded, however, that his company sells used RVs as part of its program to continually refresh its fleet of 1,200 rental units _ and CanaDream allows renters to apply their rental fees to a purchase.

The fall rental of a two-person RV might cost $100 per night from CanaDream, but a last-minute, mid-summer rental of a big motorhome that sleeps six could be $350 to $400 per night, Gronberg said.

The Andersons have learned a lot about RVing since buying their hulking unit for about $390,000. They went on a three-month vacation to Newfoundland and Labrador last summer and they are planning lengthy vacations on Vancouver Island and in the southern U.S. in future years.

Storing the unit at the dealership costs about $1,000 a year, Bruce said, more than the $500 to $600 he used to pay to store his travel trailer on a rural lot. (Many cities don’t allow RV storage on the street.)

Insurance for the motorhome costs more than for a house. Campground fees start at $40-$50 a night with power and water service but some resort-style campgrounds charge as much as $110 a night, he said. Other regular bills are for maintenance and draining the RV’s water lines before winter’s freeze.

And then there’s the cost of fuel, he said.

“Motorhoming, in my opinion, will not save you money.”

How marijuana legalization will impact your travel plans

With the legalization of marijuana in Canada happening this week, the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA) released survey results today revealing some notable insights. The survey revealed that 20 per cent of Canadians planning to travel this year are unaware of the implications of travelling with marijuana. Additionally, 22 per cent of respondents with medical marijuana prescriptions believe they can pack it in carry-ons just like any other prescription drug, regardless of where they are travelling to, once it becomes legal.

“Even though cannabis has been legalized across the country, travellers need to be vigilant if they decide to travel with the drug,” says THiA Executive Director, Will McAleer. “People work hard to enjoy their vacations and should be aware of all implications before they travel, regardless of whether they decide to travel with marijuana or not. The most popular travel destination for Canadians is the U.S., a jurisdiction where it is illegal under federal laws to possess cannabis in any form.”

Many insurers are taking the position that marijuana will be treated similarly to alcohol in terms of travelling within Canada. Which means airlines will allow passengers to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana on domestic flights after October 17th. However, it is the U.S. borders and travelling outside of Canada that Canadians must be informed about. Even though cannabis is legal in some states, it remains illegal under U.S. federal laws to possess it in any form or quantity, making it illegal to bring across the Canada-U.S. border. Penalties for doing so include legal prosecution and fines and possibly jail time.

THiA’s survey revealed that demographics play a large part in the level of awareness travellers have regarding travelling with marijuana. Thirteen per cent of boomers said that they wouldn’t anticipate any issues at the border when travelling from one legal province to another jurisdiction outside of Canada with marijuana. When asked the same question, 21 per cent of millennials believed they wouldn’t run into any issues at all. Choosing to avoid potential issues altogether, 77 per cent of boomers, and 60 per cent of millennials, believe you shouldn’t pack marijuana at all when travelling, even with a prescription.

It’s important to be mindful of what you can and cannot bring across international borders when travelling. THiA recommends always following the golden rules of travel health insurance before you leave for your vacation:

  1. Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies.
  2. Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions.
  3. Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
  4. Know your rights – the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities.

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in September 2018, polled 1,343 respondents, ranging from ages 18 to 60+ across Canada.

About the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)
Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice of the travel insurance industry in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs and member communications.

SOURCE Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA)

Tips for a worry-free winter away

Tips for a worry-free winter away

Many retired Canadians will soon head south to their home away from home for the winter months.

CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is sharing new CAA member research that sheds light on some of the common worries experienced by snowbirds and is suggesting some simple tips to plan for a worry-free winter away.

In an online survey completed earlier this year by over 3,000 members, CAA found that the top worries snowbirds had while travelling were:

  • The wellbeing of family and friends travelling with them
  • The wellbeing of family and friends back at home
  • Pre-existing health concerns
  • Losing their wallet
  • Illness/injury related to activities on trip

“Peace of mind while travelling is the ultimate luxury,” said Kaitlynn Furse, manager, public relations, CAA South Central Ontario. “Taking steps to ensure that you’ll be covered with the right travel and medical coverage, is the best way to make the most of your time away during the winter.”

Among those surveyed, medical coverage for the duration of the trip was the most common type of travel insurance purchased, followed by trip cancellation/interruption, an annual policy that provides coverage for multiple trips throughout the year or a packaged plan that provides both medical and non-medical coverage for the duration of a trip.

