Travel Medical & Health

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If you are a Canadian planning to travel outside of Canada, health insurance is a major consideration. Whether you are travelling abroad, to another province or territory, or just going across the U.S. border for the day, your Canadian government health insurance plan will not cover your medical expenses while you are travelling out of your home province or territory. This has always been an important factor for travellers, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it imperative to have coverage for emergency medical situations.

What is travel medical insurance?

International medical insurance, travel health insurance, sometimes referred to as emergency medical insurance, is an insurance product designed to cover unexpected medical and related costs due to a medical emergency occurring while a Canadian resident is travelling outside of their home province or territory. Canadian government healthcare plans do not provide emergency medical coverage to Canadians while travelling out of the country, which is why it is strongly recommended that Canadian travellers buy travel health insurance for the duration of their trip.

Does my health insurance cover travel abroad?

Canadian government healthcare plans do not cover your medical expenses while travelling outside of Canada. Although some expenses may be eligible for reimbursement when travelling to another province or territory, Canadian government health insurance plans (GHIP) will not pay for medical care up front and you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket. Most hospitals and clinics outside of Canada are expensive and may not treat you if you are unable to cover the cost.

How much travel health insurance do I need?

The amount of travel health insurance is based on the individual needs of the traveller. InsureMyTrip can help you compare plans to find the right coverage for your unique needs while travelling.

What does travel medical insurance cover?

Travel health insurance plans vary however, they generally cover emergency medical and non-medical costs incurred due to an emergency medical event while travelling. If something happens that is related to a pre-existing medical condition, you may not be covered and will be responsible for any costs. Some plans may provide coverage for pre-existing conditions if you meet the requirements set out by the insurance carrier. Be sure to review your policy for specific exclusions and limitations. Our Customer Care team can help to clarify.

Does travel insurance cover medical emergencies?

Travel health insurance plans include coverage for medical and non-medical expenses as the result of an accident or illness that occurs unexpectedly and is not related to a pre-existing health condition, while travelling outside of Canada.

Does travel insurance cover medical evacuation?

Travel health insurance may include coverage for emergency evacuation in the event of a medical emergency. This coverage is designed to transport you to the nearest emergency facility that can treat your illness or injury if your initial treatment facility cannot do so, and to return you and your travelling companion back to your home province in Canada as soon as you are stable.

Does travel insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Sometimes. See our related article on pre-existing conditions.

How much does travel medical insurance cost?

Travel insurance is not one-size-fits-all and is as unique as the traveller themselves. It is important to be sure that your insurance policy offers the right coverage for your individual needs and circumstances. InsureMyTrip can help you compare plans to find the right coverage for your unique needs while travelling.

How do I choose the best travel medical insurance?

The best travel insurance depends on the specific needs of the traveller. Be sure to review and compare plans carefully to ensure your specific concerns are covered. Also be sure to verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, and requirements of the insurance policy before departing Canada.

Helpful questions to consider when you are comparing plans:

  • How much is the deductible? Plans with a lower deductible or more coverage may be more expensive but may save you money if you need to use them.
  • Does the plan provide coverage for the entire length of your trip abroad?
  • Is coverage limited or excluded in the countries you are planning to visit?
  • Does the insurance company also provide emergency assistance?
  • Will the insurance company pay for hospitalization in case of illness or injury at your destination?
  • Does the plan cover related medical expenses or treatments?
  • Are medical bills paid up front or will I be expected to pay out-of-pocket and apply for a reimbursement afterwards?
  • Does the plan include coverage for anything as a result of COVID-19?


DISCLAIMER: This guidance in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to offer guidance regarding travel insurance and the benefits which may be available. It does not guarantee coverage for any traveller. The information in this article reflects the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication. If you have questions regarding specific coverage details or available travel insurance plans, please contact our licensed customer care team.