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Industry News > 2014 THIA Smart Travellers' Survey

2014 THIA Smart Travellers' Survey

posted on 7:39 AM, September 22, 2014
National survey of Canadian travellers reveals that more people plan to travel this winter. But, only 47 per cent of Canadians make travel insurance a priority, a cause for concern given the cost of uninsured medical care.

TORONTO - September 22, 2014 – More Canadians plan to hit the road and the skies this winter, but will they build travel insurance into their holiday plans? Thirty-six per cent of respondents to a Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA) survey(1) say they are more likely to travel this winter after last year’s extreme temperatures. However, the nationally representative survey of Canadians and their travel habits revealed that only 47 per cent of Canadians always purchase travel insurance before embarking on a trip, with the majority of those people (56 per cent) being 55 or older. 

Respondents from Quebec (48 per cent) and Ontario (36 per cent) are more likely to travel this winter while residents of British Columbia reported the lowest expectation (24 per cent) for increased travel after last year’s weather. Seventy per cent of those travelling this winter are headed to warm destinations.

“Everyone deserves to have a carefree vacation, especially after the winter we experienced last year” said THiA President Alex Bittner. “We need to work harder to ensure that more Canadians are travelling smart this year. Travelling without appropriate coverage can cause a lot of stress given that the cost of a broken limb in the United States can be up to $25,000.”

Of statistics:

  • Sixty-seven per cent don’t know if provincial health plans cover out-of-province medical care
  • Forty per cent don’t know what kind of travel insurance coverage they currently have 
  • Fifty per cent of those who experienced unexpected health concerns while travelling had travel health insurance: a positive given the cost of out-of-province medical care to our most popular destination, the United States 
  • Thirty-eight per cent of respondents indicated that unexpected medical expenses of between $1,000 and $5,000 would represent a financial crisis and a majority of people (57 per cent) would pay whatever necessary for a loved ones’ health care 
  • Eighteen per cent have inadvertently provided inaccurate health information on travel health insurance forms – something that is to be avoided as it can void an insurance policy
  • Fourteen per cent have deliberately provided inaccurate health information on travel insurance applications to receive a lower rate or because the form was too onerous
  • Only 33 per cent have reviewed medical forms with a physician when applying for travel heath insurance

Fun facts:

  • Canadians are a pretty laid back bunch with 60 per cent identifying themselves as “relaxed sun-seekers”
  • Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves risk-averse
  • Seventeen per cent have skinny dipped on vacation with the highest number of skinny-dippers hailing from Ontario (20 per cent) and Quebec (18 per cent) and the fewest coming from the Maritimes (13 per cent) and British Columbia (15 per cent)

“Travel health insurance should be more important than a bathing suit on vacation,” said Bittner. “Many people will already have some coverage through employers or credit cards and it’s important to understand existing coverage and ensure you have the necessary supplemental coverage.”

THiA recommends that Canadians do the following to have carefree vacations:

  • 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? 
  • Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance companies have staff available to answer any questions related to policies 

The THiA website has a guide available to help Canadians understand their travel insurance needs before they investigate policies. 

National online survey of 1007 Canadians, conducted September 11 - 12, 2014.

About the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA) 

Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice of the travel insurance industry in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs and member communications. 

For more information or to speak to a THiA spokesperson, please contact:

Auravelia Colomer                                                  Adrienne Simic

Media Profile                                                          Media Profile

416-342-1820                                                       416-342-1800

auravelia.colomer@mediaprofile.com                       Adrienne.simic@mediaprofile.com