Travel insurance

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

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

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Why you should buy travel health insurance 

  • Your Canadian health insurance may not pay your medical bills while you're 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 your travel health insurance should cover 

No matter where you're travelling, your travel health insurance policy should always cover the following 3 things:

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 your plan includes everything necessary to help your loved ones if you die outside Canada as the result of an accident or a sudden and unexpected illness. Make sure your insurance covers:

For more information, see our Death abroad page.

 

Choose the best insurance based on your needs

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.

Meet the terms of your policy

It's 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 send you a written explanation.

Carry your insurance information with you while you're travelling and leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.

Understand potential exclusions

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.

If you need to make a claim

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.

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.

If you live or work outside Canada

Travel insurance is not intended for use when you are living for an extended period, or permanently, outside Canada. If you live abroad, or you’re planning to move to a different country, you should consider your insurance needs carefully. Local law may require you to have medical insurance, and you may have to include proof of medical insurance with your visa application.

If you study outside Canada

If you study outside Canada or are planning to go to a different country to study, contact your educational institution or program administrator for advice on the coverage you need.

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