Do You Really Need Travel Insurance For Your Tropical Getaway?

By: Nelson Smith on February 2, 2015

It isn’t their fault. It’s just that a combination of short days, cold temperatures, icy roads and snowy yards has a way of really getting us down. It’s like every cold February day is quietly mocking us, reminding us that spring is coming but just isn’t here yet. No wonder it’s the shortest month.

Many Canadians take off to a warmer part of the world trying to beat the winter blues. But, many of them are missing one key piece of luggage. No, it’s not their bathing suit, tank top, or sunscreen. It’s something much more important – travel insurance.

Upon first glance, it doesn’t seem so bad. After all, most people only go to the hospital a handful of times during their young and healthy years, and usually have to be dragged there by a supportive relative or friend. What are the odds of falling ill during just a week away?

From that perspective, it seems like a pretty small financial sin to omit travel insurance for a short time away. It’s true that the possibility of something happening is remote, but it carries a large amount of risk if something does happen.
In terms of trips to the United States, getting travel insurance is pretty close to a no-brainer. For a Canadian traveling south of the border, a medical emergency could be enough to ruin your finances for the rest of your life.
We’ve all heard the stories about the astronomical cost of the U.S. health care system. I once heard it described as charging $1,000 just to open the door to the Emergency Room, and that was years ago. Imagine how much something seemingly minor could cost, like a broken bone or a bad case of food poisoning. You could easily be looking at a bill in the five-figure range.
Now imagine how much a car accident with serious injuries could cost.
The reality is, most Canadians can’t afford to miss a month’s worth of paycheques without putting themselves into a financial bind. They save for months to be able to afford that week away. Are they really in the financial position to risk going without travel insurance?
That’s the whole point of insurance, to make sure that a medical catastrophe doesn’t become a financial one as well. For the low price of approximately $2 per day, you can make sure that you’re protected when traveling to the U.S. Considering the possible risk involved for a traveler, it’s a no-brainer to carry travel insurance.
But what about for other tropical destinations like Mexico or Cuba? Chances are there will be good hospitals close to big tourist destinations, and each country has relatively inexpensive care. U.S. patients have been going to Mexico for cheap health care for decades now.
But just because somewhere is cheaper than the U.S., doesn’t make it affordable for the average Canadian who has just spent most of their disposable income on a vacation in Cancun. Instead of something minor setting you back $10,000, perhaps it only costs $4,000. Just because it’s less doesn’t mean you can necessarily afford it.
Travel insurance is easily bought online, even right here at It doesn’t cost much, and even though you’re almost guaranteed to not have to use it, you should buy it just for your peace of mind. Considering the potential consequences, it’s a pretty smart investment.