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Everything You Need to Know About Travel Insurance in Canada

There’s nothing worse than planning out an amazing trip only to have to cancel because you got sick or getting to your destination and needing to go to the hospital due to an illness or accident.

If you’re planning to take a trip to see the beauty that Canada has to offer any time soon, you should think about getting travel insurance to cover these unexpected costs or losses.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about travel insurance for visitors in Canada.

What is travel insurance?

Whether you’re planning an extended stay or just a short weekend trip, travel insurance is something you should think about before booking your flight. Like any other insurance policy type, travel insurance protects you financially from certain risks or losses while you’re travelling in another country. Essentially, travel insurance covers the costs that come with medical emergencies. Some travel insurance companies can also help you find the emergency medical care that you need and even provide interpreters if necessary.

With this being said, travel insurance is not a replacement for health insurance. Your policy only covers costs related to a medical emergency, so you will not get reimbursed for routine checkups or visits. Also, your policy doesn’t cover costs related to an injury that was the result of an unnecessary risk (AKA if you get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence and crash.)

On top of reimbursing you for emergency medical expenses, some travel insurance policies can also provide compensation if your luggage gets lost during the trip or if you have to cancel or change your flights. This can be super helpful if you’re planning to visit Canada from a far away country that requires a long and expensive flight.

How does travel insurance work?

You should look into travel insurance plans right after you book your trip—especially if you’re buying a plan that covers trip cancellations or changes. If you have to end up cancelling your trip a few weeks after booking but don’t have travel insurance yet, you’ll have to take that loss because you didn’t sign up for a plan in time.

Unlike typical insurance policies, travel insurance premiums are usually paid all at once because you won’t be needing extended coverage lasting years. In most cases, your travel insurance company will reimburse you for expenses covered in your policy after you file a claim. Filing a claim means that you need to have proof of your financial loss to be reimbursed. Sometimes, insurance companies will pay for costs upfront, but it’s all depending on your policy.

Here are a few things to know before diving into the world of travel insurance:

  • Like we previously mentioned, travel insurance will not cover costs related to foreseeable outcomes. Your policy will only protect you against unpredictable events such as an accident or a sudden illness.
  • Not every unforeseeable event is covered in your policy, so make sure to talk with an insurance broker to understand what is covered and what isn’t before signing your policy. Pre-existing medical conditions are also not covered under travel insurance, which means if you need to visit a doctor because of your condition, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
  • Different policies offer different coverage. For example, some policies may only cover medical expenses while others also cover trip cancellations or changes. When choosing a plan, take your length of stay, the activities you’ll be participating in, and your health into account. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re stuck paying for something out of pocket because your chosen travel insurance plan doesn’t cover it.
  • If you travel often, you’ll want to look into travel insurance companies that offer annual or multi-trip policies so that you don’t have to worry about buying a new policy for each trip.
  • Travel insurance plans typically cost between 4-10% of the total price of the trip. This means that if your trip costs $4,000, you can expect your insurance plan to cost between $160-$400. The more expensive the cost usually means you’ll be covered against more risks but again, make sure to dive into it before committing to a plan!

Do you need travel insurance when visiting Canada?

If you’re planning a trip to Canada, it’s firstly important to know that it’s not necessary to have travel insurance before coming into the country. The only exception to that is if you’re applying for a visa, in which case you are required to have health insurance coverage. With that being said, travel insurance is recommended for anyone travelling to Canada but specifically for international workers or students, senior citizens, or anyone visiting for an extended period of time.

You should also consider a travel insurance plan if you’re participating in higher-risk activities such as hiking, camping, skiing, etc. If your flight to Canada is long and expensive, you also may want to look into getting travel insurance to cover the risk of lost baggage or trip cancellations or changes.

How do I get travel insurance in Canada?

It’s recommended that you use a Canadian travel insurance provider as they have direct access to Canadian medical facilities to get your bills paid or process your claim faster.

Most travel insurance policies in Canada offer anywhere from $50,000-$200,000 in coverage, depending on your upfront premium payment. This protection covers the costs of hospital stays, necessary prescription drugs, doctors’ fees, and more.

This coverage can also protect against changes in your trip plans or if you need to cancel your trip for certain reasons such as illness if that is offered in your plan.

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