Canadian Underwriter

Travellers would choose to pack electronic devices first over travel insurance: RBC Insurance

March 8, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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Regardless of whether a vacation is a return to a regular haunt or a brand new adventure, surveyed Canadians do not rank travel insurance as high on the priority list as other items, with more respondents making sure they pack electronic devices than insurance.

More than half of poll respondents would vacation without travel insurance

The top item travellers would never leave home without is a passport, cited by 75% of respondents, electronics, noted by 53%, and medication, reported by 49%, show findings from a poll conducted last December by Ipsos Reid on behalf of RBC Insurance.

A sample of 1,003 Canadians who claim to have travelled outside their home province within the last two years from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed online, notes a statement Tuesday from RBC Insurance, which, through its operating entities, provides travel, life, health, home and auto insurance, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, and creditor and business insurance services.

“Alarmingly, more than half of travellers (55%) would leave home without their travel insurance,” the press release states.

“When deciding what to pack, it’s not surprising that our passport tops the list of items travellers would never leave home without,” says Anita Mukherjee, head of travel for RBC Insurance. “However, what’s alarming is that Canadians are more focused on their electronic devices, such as a cellphone and laptop, than travel insurance,” Mukherjee adds.

In all, 43% of polled Canadian travellers have experienced at least one unwanted travelling scenario while on vacation, with 16% saying that they have lost luggage and 15% reporting that they have had to go to a local hospital or doctor’s office.

There is an age divide among those who pack travel insurance. “As travellers get older, they are more likely to bring travel insurance when leaving home, whereas only 26% of young adults (age 18 to 34) list travel insurance as one of the items they’d definitely pack when travelling,” RBC Insurance reports. Young travellers are more likely to remember items such as their electronic devices (69%) and medication (38%).

It also matters what kind of traveller one is, namely play-it-by-ear pilgrims, timid trekkers, scheduled sightseers, armchair adventurers or risk-taking rovers.

Results show that 50% of polled scheduled sightseers are most likely to never leave home without travel insurance, just ahead of timid trekkers (49%), play-it-by-ear pilgrims (47%), risk-taking rovers (42%) and armchair adventurers (32%).

“Travel insurance is there to protect you against emergencies or unforeseen events, so it’s important for Canadians to realize the value in having travel insurance and purchase appropriate coverage before leaving home,” Mukherjee says in the statement. 

It is necessary, however, to understand what an insurance policy does and does not cover.