Travel Insurance in Canada and why you need it. 

If you have plans for travelling outside Canada, it is strongly suggested that you get travel insurance first. If you are travelling via a plane, get insurance for flight cancellation, have coverage for any form of interruption to your trip, lost luggage and cost of replacing travel documents. If you plan to travel via a car, have insurance for your driver and vehicle to be prepared in case of an accident. 

Why buy travel health insurance?

Mentioned are the reasons as to why is it good for you to get travel health insurance. 

  • When you are outside Canada, the Canadian health insurance system will not pay for your medical treatments and healthcare fee.
  • Your provincial and territorial health-care plan will provide coverage for a limited part of your medical bills abroad. This payment will not be upfront.
  • Hospital bills in other countries can be humongous and they may require you to pay cash immediately.
  • If you do not have insurance or funds to pay for medical care, some hospitals in other countries can even refuse treatment.
  • The Canadian government does not provide coverage for your medical bills abroad.

You can buy your travel health insurance from a travel agent or a broker of insurance. You can even approach the insurance provider of your employer or your credit card company for travel insurance.  

What travel insurance should cover

Here are the 3 things you must ensure are covered by your travel insurance regardless of your travel destination. 

1. Medical evacuation. 

Your travel insurance policy must cover medical evacuation back to Canada. If you cannot be taken to Canada, you must be taken to the nearest place with eligible medical facilities. You must also have coverage that allows a medical escort to travel with you.

2. Pre-existing medical conditions.

You must ensure you understand what your insurance provider means by this term and what limitations and restrictions will be there on coverage for treatments and medical procedures for such conditions. 

3. Repatriation. 

In case of your death, your Insurance Plan must cover the cost of returning your remains to your home in Canada. 

Meet the terms of your policy

Be sure that you know and completely understand the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy. Read all fine print and ask questions about anything you do not understand. 

Before you undergo any medical procedure, confirm with your insurance provider that it has coverage. It may not cover the cost of check-ups, non-emergency healthcare, cosmetic surgery, mental health treatments, drug-related care, alcohol-related treatment etc. 

You must have the details of your hospital and doctor bills before you leave your destination country. Once you are back home, it will not be easy to procure the documentation needed. You must the original bills as well as copies for files. Have the details of your insurance with you all the time and a copy with a friend at home. 

15 things that can affect your travel insurance. 

1. Frequency of travel

Generally, coverage is given for 15-30 days of one trip. You can get coverage for a longer time duration. Your insurance depends on whether you are taking one trip or several trips. If you wish to be travelling for a long time, ask for long term coverage. It is recommended to an annual Insurance plan for multiple trips. 

2. Type of travel

Sporting adventures such as hot air ballooning, zip-lining, scuba diving, bungee jumping, or camel riding may not have coverage under regular travel health insurance. These also include skiing, skydiving, rock climbing, rafting, parasailing, or paragliding. If these are a part of your travel plans, find out from your insurer if they have coverage. This can result in a higher deductible and a higher premium. 

3. Destination

Visits to a politically unstable or war-torn country may not have coverage. There are some companies that provide special Insurance Plans to journalists and aid workers, but these Insurance plans usually have higher premiums and deductibles. Be aware of restrictions on the policy. If they do not provide what you need, you can always shop for a better policy. The cost of your insurance can also go up if the cost of healthcare and extraction from your travel destination is high. 

4. Your age

Many Insurance companies need you to be above 18 years of age to apply for insurance. If your age is above 69 some insurance companies can limit your coverage and charge you a higher premium and deductible. You may be required to fill out a medical questionnaire because you can be considered at higher risk of needing medical and healthcare-related services. 

5. Your health

The definition and understanding of ” healthy” may differ for you and your insurance provider. Be aware you read all the fine prints and be aware of all limitations and restrictions existing on your coverage on the basis of your medical history and lifestyle. 

6. Place of residence

Your coverage, its amount and level can differ based on what province you reside in. Policies vary in accordance with the laws of each province or territory. Details of what is excluded from your coverage due to your province of residence will be mentioned in the fine print. Ask the Insurance provider should you have any concerns or questions. 

7. Time limitations

You may be required to buy your insurance within a period of time after the purchase of your travel tickets. This is more true if you are covered for pre-existing conditions. Find out when these deadlines end and when you can make changes or upgrades to your plan if you wish to. Find out if you can extend your coverage if you extend your trip, will that cost an extra fee and if you have to prolong your trip due to a medical emergency, is coverage still provided. 

8. Deductible and co-payment

Be aware of how much deductible you will be required to pay to claim your insurance. The amount ranges from 25-5000 Canadian dollars. Some insurances also require you to cover a percentage of the medical expenses, ranging from 10% to 20%. Find out if this is true for you, and if yes, how much of the medical expenses will be covered by you. 

9. Maximum benefit amounts

Most insurances have a maximum amount set beyond which coverage will not be provided. Be sure you are aware of the maximum amount of your insurance. The maximum benefit amount depends on the size of your plan. This also varies depending on other factors like your age and health. 

10. Reimbursement

Sometimes, you will be required to pay the bill and will be reimbursed for it later. In this case, keep the detailed bill of your medical expenses safe and make sure you have the funds to pay for the treatments yourself. Sometimes, your insurance provider is charged directly, in which case you must know how that is achieved and what procedure will be followed for that. Some hospitals may not accept your travel health insurance in which scenario you will be required to pay for the expenses out-of-pocket. So ask your insurance provider if their insurance plan has validity in your destination country. 

11.  Pre-approved care

Some insurers have a network of healthcare providers where you must seek treatment for coverage. If even in case of an emergency, you do not go to these pre-approved facilities, you may have to pay for a part of the healthcare you receive. Be aware of which facilities these are and call your insurance provider when you need care. If this is applicable to your insurance provider, be sure you ask them how you will receive reimbursement if you fail to seek medical help in these pre-approved facilities. 

12. Accessibility

Some insurance companies will give you an emergency phone number list to call in case of a medical emergency. You must call on the number for your destination country when you need help. When you go in for medical care, have the Travel Insurance in Canada certificate on you. You must also have the emergency contact information of your insurance provider. Keep the bills and receipts from the medical facility safe and bring them home for making your insurance claim. 

13. Reliability of care

Some insurance plans cover travel to almost all destinations but still ask questions of coverage in the area you are specifically visiting. Some may require you to be transported to another location for a medical emergency. Be sure your insurance meets the international standards of healthcare. Make sure your insurance provider also takes responsibility and can be held accountable for the availability of care as well as the quality of care you will receive on your trip. 

14. Trip cancellation or trip interruption

Travel Insurance in Canada often cover the costs of cancelling trips, like coverage for plane ticket costs. However, if you have to cancel your trip due to a pre-existing condition or due to a family member who was sick before the beginning of the trip, you may not receive coverage. 

15. Coverage for family members

Some insurance policies may give insurance coverage to your spouse or partner as well, or you may have to get them insured separately. Your spouse, children or travel partner may be partially covered. Find out the details of the coverage that will be made available to them during your travel.