The unexpected risks of being a snowbird
(NC) Every winter, flocks of retired Canadians head south. Too often, however, they overlook some important considerations to protect themselves before taking flight.
Just as you wouldn't want to leave for vacation without your passport or proper currency, travel insurance is essential for any trip – especially when planning a winter escape or extended vacation.
Everyone's heard horror stories of people who had medical emergencies while travelling and ended up owing thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars because they didn't purchase proper coverage. These types of unexpected events can happen anywhere, at any time and although you can't predict travel mishaps, you can plan for them.
According to a survey commissioned by American Express Canada, only 29 per cent of Canadians aged 55+ purchased travel insurance for their last trip and one in three do not plan to purchase it for their next trip. However, should a medical emergency occur while on vacation it could be a costly lesson, one that unfortunately happens more often than we think. The same survey found that four per cent of these individuals did indeed report a heart attack, broken bone, or other medical emergency while on vacation.
So what do medical expenses abroad actually cost? Although 69 per cent of those surveyed estimated that hospital treatment for a broken leg would be less than $5,000, the average cost in Florida for treatment of a broken leg is $11,000. Additionally, although 24 per cent said the average cost for open heart surgery and an extended hospital stay is less than $10,000, the reality is that the bill could run you close to $296,000.
With the expense of receiving medical treatment abroad being enough to leave many snowbirds returning home in debt, proper protection is not something to be ignored this winter. The cost for supplementary medical coverage is a small price to protect yourself from the financial consequences you can find yourself in, should something happen while you've gone south. Don't take chances. Find a customized plan to meet your own individual needs and budget so you can vacation with piece of mind.
More information about travel insurance is available online at https://insurance.americanexpress.ca.
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