The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada

The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada

February 25, 2010 09:00 ET

THIA Urges Families To Cover Spring Break With Travel Insurance

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 25, 2010) - With spring break approaching fast, Canada's Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA) urges parents to make sure they, their children, and young students in their family travelling on their own, are well insured for unexpected emergency out-of-country medical care. 

"The risks are too great not to have proper insurance," says Martha Turnbull, president of THIA.

Many vacationers tend to think of travel insurance as something just for snowbirds or the elderly, but children in a strange environment are very prone to accidents, unexplained fevers, gastric upsets, or sudden illnesses, and even short visits to hospital emergency rooms can run into thousands of dollars.

"From now until spring break is over in mid-April, hospital emergency room staff throughout the U.S. sunbelt, and in vacation spots such as Cancun, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and even on cruise ships will see unusually high rates of children's and young persons' admissions," says Ms. Turnbull. "Unfortunately, children do not get reduced rates at hospitals or emergency clinics," she adds.

Parents should also be vigilant about their student offspring taking spring break vacations on their own, and should insist they have appropriate out-of-country health insurance. If necessary, they should buy it for them. "It's a lot cheaper than paying for emergency care out of their own pockets or hiring an air ambulance to bring them to a hospital near home," says Ms. Turnbull.

"If young spring breakers do get into problems, travel insurers will not only arrange proper care, but pay to have them repatriated by air if the emergency warrants," says Ms. Turnbull. She adds that air ambulances from the southern U.S. to anywhere in Canada can cost $25,000 or more. And if parents choose to fly South to be with their student sons or daughters while they are in hospital, the costs can be unmanageable.

Considering that travel insurance premiums for young, healthy people are inexpensive, and would likely cost less per day than the cost of a hamburger and fries "there is just no reason not to buy travel insurance," says Ms. Turnbull. "Certainly, provincial health insurance won't come close to paying the costs of foreign hospital bills, and air ambulance repatriations would be out of the question. In fact all provincial and federal governments clearly urge all out of country travellers to get supplemental insurance for their own safety and well being."

Travel insurance is widely accessible throughout Canada: at banks, through brokers, motor leagues and directly online from travel insurers, and for young people with no health problems it may take only minutes to buy, says Ms. Turnbull.

About THIA. THIA is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. Its website is

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