Just got off the phone with Sanderson Travel Insurance in Canada. It was highly recommended that TransRockies competitors get additional travel/medical insurance coverage for the week of the race just in case we need to be air-lifted to Calgary for an emergency. It seems that at least a couple people have to get the life-flight out of there each year and the bill just for the rescue and helicopter ride alone to Calgary can cost upwards of $15,000. My health insurance company says they would cover any emergency, but I would have to pay up front and then get reimbursed. Umm... that wouldn't really be possible.
So I did what the other racers are doing and called the company the race organizers recommended. For $44 CDN, I got up to $150,000 coverage which includes helicopter evacuation, medical, and search and rescue. For $44, how could anyone pass up that sort of peace of mind?
I never purchased additional travel insurance before but after giving it some thought, I'm kind of kicking myself for going down to Costa Rica last year, alone, for a week of backpacking without any extra coverage. I'll be sure to find a company like Sanderson here in the US for all of my future trips -- after all, like Brett and I joked about yesterday, we'll probably blow $44 on coffee and snacks just driving back and forth to TransRockies. Might as well get the coverage.
If you're doing the race or making any other backcountry travel plans to Canada, I'd say give these guys a call. They do it real quick over the phone and email you the policy right away. I obviously can't vouche for their reliability in terms of getting them to cough up the money when you have to make a claim, but I doubt the TransRockies organizers would recommend them if they weren't legit.