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Next to having your passport ready, the most important aspect of planning travel outside Canada is to ensure you have medical insurance coverage.

A recent poll by TD Insurance suggests a surprising number of people are skipping this step. Without doubt, travel costs have been caught up in the rise of inflation over the past year or so. But cutting costs by not buying travel medical insurance is risky in the extreme.

The TD poll asked participants who are likely to travel in the next year if they would buy travel medical and trip cancellation insurance. Only 27 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 said yes, as did 39 per cent of people over the age of 35.

My wife and I bought a year’s travel medical coverage for $182.21 earlier this year, which isn’t cheap. But in comparison to the cost of medical care in a foreign country, it’s close to nothing. A hospital visit in the United States could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars if you have to stay a night or two.

A Google search will provide lots options for getting quotes on travel medical insurance. You may already have this coverage through your benefits plan at work. Or, your credit card may cover you.

RewardsCanada recently put together a detailed comparison of how various cards compare in this type of coverage. Included is information on age eligibility and stabilization period, which refers to the length of time a pre-existing health condition must been stable prior to travel. Claims can be rejected if you don’t meet stability requirements for pre-existing health issues.

If you need to cut costs to afford a trip, travel medical coverage is more vital than trip cancellation. Money lost to a cancelled trip is limited by the plans you made. A medical emergency while you’re out of the country could be an open-ended expense.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

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Canada’s 1 per cent

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We want to hear from you

The Globe is looking for people under the age of 40 to participate in our paycheque project series. It’s a non-judgmental look at how much young Canadians are earning – and how they are spending – their monthly paycheques. We’re especially keen to hear from the struggling, the self-employed, gig workers, restaurant and retail workers, remote workers, students (who are working) and renters in both big cities and small towns. If you want to take part, e-mail Globe editor Roma Luciw – at – to share your story.

Ask Rob

Q: Thanks for your recent column on changes to the registered education savings plan. We have done well to max out contributions to our child’s RESP and increase its value through investment. Now that she is 16, it’s looking less likely that she will go to university or college. What are our options for helping her take advantage of these funds if she is not in a major degree or diploma program? Do part-time studies qualify? What about work-training programs like in the trades?

A: As a parent of 20-somethings, I can tell you that kids change their minds about things as they get older. You may yet get some use out of that RESP. Here’s a list of post-secondary schools eligible for RESP use, including trade schools and institutions that focus on training in areas such as business, tech, esthetics, the arts and more. Apprenticeships are also eligible. RESPs can stay open for 36 years, so there’s lots of time to decide. And, yes, RESPs can be used for part-time studies.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

An introduction to investing in Canada in 22 languages. Brought to you by the Ontario Securities Commission’s Get Smarter About Money website.

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A decades old interview with Warren Buffett. A pleasure to hear his level-headed, logical thinking on investing.


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  • What an honest federal government would tell millennials and Gen Z about their chances of getting into the housing market

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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