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Travel insurance and COVID-19

If you're looking for answers or guidance regarding travel insurance coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak, check out our COVID-19 travel insurance coverage info.

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What is travel insurance and why do I need it?

Travel insurance is an insurance plan designed to protect you from financial risks and losses while travelling outside of Canada. You can purchase coverage for minor losses and inconveniences, like a delayed flight or lost baggage, or for major ones, like a medical emergency.

Why is travel medical insurance so important? Well, accidents and illnesses can happen when you are on a trip. Without travel medical insurance, you could be on the hook for an enormous bill to cover the cost of medical care.

Did you know?

  • Foreign hospitals can be very expensive, especially in the States
  • Some of them demand cash up front
  • Foreign doctors may refuse to treat you if you cannot provide proof of insurance
  • The Canadian Government will not pay your medical bills
  • Your provincial health plan only provides a small reimbursement, and sometimes none at all
  • Canadian health insurance is unlikely to cover medical care abroad

Whether you’re travelling to the pyramids of Egypt or heading across the border on a day trip to Trader Joe’s, travel insurance is available to protect your health and your bank account. For only a few dollars per day, you can enjoy your trip, safe in the knowledge that you’ll have financial protection in the event of an emergency.

Types of travel insurance in Canada

Not all travel insurance policies are created equal. Compare travel insurance quotes to get the best rate and the best coverage for your needs. 

There are several different types of travel insurance that you can get to protect you and your loved ones while you’re away. Without coverage, you’re left paying out of pocket for what can easily amount to massive medical bills and unexpected trip related expenses. This is when travel insurance comes in handy.

Here are the different types of travel insurance available to you: 

  • Travel Health Insurance – Covers emergency medical costs such as ambulance trips, hospitalization, emergency room fees and prescription medication.  
  • Trip Cancellation – Protects you in the event you must cancel a trip due to an emergency or unforeseen medical problem. 
  • Trip Interruption – Protects you in the event you must end your trip early and immediately tend to an emergency back home. 
  • Travel Life Insurance – Protects you in the event you pass away while abroad and covers costs such as returning your remains to Canada. 
  • Flight Delay and Cancellation – Protects you when weather or other issues cause unexpected flight-related expenses, such as hotel costs. 
  • Lost Baggage – Provides coverage in the event the airline loses your luggage in transit, allowing you to replace the items in your bag. 
  • Snowbird Travel Insurance – Special travel insurance for seniors that typically travel south for the winter. Find out more here
  • Visitors to Canada Travel Insurance – Provides medical coverage to those visiting Canada from other countries while they’re here. Learn more here
  • International Student Medical Insurance – Provides medical coverage to international students studying in Canada. Read more here.

COVID-19 travel insurance coverage for Canadians

Canadians can now get covered for medical costs if they contract COVID-19 while travelling domestically or internationally.

Several Canadian travel insurance providers now offer emergency medical insurance for Canadians who are diagnosed with COVID-19 while travelling. COVID-19 coverage makes travelers eligible for reimbursement for any costs related to the COVID-19 virus. This includes expenses incurred from quarantine accommodation, air evacuation and intensive care.

In a changing travel landscape, having coverage for COVID-19 is important for you and your loved ones.

Examples of COVID-19 coverage include:

  • Emergency COVID-19 medical costs, including intensive care, for up to $1,000,000 CAD per insured.
  • Emergency medical coverage for non-COVID-19 related medical conditions for up to $5,000,000 CAD per insured.
  • Quarantine accommodation costs up to $150 CAD per day, for a maximum of 14 days.
  • Ambulance transportation costs.
  • The cost of air evacuation to Canada. This may include conditions, such as one-way economy airfare for the return of the insured and their dependents.
  • Repatriation costs in the case of death of the insured for up to $5,000.

Who is eligible for COVID-19 coverage while traveling?

Canadians who have a valid provincial health card are eligible for this coverage. Please read your travel insurance policy carefully before you travel to see if any destination or duration restrictions apply.

Different travel insurance plans

Emergency medical coverage is the most common type of travel insurance, but its not the only type. Single trip travel insurance, multi trip travel insurance, trip cancellation travel insurance, and all inclusive travel insurance are the four most common types of travel insurance plans, and the ones available through Compare travel insurance plans today.

Single Trip Travel Insurance

  • Emergency medical coverage for a single trip up to 365 days.
  • Depending on your age, you may have to complete a short health questionnaire to qualify for a policy.
  • This is the most common type of travel insurance

Multi Trip Travel Insurance

  • Also called annual travel insurance, multi trip travel insurance provides emergency medical coverage for any number of trips occurring within one year, with each trip length having a maximum number of days set forth by the policy.
  • This is great for people who travel frequently for business

Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance

  • Covers the full cost of your flight or travel package in the event unforeseen circumstances disrupt your trip or youre unable to take your trip. If you also want emergency medical coverage, look to all inclusive travel insurance.
  • Typically for travellers who have adequate emergency medical coverage through their employers health benefits or credit card.

All Inclusive Travel Insurance

  • Includes emergency medical coverage as well as trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
  • Depending on the policy, this also includes baggage loss, baggage delay, accidental death and dismemberment, and more.
  • Provides travellers with the most protection.

Travel insurance frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Unpacking your most asked travel insurance questions.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Travel insurance costs an average of:

  • $22.20 for a 10-year-old traveller
  • $41.16 for a 35-year-old couple
  • $42.24 for a family of four

These numbers are calculated based on quotes completed on for travellers with no pre-existing health conditions who are heading out on a 10-day vacation with $2 million in coverage with no deductibles.

What does travel insurance in Canada cover?

Depending on your policy, travel insurance for Candian travellers typically provides coverage for: 

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Emergency trip cancellation and interruption
  • Lost baggage
  • Emergency transportation to a hospital
  • Hospitalization and emergency room fees
  • Medical examinations such as x-rays 
  • Transportation back home after a medical event
  • Flight delays and cancellations
  • COVID-19 related medical costs such as, hospitalization, air evacuation and repatriation to home country.

Does travel insurance cover my personal belongings?

Personal belongings such as cameras and laptops are typically covered under your policy, not your travel insurance policy.

Home insurance protects your belongings even when you’re away from home, such as when you’re on vacation. Give your home insurance provider a call prior to departure to confirm your valuables are covered.

The exception to this is if an airline were to lose your luggage in transit. In this case, your travel insurance would cover your belongings if you purchased lost baggage coverage.

What kind of travel insurance do I need?

The Government of Canada recommends that your travel insurance include:

  • Health, life and disability coverage
  • Flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement (when flying)
  • Driver and vehicle coverage (when driving) to provide protection in the event you’re in an accident while abroad.
  • COVID-19 medical coverage which includes hospitalization, evacuation, and repatriation to home country.

    Having travel insurance will give you the peace of mind you need when travelling abroad by covering any sudden medical emergencies, accidents and interruptions.

Why do travel insurance costs vary so much?

Just as the cost of flights differ from carrier to carrier, travel insurance policies can range vastly from one company to the next. