Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Risky retreats: Canadians more likely to travel without travel insurance

One in three Canadians say travel insurance is an unnecessary expense according to American Express study

MARKHAM, Ontario, Sept. 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Most Canadians would never question the need for car insurance, but many are willing to take the risk of travelling uninsured, according to new survey results released today by American Express Canada. The results reveal that over half of those Canadians surveyed are planning to travel in the next six months; however, only 59 per cent will purchase travel insurance prior to taking off on their next trip. This number isn't surprising considering that 30 per cent of Canadians and 42 per cent of those 18 to 34 admit that they have never purchased it.

These results suggest that Canadians are bigger risk-takers than they admit. The study found that 39 per cent of Canadians do not consider themselves to be risk-takers, but the truth is many are taking gambles all the time while travelling, the biggest being forgoing travel insurance. In fact, when it comes to Canadians pre-travel checklist, most prioritized researching things to do at their destination (80%) over purchasing travel insurance (61%).

43 per cent have travelled alone
15 per cent have travelled off resort when it's not advised
1 in 10 say they've travelled to countries with known travel warnings
14 percent have travel to a remote location removed from medical assistance
10 per cent have drove a scooter or motorcycle without a helmet while travelling

"The high percentage of Canadians who choose to opt out of travel insurance when planning a vacation is rather surprising for a nation of people that don't consider themselves to be risk takers," says Jeff Gladwish, Director of Insurances at American Express Canada. "A lot of people don't realize that your provincial health care may not cover your entire medical expenses abroad, leaving you vulnerable while you're away from home."

The study found that most Canadians are naïve when it comes to the cost of the treating medical conditions away from home. A mere two per cent of Canadians would be willing and able to pay $10,000 or more out-of-pocket for medical expenses while travelling, an amount which would likely not cover even the most basic of accidents in many parts of the world.

"You often hear travel horror stories, but you never expect it's going to be you," says Sue Noble, Burlington, Ontario, who was travelling when tragedy struck. Noble's husband was rushed to hospital for an emergency surgery after suffering a severe heart attack. "It was terrifying and the last thing I wanted to worry about was how we were going to pay for it all. Our total cost totalled $300,116. Without travel insurance, our medical bills would have left us broke."

What's deterring Canadians from purchasing travel insurance? Canadians don't know if they're getting a good deal (72%), they think there is too much jargon and don't understand what coverage includes (66%), and that it's too complicated to compare one product to another (65%).

"We understand that there's a lot of confusion about travel insurance in the marketplace, which is why we believe that a 'one size fits all' approach doesn't work," says Gladwish. "Look for flexible plans, like the ones offered by American Express Travel Insurance, to make sure you get coverage that fits your budget and your needs."

For more information visit or call 1-866-292-5234. We welcome all major credit cards including American Express, Visa, and MasterCard.

About American Express Canada

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, the Platinum Card ®, the American Express AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.

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