New Surveys Show Canadian Travel to the US Is Up—and So Is Insurance Coverage

Despite a plethora of news stories asserting deteriorating relationships between Canada and the US over trade and political differences, it appears Canadians have not pared back their leisure travel plans south of the border to their most favoured vacation destinations.

In fact, according to new data reported by the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) and Statistics Canada, Canadian leisure trips to the US lasting at least one night increased in 2017 by almost 4.5 per cent from 2016’s number, rising to 15.5 million—the first annual increase since 2013.

Overall, Canadians made over 25.5 million leisure trips out of the country (to both the US and abroad) in 2017, more than in the previous two years.


More than three-quarters maintain travel coverage

The CBoC survey also commissioned a poll of Canadians to determine their travel insurance buying habits. It found that 78 per cent of those who had travelled out of the country within the past three years were covered by some form of travel insurance on their last trip—with as many as 93.4 per cent of travellers 65 and older claiming coverage.

Moreover, even within the youngest age cohorts surveyed (18–24), more than 60 per cent reported having insurance coverage when travelling. And the numbers only increase from there: 35- to 44-year-olds recorded 72 per cent coverage, while 55- to 65-year-olds recorded 84.5 per cent coverage.


Where do travel insurance vendors still need to concentrate their efforts?

Of those claiming to have travelled with no out-of-country insurance coverage:

  • 5 per cent didn’t think it was necessary;
  • 1 per cent said they did not think about getting insurance;
  • 6 per cent forgot or thought it too inconvenient;
  • 3 per cent said it was too expensive;
  • 9 per cent declined as their trip was only for a night or two.


What type of coverage did they buy?

Of those who did purchase insurance for their travels:

  • 4 per cent bought single-trip plans;
  • 15 per cent bought annual/multi-trip plans;
  • 11 per cent were covered by premium credit cards or other plan types.

And where did they buy their most recent single-trip or multi-trip coverage?

  • 8 per cent from an insurance company or broker;
  • 1 per cent from a travel agent;
  • 4 per cent from a financial association;
  • 4 per cent from a membership association.


The CBoC poll also confirmed the steady advance of online purchasing of travel insurance policies, which accounts for 34.8 per cent of sales (that is up from 5 per cent in 2005). The data also show that 29.2 per cent of sales are done in person, and 29.8 per cent over the telephone.

The 2018 survey was conducted in April by a professional polling firm commissioned by the CBoC. The survey was administered online and the end results were weighted by age, gender, and region of residence to reflect the composition of the Canadian adult population.

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