Travel insurance

If you plan to travel outside Canada ‒ even for a day in the United States – you should buy the best travel health insurance you can afford before you leave.

If you are flying, make sure you get insurance for flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement. If you are driving, make sure you have driver and vehicle coverage in case you have an accident.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and travel insurance

If you are currently travelling outside Canada, we recommend that you consider returning to Canada as soon as possible. If you plan to travel outside Canada, travel insurance providers will no longer provide coverage for travel booked on or after March 13, 2020 when the official global travel advisory came into effect. This global advisory overrides other risk levels for all countries, including the United States, with the exception of areas for which we advise to avoid all travel (including regional advisories).

If you are already outside Canada, including the United States, choosing to stay abroad could change or complicate your travel health insurance coverage, including losing coverage for COVID-19 and other conditions. Your travel insurance provider may only give you a 10-day notice before placing limits on your insurance policy. It is your responsibility to know and understand the terms of your insurance policy. Read the fine print carefully and ask for help, if you need it. Check with your travel insurance provider to know more about your policy related to COVID-19.

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Why you should buy travel health insurance 

  • Your Canadian health insurance may not pay your medical fees while you are outside Canada
  • Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover none, or only a small part, of the costs of your medical care abroad. It will never pay your bills up front
  • Foreign hospitals can be very expensive and may require immediate cash payment
  • In some countries hospitals and clinics will not treat you if you do not have enough insurance or money to pay your bills
  • The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills

Where you can get travel insurance

You can buy travel insurance through your:

What travel health insurance should cover 

No matter where you are travelling, there are 3 things your travel health insurance policy should always cover.

1. Medical evacuation

Make sure your policy covers medical evacuation to Canada or to the nearest place with appropriate medical care. The policy should also cover the costs of a medical escort to travel with you to your final destination.

2. Pre-existing medical conditions

Ask the company to explain the definition of, and the limitations and restrictions on, any pre-existing conditions and tests and treatments you may have had.

3. Repatriation in case of death

Make sure that the plan covers the preparation and return of your remains to Canada. 

Know what you're buying

Carefully research your needs. Verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada.

When assessing a travel health insurance plan, you should ask a lot of questions.

For an additional cost, some insurance companies may offer a “Cancel for Any Reason” option that will cover up to 75 percent of a cancelled trip.

Meet the terms of your policy

It is your responsibility to know and understand the terms of your insurance policy. Read the fine print carefully and ask for help, if you need it.

The information you provide must be accurate and complete. If you have any questions, contact the insurance company. Ask them to clarify the issue in writing.

Get approval from your insurer before you undergo medical treatment. Travel health insurance rarely covers routine health checkups, non-emergency care and cosmetic surgery. It may not cover mental health disorders, drug- or alcohol-related incidents, or extreme sports such as bungee jumping and rock climbing.

Get a detailed report and invoice from your doctor or hospital before leaving the country where you received medical treatment. Trying to get the proper paperwork from thousands of kilometres away can be frustrating. Always submit the original receipts for medical services or prescriptions you received abroad. Keep a copy of the documents for your files.

Carry your insurance information with you while you are travelling. Leave a copy of the information with a friend or relative at home.

Check for Travel Advisories

Check the Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination twice: once when you are planning your trip and again just before you go.

Your insurance company may not pay your medical claim if the Government of Canada has issued a Travel Advisory for your destination.

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