CAA SCO suggests that snowbirds planning to head south this winter look for the following coverage before taking off:

Emergency Medical Insurance that includes:

  • Emergency medical treatment: Applies to hospital accommodations, physician fees, lab tests and X-rays, private duty nursing, and ambulance service.
  • Medical repatriation: When medically necessary, this coverage allows you to be transported safely to a medical facility for treatment, avoiding out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Return of vehicle: If you’re badly injured or hospitalized, the return of vehicle benefit will cover reasonable expense to have your personal or rental vehicle returned, providing you that extra peace of mind.

Bounce Back benefits: When travelling, there is always the possibility of having to return due to a home or family emergency. Bounce Back benefits often provide up to $2,000 for a round-trip ticket home and back to your destination.

CAA SCO also recommends the following when buying travel insurance:

  • Consult with your doctor before filling out a medical questionnaire. This will allow you to fully understand your medical history, allowing you to answer questions with confidence.
  • Read your policy carefully. Understand what is and isn’t covered.
  • If you have any questions, ask your travel insurance provider.
  • Don’t buy travel insurance on price alone.

Snowbirds should also check the following before heading south:

  • Make sure your driver’s license and passport do not expire while you are away.
  • Check with your auto insurance company to ensure you are covered while driving in the United States. Additional coverage may be required.
  • Review your homeowner’s policy. If you are away for an extended period, you must have someone check your property regularly.
  • Make sure to check travel advisories for your destination at least once while planning your travel and before you travel.

For more educational tips on commonly asked questions related to travel insurance go to www.caasco.ca/Educateme.

About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of eight auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

Goose, Travel Insurance Made Easy, Launches Across Canada Today

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Launching across Canada today, the Goose mobile app provides Canadians with instant access to travel medical insurance. This mobile-first, self-serve solution allows Canadians who travel out of country to purchase travel medical insurance in under 60 seconds through the Goose mobile app (iOS & Android), for as little as four dollars, and available for up to seven days after a vacation has begun. Today’s launch follows the company’s successful raise of a $2.25 million seed round, led by Impression Ventures.

“We know that if travel insurance is more accessible and affordable, Canadians will opt in and avoid thousands of dollars in medical bills during a travel emergency,” says Dejan Mirkovic, Founder & CEO of Goose Insurance Services as well as Co-Founder & Director of Square One Insurance Services. “Square One modernized home insurance solutions for Canadians, and now Goose is poised to do the same for travel insurance. Consumers deserve to have access, transparency and convenience when it comes to their insurance.”

“Insurance is a space that is ripe for digital transformation and we’re thrilled to support the incredible team at Goose as they take off and modernize the insurance industry,” says Maor Amar, Managing Partner Impression Ventures. “We’re excited to start seeing the positive effects that affordable and convenient travel insurance can have on Canadians.”

According to a research study conducted by Goose, approximately 50% of Canadians are travelling uninsured. And those travelling to the United States by car, and for just one day, are most at risk of travelling without insurance protection. Goose is the first in the industry to offer a day pass that starts at $4 per person, making it the most affordable travel insurance policy in Canada.

How it works: Users download the Goose app, select coverage and click to buy. In less than 60 seconds Goose will provide up to $10 million in travel medical insurance. Once insured, users can use Goose in case of emergency. The app includes hospital locators, 911-equivalents and instant agent chat options. Additionally, the app will send a reminder honk when it detects that the user is near an international airport or US border.

For more information about Goose, visit: https://www.gooseinsurance.com, or download the Goose app in the App Store or get it on Google Play.

About Goose

Founded in 2017, Goose Insurance Services helps ensure Canadians cover their tail feathers when they travel.  Founded to address the gap between the antiquated insurance industry and ‘on-demand’ needs of consumers today, Goose is on a mission to protect Canadians. Pioneering access to mobile-first travel and medical insurance, Goose provides Canadians with unprecedented, affordable coverage, in only 60 seconds, via their mobile app.  For as little as $4 per day, Canadians can be insured for up to $10 million with no lengthy application process, hefty price tags or hidden fees. Goose currently serves British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Goose is based in Vancouver, BC. It is licensed and regulated by the Alberta Insurance Council, Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Insurance Council of British Columbia, Insurance Council of Manitoba, and the Insurance Council of Saskatchewan.

