ith its rich cultural heritage, diverse and bustling cities and varied, dramatic scenery, Canada provides ample opportunity for exciting and adventurous holidays.
Anyone planning a Canadian trip should buy travel insurance, not least because the cost of healthcare is extremely high, as it is across North America and the Caribbean. If you are involved in an accident or fall ill while there, your medical bills could easily run to many thousands of dollars.
And if you need repatriation to the UK on medical grounds, the figure will run into tens of thousands.
So while Niagara Falls, Whistler Mountain or the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal may top your itinerary, travel insurance should be one of your first considerations when preparing for your holiday.
Here’s everything you need to know about travel insurance for Canada.
If you have a trip to Canada in mind, make sure you have adequate and appropriate travel insurance.
UK travel insurers divide the world into three parts: Europe, Worldwide excluding North America; and Worldwide including North America. Some exclude or include Mexico and the Caribbean in their definition of North America.
They distinguish between parts of the globe because of the relative cost of medical treatment and the distance from the UK (and the associated cost of repatriation) – North America is the most expensive, and this is reflected in the premiums.
For travel to Canada, you can choose from three main types of policy:
Although Canada is a Commonwealth country it does not share a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Britain, which means you’ll be expected to pay for any medical care you may need while visiting.
While travel insurance isn’t compulsory for your trip, it will provide you with cover for medical care and repatriation, and cancellation of your trip due to an unforeseen emergency, for example. According to our travel insurance partner CYTI, 85% of travel insurance claims are for such risks.
Typically, cover for Canada, like any other type of travel insurance, covers medical care and repatriation, and trip cancellation or curtailment due to an emergency. This will usually extend to Covid-related risks.
You will also receive cover for lost and stolen baggage, and personal liability to help with legal costs should you accidentally injure someone or damage their property.
Levels of cover will vary. It’s best to opt for a policy with at least £2 million for medical and repatriation, and the same amount for personal liability. Cancellation cover should at least match the cost of your trip, while baggage and belongings cover should amount to the value of the items you take with you.
Exclusions and limitations to cover can be found in the policy details. This will include rejected scenarios for cancellation and any limits on the amount you can claim for individual lost or stolen items.
It’s important to purchase your policy as soon as you book your holiday to benefit from cancellation cover straight away in case you are unable to go because of illness, bereavement or another serious cause. You will not be able to make a claim retrospectively should, for example, you cancel your holiday due to losing your job and then decide to purchase a policy.
Planning on hitting the ski slopes while away, or taking part in extreme sport? To cover the specific risks they entail, you’ll need to bolt on additional specialist cover to your policy, or take out the necessary standalone cover, if it’s not already included.
While optional extras differ between insurers, they can also include:
While all limitations and exclusions to cover differ between policies, they commonly won’t pay out if your claim is the result of intoxication or disorderly behaviour, terrorism or natural disaster.
Your policy may also stipulate that you wear safety gear when taking part in certain sports and activities to be able to claim.
You will not be able to claim for cancellation of your trip simply because you’ve changed your mind, in other words, due to ‘disinclination to travel’.
The Global Health Insurance Card is a misnomer in that it can only be used in Europe. Introduced when Britain left the European Union, it replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
While comparing insurance premiums is important, it’s also vital that you choose a policy with adequate types and levels of cover for what you require.
Also look at the excess – the set amount you will be required to pay on each claim. Typically, the higher the excess you’re prepared to pay, the lower your premiums will be.
Before purchasing your policy, and before departure, it’s best to check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) advice for travelling to Canada.
Travel to a destination that the FCDO advises against travel or all but essential travel could invalidate your cover. Check the policy small print for details.
Using a travel insurance comparison tool such as ours, is an easy way to compare the cheapest quotes based on your travel needs.
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