# Tuesday, December 9, 2014
                 
Many Canadians enjoy shopping for deals south of the border. Whether it is new clothes, a new mobile device, gasoline or even larger expenditures such as appliances, Canadians regularly cross that border in search of savings.
Cross Border Shopping
In the last decade cross border shopping has steadily been on the rise. A Statistics Canada study done in 2014 found that cross border shopping nearly doubled from 2006 to 2012 ($4.7 billion spent to $8 billion spent, respectively).

Unfortunately, too many Canadians that cross the border opt out of travel insurance protection. Most of the times these travelers get away with no coverage since the odds of some drastic medical emergency happening are remote. Oftentimes the thought pattern is that we can just cross the border back into Canada if we get ill or injured, where our provincial healthcare coverage is waiting for us.

However, cases do occur where a Canadian who has crossed the border for the day is incapacitated and ends up in an American hospital for several days. The result is a whopping hospital bill that would have been covered by a travel insurance plan for a few dollars per day!

In fact, things such as massive heart attacks and severe strokes result in situations where immediate hospitalization is an absolute must for survival, regardless of how close the border is.

Why take a chance when travel insurance coverage for such a short duration is so cheap?

Suitable Types of Travel Insurance

If you are considering getting travel insurance and love to cross border shop multiple times per year then a multi-trip travel insurance plan may be your best option. Also referred to as "annual" travel insurance, these plans offer coverage for an unlimited number of cross border trips for a specified "trip length". The shorter the trip length that is covered, the cheaper the premium.

If we run some quotes from our online travel quoting engine for a Trip Length of 4 days (for a person aged 35) we find that the premium ranges anywhere from $30 to $44. In other words, for the same price as a bottle of decent wine a Canadian can get travel insurance that covers all of their cross border shopping trips for one year!

For people who only do the cross border shopping once or twice a year than a "single-trip" travel insurance plan might be the way to go. Running more quotes, we find that a 35 year old that travels to the USA for 2 days can expect to pay a premium anywhere from $8.50 to $20. (Note that Manulife Financial does not have a minimum premium like most other insurance carriers, they are the ones quoting at $8.50).

We should also mention that travel insurance often comes as part of a personal health insurance plan. An example of this is the Flexcare health and dental plan, which offers $5 million in benefits for 9 days of coverage (there is a $100 deductible and more coverage is available as an add-on).

Conclusion

The chance that a person is hospitalized while cross border shopping in the US is rather small. However, the cost of an extended stay in an American hospital can be very high, and could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For a few dollars a day, is it worth rolling the dice over?
 

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