Columnist image
Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Budget considerations are the top factor in Canadian's travel plans this year, according to a new RBC survey, but a close second is the allure of exploring home with 62 per cent suggesting they had a desire to discover Canada, and 39 per cent indicating Canada's 150th birthday influenced their decision to travel within the country. In fact, RBC found while 79 per cent of Canadians are planning to travel in 2017 the majority are planning a staycation.

I have to believe the Canadian dollar also plays a role in the decision making. The loonie is the worst currency performer year to date, so if you are looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, quite literally, this is a good year to do it and explore the true north. 

Given this study was published by the insurance branch of RBC, it isn't surprising they highlight millions of Canadians might overlook travel insurance and yet would never leave home without their cellphones (75 per cent), followed by securing their homes (61 per cent), and doing a vehicle checkup (51 per cent).

I appreciate the importance of the top three must dos, and would include them in my own list as well. What doesn't make sense to me is that 60 per cent would leave home without purchasing travel insurance. Interesting to note that for those travelling abroad, 75 per cent indicated they would purchase travel insurance for their trip. And if you are part of the majority who weren't likely to purchase travel insurance, the reasons cited by many were the belief the were already covered via a credit card or group benefit, while 15 per cent were prepared to take the chance it would be smooth sailing.

There is little doubt there is a preconceived notion you need insurance when you travel outside of the country but not inside. Yet if something happens to you when travelling in Canada we need to be aware the government health plan may or may not cover all medical expenses outside your home province. Items like air ambulances, X-rays, prescription drugs or emergency dental work are often not included.

So before you pack up your bags and hit the road, here are a few considerations:

  • Explore your insurance coverage to ensure you are protected in the event you find yourself in an emergency medical situation. 
  • Consider travel insurance, the risk return pay off could be big. For a relatively small fee you get a huge amount of peace of mind.
  • Have your car serviced and tuned up if required.
  • Before you leave, ensure a family member or friend has a copy of your itinerary. 

There can be times when the safest course isn't always the smartest course, but I honestly believe it doesn't make sense to not take precautions for the "what if" scenario when you are travelling. It is natural to think positively and assume nothing is going to happen to you, and the odds are it won't. But is that a risk worth taking? Travel insurance is best if never used and invaluable if you need it.