Half of Canadians will put their physical, financial health at risk on their next vacation

Desjardins Financial Security’s newest survey finds youth are particularly at risk

Lévis, QC (June 12, 2012) – Canadians are planning to stay close to home for their leisure travel in the coming year, according to Desjardins Financial Security’s recent national survey. In fact, 57% expect to visit the US and 62% will travel within Canada*. Among this last group of respondents, 36% aren’t planning on purchasing travel insurance.

The DFS survey also pointed out that 91% of respondents agreed that personal safety is an important consideration when they travel. Despite this revelation, only 52% of respondents** intended to buy travel insurance for their next out-of-province or international trip.

“While safety is obviously an important factor for Canadians, it’s clear that many are not taking steps to prepare for the unexpected when they travel,” said François Morel, insurance sales consultant with Desjardins Financial Security. “For example, treating an uncomplicated lower leg or arm fracture in a US hospital could cost well in excess of $10,000 for an uninsured patient. Removal of the appendix, another common and unpredictable procedure, costs an average of $33,000.”

Young travellers more carefree, take more risks than their older counterparts

Young people aged 18 to 24 were much less likely to make sure they always carry travel insurance. Among those respondents, only 42.1% say that they always carry travel insurance when they travel out of province, compared to 63.2% overall.

Alarmingly, young people were much more cavalier about the need for insurance when traveling south of the boarder. They were over 20 percentage points less likely than the average respondent to disagree with the statement “Travel insurance is unnecessary when travelling to the US.” While traveling, they were also more likely to take part in risky sports or activities (57.7% compared to 37.2% overall) and less likely than the average Canadian to take precautions against illnesses not generally found in Canada (71.8% compared to 85.5% overall).

“Our results show that this combination of riskier behaviour and a lower likelihood of being insured means that younger people may be especially vulnerable when travelling,” said Morel. “Parents whose young adult children are planning summer vacations should consider encouraging them to purchase travel insurance. Young people may not always realize the risks – or the tremendous cost of emergency health care if necessary.”

Even within Canada, medical costs incurred outside of the home province are not completely covered. Interprovincial agreements exist but usually require that a patient must pay up front, and coverage varies widely by province. Morel suggests that no matter the out-of-province destination purchasing travel insurance should be top of your to-do list.

For more information about the Desjardins Financial Security 2012 health survey, visit www.desjardinslifeinsurance.com. To learn more about DFS travel insurance, visit the Going on a Trip section at www.desjardinslifeinsurance.com.

* 1/3 of those traveling in Canada will travel outside their province of residence
** Quebec and Ontario respondents only

About Desjardins Financial Security

Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in providing life and health insurance and retirement savings products to individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians rely on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial security. Desjardins Financial Security employs over 3,600 people and administers $33.0 billion in assets from offices in several cities across the country, including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Lévis, Halifax and St. John’s. For more information, visit the website at www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com.