Usually, these short journeys are in search of shopping deals south of the border. Whether it’s in search of new clothes, a new mobile device, gasoline or even larger expenditures such as appliances, Canadians regularly cross that border looking for savings. Even with the rise of online shopping, the lustre of back-to-school, end of season, and Black Friday sales make a hop in the car a fun adventure.
There are other reasons for that short trip, too: business, a hike with a backpack, or a fun vacation day with the family.
Remember: No trip is too short for travel insurance protection
Why do you need insurance? Even if you only plan to cross the border for a few hours, serious illness or injury can happen unexpectedly at any time, requiring costly medical attention in the United States.
Many Canadians have discovered that a cross-border medical emergency can cost tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, creating financial hardship for their families, as most of these costs are not covered by Canadian Government Health Insurance plans. Your provincial government health plan pays only a very small portion of medical expenses incurred outside of Canada.
Travel medical insurance helps take care of you and your family and can protect your finances. It also includes 24/7 emergency medical assistance. Specialists can help you navigate healthcare services outside of Canada and guide you in seeking and receiving proper treatment. It really gives you peace of mind to know that if something unexpected happens, you will have someone to turn to for help.
Opting out can be costly
Too many Canadians who cross the border opt out of travel insurance protection. Most of the time these travelers get away with having no coverage since the odds of a drastic medical emergency happening are small.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that you could just cross back into Canada if you get sick or injured, where your provincial healthcare coverage is waiting for you.
There is definitely a chance that an accident, heart attack or stroke could result in immediate hospitalization, sometimes for several days. The result is a whopping hospital bill that would have been covered by a travel insurance plan for a few dollars per day!
Take a look at this 2016 infographic by the insurer RSA to see the financial impact you could face.
What Types of Travel Insurance are There?
Why take a chance when travel insurance coverage for such a short duration is so reasonable? Here are options you can consider:
Crossing the border multiple times each year?
A multi-trip travel insurance plan may be your best option. It is also referred to as “annual” travel insurance, and it offers coverage for an unlimited number of cross-border trips for a specified trip length. The shorter the trip length that is covered, the cheaper the premium.
For a trip length of four days (for a person aged 35) we find that the premium ranges anywhere from $23 to $46. In other words, for the same price as a bottle of nice wine, a Canadian can get travel insurance that covers all of their cross-border shopping trips for one year! As an added bonus, every trip within Canada outside of your province will be covered no matter how frequently you travel.
Only crossing once or twice a year?
A “single-trip” travel insurance plan might be the way to go. We find that a 35 year old who travels to the U.S. for four days can expect to pay a premium of about $10 to $25.
When should you buy?
Buy your travel insurance as far ahead of your travel time as possible — especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are over 55. Don’t wait until the day before you leave to call SBIS.
You want to be able to complete the forms and any necessary medical questionnaires without hurrying, and you must read the certificate of coverage from start to finish before you leave. Getting the right insurance is serious business; it’s anything but an annoying formality. A denied claim can ruin your finances.
Talk to us before you pack the car
We can work with you to find your ideal plan. And remember that travel insurance often comes as part of a personal health insurance plan — it could be the option for you. Talk to one of our specialists today to find out more.