The Canadian guide to travel insurance for students


Studying away from home can be an exciting, but daunting experience. Travel insurance for students can make sure you’re taken care of in case of any unexpected emergencies.


There’s no denying that travel can be a great experience for students. It broadens horizons, introduces new cultures, and can be a great way to learn more about the world. However, it’s important to remember that travel can also be dangerous.

Accidents happen, and sometimes they can lead to serious injuries or even death. That’s why it’s so important for students to have travel insurance.

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What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a type of insurance that helps to cover the cost of medical care if you become sick or injured while travelling. It can also protect you from financial loss if you experience a trip interruption or cancellation.

Emergency medical and dental treatments are expensive in Canada, and as an international student, you likely won’t be covered by provincial healthcare. This means that if you experience an emergency, you could be responsible for a large medical bill and out-of-pocket expenses.

Likewise, for Canadian students travelling or studying abroad, it’s important to know that your provincial health plan likely doesn’t extend to other countries.

Learn more about travel insurance.

What types of students need travel insurance in Canada?

Travel insurance for students can mean many different things depending on your home country and reason for travel. They can include:

  • International students studying in Canada
    Students from outside of Canada who come to the country to study are not covered by a provincial or territorial government health insurance plan.
  • Canadian students studying in another country
    When Canadians travel outside of Canada, they do not retain access to public healthcare options in other countries. Many schools require students hold a medical insurance plan before they begin classes.
  • Canadian students travelling abroad
    Many students are afforded the opportunity to travel internationally in the summer months or even when they complete their degree or program. Emergency medical coverage is also important in these circumstances.

Why do Canadian students need travel insurance?

If you are a student and plan to travel outside Canada ‒ even for a single day ‒ you should buy travel health insurance before your trip or vacation.

There are a number of risks students face when travelling, and travel coverage can help protect them from financial loss in the event of an emergency. If you need medical assistance while abroad, insurance can help cover the cost of your medical bills or return back to Canada if necessary.

Travel insurance is an important consideration for any trip, and it’s especially important if you’re travelling for months on end to a country with higher costs for medical treatments.

Why do international students studying in Canada need travel insurance?

Your trip to Canada is meant to be an experience. If an unexpected medical emergency occurs, it can cost you thousands of dollars per day in medical expenses that are not covered by Canada’s public healthcare system.

Travel medical insurance can relieve that potential financial burden and give you peace of mind during your stay, knowing you are covered for any unexpected medical expenses.

Check our our review for the Best Travel Insurance for International Students in Canada
There are many different types of Travel Insurance for students, foreign workers, snowbirds, super visa holders, and others travellers to/from/within Canada.

What should travel medical insurance cover for students?

Every travel medical insurance policy is unique, as one has many options when applying for coverage. The main benefits a student should consider are coverage for emergency medical services (including dental), medical transportation, and repatriation (the transportation of your body should you pass away outside of your country of origin).

Most travel medical insurance policies typically cover:

  • Emergency medical treatment for illness or injury
  • Hospital expenses
  • Prescription medications
  • Emergency dental services
  • Essential medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, slings, braces, etc.)
  • X-rays and other diagnostic services and laboratory procedures (bloodwork, ultrasounds, etc.)
  • Required ground, air or sea ambulance services
  • Follow-up post-medical appointments
  • Medical evacuation
  • Ambulance travel to the nearest hospital

Student travel medical insurance policies may cover additional non-emergency medical benefits:

  • Annual medical exams
  • Eye exams
  • Dental exams and cleaning

Lastly, student travel policies often include a modest accidental death or dismemberment benefit to be paid out to oneself or a beneficiary should they become dismembered or lose their life, respectively.

travel insurance for students

Does student travel insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Most student travel medical insurance policies do not cover a pre-existing medical condition by default. Given the relatively young age of most applicants, pre-existing conditions are not the top concern for students applying for coverage.

However, if you are a student with a pre-existing medical condition, securing coverage that takes your medical condition into account is incredibly important. If your condition is stable, it is typically easier to secure coverage.

In many cases, if you have shown no symptoms or diagnosis of a pre-existing medical condition for 90 to 180 days prior to the effective date of the policy and have not had treatment for the condition during that time, it will not be considered a pre-existing condition during your coverage period.

You should always check the wording of any potential policy for details and to see if your medical condition would be covered during trips outside of your home country.

Some conditions may get excluded from your travel medical insurance coverage during the underwriting process. A pre-existing condition exclusion could include:

They can also include relatively mild conditions for which you have taken prescription medication such as:

Insurance providers will look at the specific state of your illness or condition to evaluate the risk associated with the pre-existing condition. They then make their decision accordingly for your travel insurance plan.

Some providers offer policies that will cover pre-existing conditions, though the premium will be higher to compensate for the added risk.

One should request an explanation of the limitations and restrictions on any pre-existing medical condition, tests, and treatments they may have had.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best travel insurance company for students?

The best travel insurance company is the one that best suits your needs. Several Canadian insurance companies offer policies specifically catered to students. Providers construct their policies differ from one another, thus each trip may have a best-suited policy from a unique provider. Some of these providers include:


  • Offers up to $2 million CAD in coverage
  • Non-emergency medical benefits are included in coverage, including annual medical and eye exams
  • Accidental death or dismemberment also included; including accidents resulting in death, blindness or dismemberment
  • Free Assitance Centre; 24/7 helpline which can help you answer questions about your trip before or after departure


  • Offers up to $2 million CAD in coverage
  • Offers coverage for medical expenses incurred by students enrolled in a school in Canada and Canadian students enrolled in a school outside of Canada
  • Non-emergency medical benefits are included in coverage, including annual medical and eye exams, as well as maternity care


  • Specific policies for international students studying in Canada
  • Offers up to $5 million CAD in coverage
  • Coverage lasts up to a full year after student has completed studies and works in Canada
  • Option to add spouse and dependents to policy
  • In our review of the Best Travel Insurance for Visitors to Canada, we recommend Allianz as the best choice for international students in Canada

MHS International

  • Specific policies for international students studying in Canada
  • Offers up to $2 million CAD in coverage
  • Three different coverage tiers: Silver, Gold, and Platinum with increasing benefit amounts as you move up
  • Policy offers coverage outside of Canada as long as majority of stay is in Canada (except USA; 30 days coverage only)

Destination Travel Group

  • Offers up to $2 million CAD in coverage
  • Coverage for both students enrolled in a school in Canada and Canadian students enrolled in a school outside of Canada
  • Maternity coverage of up to $25,000 for pre-natal care and involuntary termination of pregnancy or complications
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Do students need travel insurance plans if they have credit card coverage?

While credit card coverage is a great add-on, the coverage is often limited. This is especially true considering the extended trip length many students take.

Credit card travel plans provide basic travel coverage, but they have a limited coverage period. As well, it is often only in force if your trip was purchased with the same credit card, and the extended time a semester abroad takes would disqualify coverage in most cases.

Learn more about credit card travel insurance and its limitations.

Can I get coverage through my student union?

Many university and college student unions offer group coverage for students while they attend studies at their respective schools, and include the fees for coverage alongside tuition. While this is an option for international students on each side of the border, the period of coverage for these plans is only in effect while you are enrolled in studies. They rarely offer the flexibility or breadth of coverage an independently owned plan can offer.


  • Public healthcare will not cover students when they study in another country
  • Travel medical insurance for students can provide millions in coverage for emergencies
  • Policies are availabe for both Canadian students travelling abroad for school, or international students visiting Canada for their education

By Diarmuid Shiels
Senior Insurance Advisor, LLQP
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