About Impression Ventures

Impression Ventures is a leading Canadian independent fintech-focused Venture Capital Firm with offices in Toronto and Montreal. They lead late seed or early Series A financing rounds for start-ups by making a first investment of approximately $1.5M. Post financing, they follow up with extensive and ongoing support. Impression’s team of partners and advisors has significant experience as entrepreneurs, software engineers, product managers and financial services executives. Impression Ventures has provided Seed and Series A capital to portfolio companies including Wealthsimple, Sensibill, Brim Financial, Symend, Goose Insurance, Elefant.ai and Finaeo. For more information visithttps://impression.ventures/

Canadians Positive on Travel Medical Insurance

NEWS PROVIDED BY

CAFII

The experience of Canadians who have purchased travel medical insurance is very positive, with more than 8 in 10 satisfied with the product and the value it provides. Furthermore, 98% of people who made travel medical insurance claims in the past year said they were fully or partially paid, with only 2% of claims being rejected. In addition, 91% of claimants said they were satisfied with their claim experience from initial contact to final outcome.

These are the key findings of new public opinion research by Pollara Strategic Insights. These and other findings about travel medical insurance are consistent with results from similar research undertaken by Pollara in 2015.

According to the research, confidence among Canadians who have purchased travel medical insurance in the past year is high, with 87% confident they would receive the quality of service they expected. In addition, 90% were confident they would receive the assistance they needed, and 86% expected reimbursement to cover the cost of the travel medical emergency as per their policy. These results were even higher for those who had made a claim.

Canadians also said they have a reasonable understanding of the travel medical insurance coverage terms and limitations, amount of coverage, and who to contact in the event of an emergency.  For example, at the time of purchasing their travel medical insurance policy, buyers said they were confident they knew the policy terms with 89% saying their knowledge was at least reasonable. Furthermore, 89% of buyers also said they had at least some knowledge of the limitations and exclusions of their policy at the time of purchase.

Fully 85% of claimants found the actual claim submission experience to be in line with what was explained to them during the initial contact, and 89% of claimants thought the claim submission experience was positive and either met (75%) or exceeded (14%) their expectations. However, despite the high levels of overall satisfaction, 31% of claimants (down from 38% in 2015) had a complaint about the claim experience, mostly about the length of time it took to process a claim, and lack of clarity about what was required.

When it comes to choosing their travel medical insurance, Canadians said the top six factors influencing their decisions were:

  • features and benefits (87% vs 86% in 2015);
  • overall amount of coverage (85% – not asked in 2015);
  • ability to speak to someone (83% vs 81% in 2015);
  • price (81% vs 76% in 2015);
  • ease of purchase (77% vs 70% in 2015); and,
  • coverage for pre-existing conditions (71% vs 66% in 2015).

The increase in the last three factors from 2015 is notable, which suggests consumer expectations for travel medical insurance are increasing, and that providers need to keep improving their product and service to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

“Canadian consumers have expressed a great deal of confidence in the travel medical insurance industry, and the products that our members provide,” said Keith Martin, Co-Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII), which sponsored the Pollara research. “On the other hand, consumers continue to raise the bar on what they expect from their policies in terms of product features, quality service and value, and rightly so.”

These are the key results from an online survey of 1,200 adult Canadians conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between February 16th and March 5th, 2018. A random sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.

About CAFII:
The Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance is a not-for-profit Association dedicated to the development of an open and flexible insurance marketplace. CAFII believes consumers are best served when they have meaningful choice in the purchase of insurance products and services. CAFII’s members include the insurance arms of Canada’s major financial institutions – BMO Insurance; CIBC Insurance; Desjardins Financial Security; RBC Insurance; ScotiaLife Financial; and TD Insurance – along with major industry players American Express Bank Canada; Assurant; Canada Life Assurance; Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company; CUMIS Services Incorporated; and Manulife (The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company).

About Pollara Strategic Insights:
Founded in 1980, Pollara Strategic Insights is one of Canada’s premier full-service research firms – a collaborative team of senior research veterans who are passionate about conducting research through hands–on creativity and customized solutions. Taking full advantage of their comprehensive toolbox of industry-leading quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytical techniques, Pollara provides research-based strategic advice to a wide array of clients across all sectors on a local, national, and global scale.

SOURCE CAFII

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