Holiday travel, tHe worry-free way
The holiday season is upon us, and if you have travel plans you’re not alone; thousands of Canadians pack up the family and hit the road this time of year.

With any family trip comes the inevitable questions. What clothes do we need? Do I need medication for the kids? What about formula? Toys and books? A first aid kit? Who will look after the dog? It can be daunting, but taking a little time to prepare will make the whole trip go smoothly.

It’s hard to plan for the unexpected, though. That’s why there is one item you should be sure to have on your checklist: travel insurance.

“As Canadians, we’ve gotten used to the idea that healthcare is free,” says Erin Finn, Director of Underwriting with RSA Canada. “That’s not the case once you cross the US border. You are entering the most expensive country in the world for medical care and your provincial health insurance plan offers little protection there.”

Even a trip to another province can cost you thousands in the case of a medical emergency. Did you know that your provincial plan covers only some of the medical expenses you incur in another province?

Take the case of a young man from Quebec, let’s call him Robert. Robert went on a skiing vacation in Alberta and fractured his leg. His total medical expenses were about $1200 and his provincial plan covered just half of that. Or Mary, a 75-year-old, who had had a minor fall while visiting another province, resulting in multiple fractures. Her expenses included $32,000 for an air ambulance, $2,100 for 10 days in hospital, $4,500 for surgery, $3,200 in physician costs and $500 in ground ambulance fees. Her provincial plan covered just $2,000, leaving her with a bill of roughly $40,000.

Fortunately, they had both purchased travel insurance and all their expenses were paid. If they hadn’t, those bills would be theirs to pay.

None of us can control when or where an accident happens to us or a loved one. One thing you can control, though, is whether or not you and your family are protected.

Saving money Managing costs is high on the list of many families planning a trip. When budgeting, consider that the cost of travel insurance is tiny compared to the cost of not being covered if you need emergency medical care outside of your home province.

am i covered through my employer or credit card? Travel insurance provided by an employer or credit card is great to have, but these policies often have limitations on age and trip duration as well as other exclusions. Before travelling, review the policy to find out if your family is covered and what exclusions there may be. You can buy supplemental coverage to fill the gaps at affordable prices.

a tip for frequent travellerS If you travel more than a couple of times each year, look into a multi-trip annual plan. It will likely save you money over individual trip policies and eliminates the hassle of purchasing a policy for each trip.

No one likes to think of the potential for something to go wrong while on vacation. A good travel insurance policy lets you protect you and your family so you don’t have to worry. Contact your local insurance expert to discuss your options