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What is visitors to Canada insurance?

SUMMARY

Travel medical insurance for visitors to Canada is designed to protect you in the event that you experience a medical emergency while travelling in Canada. The coverage typically includes doctor’s visits, hospital stays, emergency transportation, and prescription medication. It is important to note that travel medical insurance is different from health insurance, which is typically only valid in your home country. If you are planning to travel to Canada, be sure to purchase travel medical insurance before your trip.

By Jiten Puri
CEO & Founder, Insurance Advisor, LLQP
13 min read
IN THIS ARTICLE

Travel medical insurance is a type of insurance that provides coverage for medical expenses incurred while travelling outside of one’s home country. For visitors to Canada, travel medical insurance can help to cover the cost of unexpected medical care, including hospitalizations, prescription medications, and emergency transportation. Travel medical insurance typically has a number of different coverage options, and it is important to choose a policy that meets one’s individual needs.

For example, some policies may provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, while others may not. It is also important to consider the length of time one will be travelling, as well as the activities that will be undertaken while on vacation.

By carefully considering these factors, visitors to Canada can find a travel medical insurance policy that meets their specific needs and provides peace of mind while on vacation. The following article will answer all your questions about visitors to Canada insurance.

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What is visitors insurance?

Visitors insurance can refer to several different kinds of coverage you can purchase for a trip to Canada. These can include travel insurance that covers trip-related delays, travel medical insurance, super visa insurance, and other types of combined coverage.

  • Travel insurance for trip-related incidents
    Insurance that covers things like flight delays, trip interruption, trip cancellation, hotel stays, lost baggage, etc.
  • Travel medical insurance
    Insurance that covers the medical costs incurred from any medical emergencies you experience on your trips, including hospital stays, ER visits, cost of prescription drugs, medical transportation, and more.
  • Super visa insurance
    This insurance is very similar to travel medical insurance but is tailored to fit the parameters of Canada’s super visa program. Coverage must be for at least $100,000 and last 365 days.

Learn more about travel insurance for Canadian residents.

Why should you buy travel health insurance when visiting Canada?

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.

Where can you get insurance for visitors to Canada?

You can obtain insurance for your trip to Canada through several different avenues:

    • Travel agent
      The travel agent through which you booked your trip may have access to travel insurance plans as well. Most travel agents deal with a single provider so they don’t typically offer the most choice of plans.
    • Employee or group insurance provider
      Your group benefits provider may offer the ability to purchase additional travel insurance through your group plan. Again, one downside to this approach is you are unable to compare the prices and plans of different carriers.
    • Credit card coverage
      If you booked your trip on your credit card, you may also be entitled to some insurance coverage. Check the details of the policy before your trip so that you know of any limitations to your coverage. You typically cannot buy additional coverage for this plan, as it is an added benefit of your credit card agreement.
    • Insurance broker
      An insurance broker (like PolicyAdvisor) can present you with several different choices of policies, providers, and premiums so that you can choose the coverage that would best suit your trip and budget. They can also offer insight into the claims process and guide you to which company would work best for the type of visit you plan on making to Canada.

How much does travel medical insurance coverage cost?

The cost of visitor insurance depends on many variable factors.

For instance, the travel insurance premium on $100,000 of coverage for a 25-year-old visiting Canada for 30 days can be as low as $59 dollars per month.

That rate can vary depending on the individual’s age and health profile. If you are purchasing coverage for more than one person, a joint or family policy will be cheaper than separate single coverage.

The factors which affect travel medical insurance premiums are:

  • The applicant’s age
  • The policy length
  • The applicant’s medical history
  • The amount of coverage
  • The deductible

The below table shows the relative costs for visitors insurance applicants of different ages.

Age Premium
25 $59
35 $72
45 $91
55 $91
65 $131
75 $223

*30-day travel insurance policy. $100,000 in coverage. $1,000 deductible.

visitors to canada insurance

What is the deductible for visitors insurance?

The deductible for a travel medical insurance policy is the amount of cash you choose to pay out of pocket for medical care before your coverage kicks in. There are several different deductible options you can choose depending on your insurance provider. Some deductibles can be zero while others can climb into the thousands of dollars.

These deductible options all offer different levels of savings on your premiums. The chart below shows how the size of your deductible lowers your premium with a popular Canadian travel insurance provider.

Deductible Savings
$0 No savings
$100 5% savings
$250 10% savings
$1,000 20% savings
$3,000 30% savings

The advantage of a higher deductible is that it can lower the premiums you pay for coverage. A zero-dollar deductible comes with a higher premium as you are choosing to pay no upfront costs no matter what medical expense you may be faced with.

Many choose to pay a deductible to lower their premium amount and then pay for smaller medical expenses (like one-time prescription drug orders, etc) as they occur.

What should travel medical insurance cover for your visit to Canada?

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

Every travel medical insurance policy is unique, as one has many options when applying for coverage.

Most travel medical insurance policies typically cover:

  • Emergency medical treatment for illness or injury
  • Prescription medications
  • Emergency dental services
  • Essential medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, slings, braces, etc.)
  • X-rays and other diagnostic 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
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Does visitors insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Most travel medical insurance policies do not cover a pre-existing medical condition by default. One should always check the wording on their policy to see if a pre-existing medical condition may or may not be covered.

In some cases, if you have shown no symptoms or diagnosis of a pre-existing medical condition for 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.

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

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure

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 and make their insurance decision accordingly.

Lastly, 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.

What kind of insurance coverage is available for visitors to Canada?

