Less than Half of Canadians Buy Travel Insurance, Even as Threats to Health Emerge Worldwide

Just 40% of Canadians purchase travel insurance, reveals ‘Nervous About Coronavirus?’ report from Rates.ca

Toronto, ON (Mar. 4, 2020) – While the coronavirus outbreak and recent calamities such as the Australia and California bushfires have raised concerns for travellers around the world, only four in 10 Canadians who travel outside of Canada purchase insurance for their trip, according to a new Rates.ca report.

“Sometimes unexpected things can happen when you’re travelling and you may need to seek emergency medical attention or have to end your trip earlier than planned. Without appropriate coverage, costs could be exorbitant,” explains Liam Lahey, Editor at Rates.ca. “For example, a visit to a hospital in the U.S. for something as minor as a broken arm or a new plane ticket home can cost you thousands of dollars.”

According to data on Canadian travellers who compared travel insurance quotes on Rates.ca, the most popular destination is overwhelmingly the U.S., with Mexico, Cuba, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Australia and Italy the next top picks for out-of-country travel. In light of the increasing global health risks, like the recent influx of new COVID-19 cases in Italy, it is more important than ever to act with prudence and consider travel insurance when making future travel plans.

Canadians who do purchase travel insurance consider the following issues when determining the type of coverage they need:

  • Sixty-three per cent cite concern about the destination country’s health care system
  • Fifty-six per cent say they purchase coverage for the activities they will participate in while away, like skiing or diving
  • Half of respondents state that the political climate of their destination is a factor
  • Forty-five per cent cite concerns about the risk of disease outbreaks
  • Thirty-nine per cent are concerned about floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters

“Getting the protection you need before departing Canada may cost around $40[1] for a week’s worth of all-inclusive insurance coverage in the U.S.,” Lahey said. “Without a travel insurance policy, medical attention can cost you thousands of dollars, and you would be responsible for paying that bill,” Lahey said.

Rates.ca offers these tips to Canadians who are planning their next trip:

  • Check the travel advisories before you leave Canada.
  • If the Canadian government has issued one of the two most serious travel advisories – “avoid all travel” or “avoid all non-essential travel” – before you leave Canada, trip cancellation insurance will cover any non-refundable expenses.
  • If the advisory is issued while you are already on your trip, trip interruption insurance will pay for your flight home ahead of schedule.
  • Should you decide to travel despite these advisories, you may find your emergency medical coverage nullified.
  • Then, find out which coverage and amount of coverage is adequate depending on your age, health, planned activities, and vacation destination:
    • Emergency medical insurance – (aka travel health insurance) is possibly the most important type to get. This type of insurance provides coverage if you suffer an injury or fall ill.
    • Trip cancellation and baggage insurance – With Canada’s new Air Passenger Protection Regulations, Canadians may now receive compensation due to flight delay or cancellation, or loss of luggage or damage. However, there are no guarantees of payment. It is worthwhile to consider trip cancellation and baggage protection insurance as part of your overall policy.
    • Trip interruption insurance – This policy is designed to protect you from paying all or part of your trip if an insured incident causes the trip to be cancelled or cut short.
    • All-inclusive travel insurance – Bundles the most common travel policies together to give you comprehensive coverage.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Residents of B.C. are the most likely to buy travel insurance (56 per cent), followed by Quebec (42 per cent).
  • Canadians who earn $80,000 per year or more are the most likely to buy travel insurance (50 per cent). People who earn less than $40,000 annually (28 per cent) are the least likely to buy travel insurance.
  • Two-thirds of Canadians (64 per cent) consider the duration of travel to decide how much travel insurance coverage to buy.
  • The condition of one’s health (58 per cent) and an individual’s age (67 per cent) factors prominently with persons 55 years or older when buying travel insurance.

To review the survey’s findings, visit Rates.ca.


1. travel quote is based on a 45-year-old male who is a nonsmoker with no pre-existing conditions, and who is travelling alone to the U.S. for seven days.

About the Survey

An online survey of 1,514 Canadians was conducted by Leger Marketing from February 7 to February 10, 2020, using Leger’s online panel. The sample’s ages ranged from 18 to 55+ years old. Only those who have purchased travel insurance in the last three years are reported. The margin of error for this study is ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About Rates.ca

Rates.ca is Canada’s one-stop-shop for the best rates on insurance and money products. Rates.ca publishes rates from 30+ insurance providers so that shoppers can find the best rates for themselves. Use the site to find the best rates for auto, home, travel insurance, mortgages and credit cards. Headquartered in Toronto, Rates.ca is located at 360 Adelaide Street West, Suite 100, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1R7.

SOURCE: Proof Inc. for Rates.ca

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