TORONTO, Oct. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Global instability and health concerns are leading Canadians to change their travel plans, according to the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA). The number of Canadians purchasing travel health insurance increased to 78 percent in 2015, up from 74 percent in 2014, according to a Conference Board of Canada study. According to the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA) of Canada's consumer survey, 13 percent of respondents have altered travel plans because of civil unrest or violent events and 14 percent of travellers of child-bearing age have changed their travel plans because of concerns about the Zika Virus.
"Everyone deserves a carefree vacation," said THIA President Will McAleer. "Canadians need to know their policies, know their health and know their trip before departing. An increase in cancelled trips highlights the importance of understanding one's policy. One good example of this is a clear understanding of what kind of requirements exist to claim trip cancellation insurance."
Forty percent of respondents believe that trip cancellation is covered when Travel Advisories are issued, something which isn't necessarily accurate. And, only 47 percent regularly review their coverage before embarking on trips. Every policy is different and THIA recommends that Canadian travellers understand the importance of reviewing their policies to ensure their needs are addressed.
Travel health insurance is designed to protect travellers from unexpected expenses - be they related to medical emergencies or concerns about particular travel destinations. Forty-eight percent of Canadians travel at least once a year and 64 percent plan to travel this winter.
Concerns about the Zika Virus resulted in 14 per cent of respondents who were planning pregnancies to change their travel plans from tropical destinations to Europe, the US or within Canada, and 35 per cent cancelling their trips altogether.
Travelling while pregnant
Pregnant travellers are encouraged to understand their policies as well as their health. Ninety percent of people did not know that most travel health insurance policies don't cover the insured during the last nine weeks of pregnancy. Forty-three percent of respondents believe that medical care for a pre-term infant is covered by travel health insurance, while the reality is that insurance likely will only cover the medical expenses of the mother (the insured).
Ongoing medical conditions
Most survey respondents know that pre-existing medical conditions can invalidate a travel health insurance claim and 90 percent understand what constitutes a pre-existing condition. Ninety-four percent have changed travel plans after their healthcare provider ordered tests or investigative services.
Golden rules of travel health insurance
THiA recommends that Canadians do the following to have carefree vacations:
- Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies
- Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions
- 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? Some policies will be more suitable for you than others
The THiA website has a guide available to help Canadians understand their travel insurance needs before they investigate policies.