The answer is a resounding yes! If you are on the side of the 50% of Canadian youth not purchasing travel insurance for travel outside of the country, you may want to take five minutes to find out why you absolutely, positively need it.
The unexpected can occur when you least expect it
Do you remember the story of Anna Leibenko, the Canadian whose trip to Croatia was interrupted by a serious boating accident? A young woman who remained in critical condition for weeks after her injury? The only thing that makes her story more tragic is the fact that Anna was the only one of her group of four who didn’t get travel insurance before her trip. Or what about 11-year-old Jaylynn Graham, a pre-teen from Ontario who travelled—without travel insurance—to Jamaica with her father and suffered a stroke during her time away? Although neither of these emergencies could have been prevented, much of the aftermath could have.
The cost of health care abroad can be surprisingly high
Without travel insurance, Anna’s parents couldn’t afford the $84,000 air ambulance bill to get their daughter home right away. Instead, Anna stayed in a Croatian hospital for more than 10 days, accruing medical fees in the thousands of dollars. While Anna was “stranded” in another country, worried loved ones paid for a flight to be by her side. (With travel insurance, a family member’s flight and accommodations are arranged and paid for.)
The medical fees for the operation performed on Jaylynn’s brain combined with the cost of any additional care she received may have been less drastic—at just over $2,000—but it’s still not an amount a parent wants to pay out of pocket mid-vacation. (With travel insurance, the necessary care is provided and paid for, while emergency flights home are covered and coordinated without delay.)
With a little help from their friends
Amidst all the bad news, Anna’s family was fortunate that friends organized a donations website, and raised over $100,000 to put towards her medical fees. Without these funds, Anna may not have been flown home for continued care less than a couple of weeks after her accident
And lucky for Jaylynn, the cost of health care in Jamaica is relatively low; but still, family back home set up an account through which donations would be sent directly to the hospital in Jamaica, while Canadian consulate officials continued to do what they could to try and get her home as soon as possible.
Why travel insurance is a must—not a maybe!
The moral of these sad stories? Of course, travel insurance will not miraculously cure you in the event of a medical emergency abroad. But, in many instances, it could help save your life. How? By ensuring you get the right medical attention where you need it, when you need it most. Getting travel insurance also means having access to a toll-free emergency assistance line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And once the experts are involved, you don’t have to worry about coordinating the necessary care—or financing it—if you are seriously ill or injured during your travels. Critical decisions are made swiftly, language barriers are overcome, costs are negotiated, emergency transportation is arranged, and family is where they should be during a time like this: at the patient’s side.
No excuse not to buy: The ‘young and healthy’ can afford it
When you consider the low costs of travel insurance for a short trip overseas, you have to wonder why 50% of young people in Canada aren’t getting the necessary coverage. Whether a 24-year-old planning a 14-day trip to Europe or an 11-year-old vacationing in Jamaica for a couple of weeks, paying approximately $25 for travel insurance will get you a comprehensive medical plan that covers up to $5 million. Is there any reason not to make this potentially life-saving purchase? We’ll say it again: $25 now can save you tens of thousands of dollars later. So which side of the 50% are you going to be on the next time you plan a trip?
Update on Anna Leibenko: As of November 16, 2012, Anna is on the road to recovery at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
Update on Jaylynn Graham: As of November 20th, Jaylynn’s condition was stable enough to fly home the following day. (After some confusion about Jamaican versus Canadian currency, the amount owing for medical bills was deemed significantly lower than initially reported.)
Planning a trip? Need travel insurance? Additional benefits are also available:
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption – protection for the pre-paid, non-refundable cost of your travel arrangements should your trip be called off prior to departure or cut short for unforeseen reasons
- Baggage Insurance – coverage for baggage delays and lost or stolen baggage
- All-Inclusive Plans – includes both medical and non-medical coverage
Learn more about our services and products by visiting the Ingle International main page.