Last year, due to some changes to duty free limits more and more Canadians are border hopping for deals on everything from clothes to groceries to gas. So, whether the reason is Black Friday or any seasonal deals, you like many Canadians may decide to head south for a quick trip to Buffalo or Washington state.
Making sure you’re prepared, you put together a list:
- Your passport
- Some U.S. cash
- Maybe just enough gas in the car to make it to the first gas station across the border
Did you forget anything?
If you’re like many Canadians, you sure did – you forgot to get travel insurance. As Canadians, we’re so used to having free healthcare that we overlook the need to be properly covered when travelling abroad. However, from the moment we step foot across the border, we should be very concerned about U.S. healthcare costs.
If we’re young and healthy we may not even think we really need this type of insurance coverage. We’re not likely to have a medical emergency if we’re fit and the ticker’s pumping at 100%. The problem of course is that most medical emergencies are the ones we are not prepared for – those that are unexpected and unforeseen. No matter how young and healthy you are, you can still end up with a medical emergency.
The cause can be something as simple and random as a traffic accident: someone rear-ends you as you wait to turn left into the discount outlet mall. A bit of whiplash, some burns from the airbag and all of a sudden you’re in for an ambulance ride to an American emergency room. You can quickly be into it for thousands of dollars in medical costs once the ambulance drops you off and the x-rays begin.
Those same rear-enders can and do happen even while you’re in the midst of the traffic congestion to return back across the border. If you get hit from behind and break a bone while knee deep in long weekend traffic, you may end up getting taken to a US hospital via air ambulance. A simple accident like that can quickly run you into the tens of thousands of dollars in costs.
But it gets even more expensive. You’re in the hospital getting checked in. You’ve got a busted car and travelling companions with no way to return home. That’s where the added benefits of travel medical insurance come in. Proper travel medical coverage means the American medical system is going to be able to look after you as required without you ever seeing a bill. Not only will the helicopter ride to the hospital be covered, but your car and travelling companion may also be eligible to be returned home without you.
Are any of these situations likely to happen? Hopefully not. Do these situations happen? Absolutely.
With the high volume of Canadians travelling across the border these days, even young and healthy day trippers run into medical emergencies, right up to the point when they’re returning through customs. So remember, whether you’re on a day trip or a week’s vacation, if you’re driving across the border for some shopping, make sure you sign up for travel insurance. It’s inexpensive and will help you feel better while away, knowing you’re protected.
Regardless of which plan you decide to buy, always be sure to read your travel insurance policy wording in its entirety so that you understand the terms, conditions and exclusions related to your coverage. Following this advice will help you to ensure you have purchased the right coverage to meet your unique travel needs, and will give you a better understanding of some of the useful benefits available to you that may otherwise be overlooked. If you have questions about your coverage, contact your insurance provider who will be happy to provide more details as needed.
This post was written by Dan Keon, Director of Marketing and Communications at Allianz Global Assistance, a Canadian travel assistance provider. Allianz Global Assistance is the registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. Travel Insurance products are underwritten by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company Canadian Branch.