Travel Insurance 101: Types and Packages

In its most basic form, travel insurance is purchased protection against the potential of an accident, injury, or other incidents that could negatively impact your trip.

Typical travel insurance coverage can include flight cancellation due to sudden, severe weather or unforeseen illness, emergency care while travelling, lost or damaged baggage, travel delays, and more.

Travel insurance can be used for both international trips and trips within Canada, for a few days, a few months, or more than a year.

According to a recent survey, more than 40 percent of Canadians travel outside the country two or more times per year, and yet 22 percent of us don’t fully understand what travel insurance does and doesn’t cover.

Travel Insurance 101: Types of Plans

The type of travel insurance most often purchased by Canadians falls into one of two principal categories: Package Policies, and Travel Medical Policies. There are additional insurance specialty categories that can be added on or bought independently, and they can include flight accident, evacuation only, or accidental death. These policies are focused on providing detailed, specific coverage compared to the more general nature of travel medical and package policy plans.

Package Policy

Many Canadians opt for Package travel insurance due to its broad coverage. It typically includes the most common reasons for claims, including medical emergencies (including medical evacuation), trip cancellation, lost or damaged baggage, and missed connecting flights. Package policies usually offer a range of coverage options with premium prices corresponding on a sliding scale. For example, Basic package plans tend to cost less than Premium plans and offer less coverage than top-tiered policies.

General vacation travellers, (families or individuals), business travellers, seniors (including snowbirds) and those taking cruises are the most frequent purchases of Package plan policies.

Travel Medical Plan

Most often purchased by Canadians leaving the country for a period of a couple of days up to a calendar year, travel medical policies provide focused medical coverage while travelling. These plans generally include emergency medical coverage, emergency assistance, medical diagnosis, treatment, & evacuation.

While these plans are most often used by Canadians leaving the country, those travelling to Canada from a foreign location, including family visiting from their country of residence, are also eligible for similar coverage, called Visitor to Canada insurance.

Travelling within Canada

Nationwide healthcare means most of our medical needs will be met within the country, even if we’re outside our home province. But many Canadians are unaware that because our health coverage is based on connected provincial plans - as opposed to a single nationwide plan - benefits in one province are not always available in another. In other words, your Ontario-based OHIP may not cover you in British Columbia, and that’s where travel insurance can help. Because coverage varies from province to province and territory to territory what might be included in your home province benefits, (e.g., ground or air ambulance, emergency care, extended hospital stays), might not be covered in your Canadian vacation destination. can help you find and compare the best travel insurance rates in Canada, whether you have plans to travel across the country or around the world. Travel with peace of mind knowing you’re protected against anything that comes your way. A little planning today means not having to interrupt the vacation you’ve waited for all year long.