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Why Travel Insurance is Important: A Tale of Two Broken Wrists

After obtaining his Canada Working Holiday Visa, Lee was excited and looking forward to spending a year traveling around and seeing the beautiful sights of the second largest country in the world. We arrived on the West Coast, in lovely Victoria, British Columbia. We found a place to rent for a short time, and began to plan our coast to coast adventure. While we were in Victoria, we bought used bikes online as a quick and cheap way of getting around the city.

We had only had the bikes for just over a week when disaster struck.

One beautiful sunny Wednesday morning about 6 weeks ago we were riding along the street on our way to my parent’s place when all of a sudden Lee attempted to change gears and his foot slipped off the pedal. It jammed between the front wheel of the bike and the frame, stopping him cold. As he was going at a decent speed, the abrupt stop send him flying over the handlebars. He put his hands out to protect his head and, as if he was diving into a asphalt swimming pool, he landed hands-first on the road fracturing both of his wrists.

The rest of the day is a painful blur of the two of us traveling from walk in clinic to hospital to orthopedic surgeon, getting x-rays and CT scans and sitting in waiting rooms for hours. By the next day, Lee was outfitted with a pair of custom made wrist splints and told to take it easy for the next 6 weeks.

Blood and Gore in the Walk in Clinic Waiting Room
Blood and Gore in the Walk in Clinic Waiting Room

Needless to say, our cross Canada trip was postponed until further notice! Lee and I stayed in Victoria until he healed properly.

The one most important thing that we have learned from this awful experience is;

Always, always, always have travel insurance.

Sometimes you will not want to pay the extra expense, and you will think that you will be fine for a short trip because nothing will happen to you. Trust me, it is not worth the risk. We are thanking our lucky stars that Lee bought travel insurance for Canada before his trip, because if not then this injury would have not only crippled his wrists, but crippled us financially!

As a Canadian citizen, I never had to pay for my medical services and so I was shocked when I realized how much Lee had to shell out for each doctor’s consultation, x-ray, and splint fitting as a foreign visitor. We will have almost spent five thousand Canadian dollars on his broken wrists before this is over, and not to mention that he is unable to get a job here as he intended to.

Although it is a pain that we had to pay for the medical care out of pocket, we rest assured knowing that after filing our insurance claim, the money will be returned to us. If we did not have travel insurance, that money would have been gone, leaving us to scramble to make it up and seriously putting a dint in our future travel plans.

The truth is, anything can happen to you when you travel. You take that risk every time you step out your front door, and you can injure yourself or fall ill anywhere in the world. It’s better to spend that little bit extra just in case. Not to mention that travel insurance can also cover you in the event that your flight is delayed, your luggage is lost, your airline goes bankrupt, you are robbed, there is a natural disaster, and many other travel worst case scenarios.

There are many different travel insurance packages, so before you buy travel insurance take the time to find out which type is best for your trip and your particular needs. Also, most of the time you will have to pay for the expenses out of your own pocket and claim them back later like we did, so it is a good idea to bring enough funds to cover a possible medical expense and a credit card with a large balance that you can use in an emergency.


As Go Go Gadget Arms here will tell you, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.


  1. The costs of not fully covering yourself and your family against a medical emergency could be high. Compared to the cost of your holiday, travel insurance is comparatively cheap. The question is not whether you can afford travel insurance, but rather whether you can afford not to have it.

  2. I have never travelled without traveller’s insurance. I won’t ever do it. Not ever.

    I know that it is an added cost. But for me, my travel insurance is the most likely insurance policy I will cash in on. In fact, I have cashed in on a travel insurance policy for a very expensive knife that disappeared after I had checked my baggage on the airplane… ๐Ÿ™‚ So I was glad that my policy helped me to replace it.

    Also: I hear horror stories all of the time about people who travel without insurance and end up in terrible accidents and cannot be transported to better health care facilities because their family cannot afford the 100, 000$ bill. It just seems risky and really dumb to travel without that kind of protection. The last thing I want is my family to have to go into debt to help me medically if I get into an accident while abroad.

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