Travel medical insurance plans typically cover costs related to emergency medical coverage and/or dental care resulting from an accident or sudden illness during your trip to Canada. The plan covers necessary expenses for the stabilization of the medical condition and continued medical care that is over and above any benefits granted by reciprocal government programs of one’s home country.

The amount of coverage one receives is dependent on the benefit amount they choose when applying for the policy. Generally, benefit amounts are purchased in $10,000 increments, so overall policy coverage could be anywhere from $10,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A typical travel medical insurance policy for a visitor would contain:

Claim Benefit
Accidental Death & Dismemberment up to sum insured
Emergency Hospital up to sum insured
Emergency Medical (including follow-up visits) up to sum insured
Emergency Transportation Expenses up to sum insured
Accidental Dental $4,000
Attendant or Personal Support up to $500
Chiropractor, osteopath, chiropodist/podiatrist,
physiotherapist or acupuncturist
$500 per profession
Dental Emergency up to $500
Emergency Return Home (Repatriation) up to $3,000
Out-of-Pocket Expenses up to $1,500
Return of Deceased up to $10,000
Transportation of Family/Friend up to $3,000

What are emergency transportation expenses?

Emergency transportation expenses can include those while you are either living or deceased.

  • Ambulance services
    Covering the cost of ground or air ambulance service to the nearest hospital or medical facility, or inter-hospital transfer.
  • Repatriation
    Covering the cost of repatriation to your country of residence while you are injured or ill so that you can recover in your home country. Because of your condition, there may be added costs to finding appropriate transportation
  • Return of the deceased
    Covering the cost of preparation and transportation of a deceased person to their original place of residence. Some policies will also cover the cost of cremation or burial at the place of death.
  • Out of pocket expenses
    Sometimes called a subsistence allowance, this covers the cost of accommodation and meals when your return is delayed due to circumstances like sickness or injury to the covered person or their immediate family or travel companion.

Who needs visitor insurance for a trip to Canada?

Students

Students attending school in Canada from outside the country may need the protection of a travel medical insurance policy. Many colleges and universities (and student unions) provide access to extended medical care through their group benefit plans. However, this coverage is sometimes only in effect during the school year or fails to offer the same protection as an independently owned policy.

Foreign workers and work permit holders

Those visiting Canada temporarily to perform work will not be eligible for public health care and thus should have an independently secured medical insurance plan.

Learn more about travel insurance for foreign workers in Canada

New residents

New residents of Canada who plan on staying permanently in the country will need still medical insurance while they await their eligibility for publicly funded healthcare.

Athletes

Athletes visiting Canada for competitions or training should also secure an independent medical plan for the duration of their stay.

Grandparents and family members

For family visiting Canada on a regular visitors visa or super visa, travel medical insurance is important (or in the case of a super visa, mandatory) for the duration of their stay. Read more about super visa insurance and super visa insurance payments.

Canadian residents who have spent significant time away from the country

If you have spent an excess of 6 months outside Canada (like snowbirds, for instance), your Canadian government health insurance or provincial health care eligibility may have lapsed. You may need to wait 6 months after your return to once again be eligible for public healthcare. In that meantime, it is important to secure independent coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an applicant fill out an application for travel insurance if they are not in Canada or unavailable to complete the application?

Yes, generally you can purchase travel medical insurance for your trip to Canada while outside the country. As long as you purchase the policy before the start of your trip it should be in force for the duration of your stay. As well, it is possible to purchase a travel medical insurance policy for someone else (such as a parent, grandparent, or other relatives).

Can I get a refund for the travel medical insurance I purchased for my trip to Canada?

Typically, you can receive a refund if you cancel your travel policy before the effective date of insurance. One should ensure they have alternative coverage in place before they cancel their policy.

Reasons for cancelling your coverage could include:

  • Obtaining Canadian government health insurance plan coverage from a Canadian province or territory
  • Cancellation of your trip
  • Ineligibility for a visitor’s visa
  • Obtaining coverage through an employer or organization that is sponsoring the visit to Canada

Do I need travel insurance if I have credit card coverage?

While credit card coverage is a great add-on, the coverage is often limited. These plans provide basic travel insurance, but the coverage has a limited time period and is sometimes only available up to certain ages. As well, it is often only in force if your trip was purchased with the same credit card.

Do travel advisories affect my visitors insurance?

While travel advisories can affect travel insurance in general, it is highly unlikely you will experience a travel advisory during your trip to Canada.

Which providers offer travel medical insurance for visitors to Canada?

Visitors to Canada can get travel medical insurance coverage from companies like Manulife, Tugo, Group Medical Services (GMS), Allianz, 21st Century Travel Insurance Limited, and Destination Canada.

The information above is intended for informational purposes only and is based on PolicyAdvisor’s own views, which are subject to change without notice. This content is not intended and should not be construed to constitute financial or legal advice. PolicyAdvisor accepts no responsibility for the outcome of people choosing to act on the information contained on this website. PolicyAdvisor makes every effort to include updated, accurate information. The above content may not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, termination, and other provisions of the policies described, some of which may be material to the policy selection. Please refer to the actual policy documents for complete details. In case of any discrepancy, the language in the actual policy documents will prevail. All rights reserved.

If something in this article needs to be corrected, updated, or removed, let us know. Email editorial@policyadvisor.com.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Visitors insurance can cover doctor's visits, hospital stays, emergency transportation, and prescription medication
  • Travel medical insurance differs from your home country's health insurance, and covers a wider breadth of incidents

By Jiten Puri
CEO & Founder, Insurance Advisor, LLQP
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