With the frigid temperatures, we are currently experiencing and talk of the polar vortex getting more popular, it’s not surprising that many Canadians are looking to travel south to bask in warmer temperatures and sandy beaches.

The Flight Centre reports that travel inquiries have doubled since the beginning of January with Canadians longing for spots such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba.

Besides thinking about bikinis, beverages and beaches, travellers might want to give consideration to something less fun but still necessary, travel protection.

A recent survey by the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada indicates that 35% of Canadian travellers do not buy travel health insurance yet 21% of respondents admit to receiving medical treatment while they were travelling.

THIA president, John Thain points out that most Canadians aren’t properly informed about travel insurance and medical coverage available when outside the country.

“Only 6% of Canadians realize that provincial health plans cover about 9% of medical expenses when you are travelling outside of Canada. Travel health insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen medical expenses.”

Interestingly, 60% of those who received medical attention while away had extended medical insurance to pay for the associated expenses and the same number say they would pay whatever was necessary for medical treatment.

The survey also showed that associated medical expenses of more than $1,000 would represent a financial crisis for 34% of respondents. Furthermore, 32% indicated that unforeseen medical expenses of $5,000 or more would represent a financial crisis.

While it’s feasible many vacationers will already have some coverage through employers or credit cards, it’s important to understand what is covered and to make certain that the necessary supplemental coverage is available, added Thain.

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