Are holiday sales across the border calling out to you, despite the lagging loonie? If a cross-border shopping trip over this year's Black Friday weekend (which kicks off on November 25th) is in the plans there's one item you absolutely must buy before you take on the crowds: travel insurance.

Why you need travel insurance for just a weekend Black Friday getaway

Simply put, medical expenses for emergency treatment outside of Canada can be costly and your provincial health plan may only cover a small portion, if any, leaving you left to pay the remainder.

According to the Government of Canada you should get travel insurance no matter where you're going or how long you'll be there. "Your Canadian insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada," states the website. "Hospitals and clinics in some countries have been known to refuse to treat patients who become ill or who have had an accident and who do not have adequate travel health insurance or the money to pay their bills. You could face years of debt paying off the costs of treatment for an illness or accident you suffered abroad. The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills."

Cross border travel insurance: Don't leave Canada without it

When you're looking to save money, travel insurance is not where you want to be cutting corners. Yet, too often Canadians don't ensure they have coverage before heading out of country. A 2014 survey from the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada suggests that the majority of Canadians (53 per cent) don't always buy travel insurance before embarking on their trip. In a nutshell, too many Canadians are taking an unnecessary financial risk when heading out on holiday, even if it is just a weekend getaway.

What type of travel insurance can you get?

Everyone—at minimum—should have out-of-country emergency medical coverage because it could save you more money than anything you'll save on sale at an outlet mall. If you don't already have it, then you'll want to get supplemental travel health insurance.

Through, you can compare travel insurance quotes for:

  • Emergency medical coverage for a specific trip.
  • Emergency medical coverage for all trips within a one-year period. (A multi-trip travel insurance policy is ideal for those who travel more than once or twice a year. It's a cost effective option worth exploring.)

If you've got a bigger trip planned than a quick jaunt across the border to shop, you might be interested in:

  • All-inclusive travel insurance which typically includes emergency medical coverage, along with trip cancellation coverage for the cost of your flight or trip package, and coverage for your baggage in case of loss or damage.

Ready? Set. Cross Border Shop!

When you're away from home, even a small accident or sudden illness can become a big medical expense. So if you're planning on taking advantage of Black Friday deals south of the border, don't scrimp before you get there by neglecting to buy travel insurance.

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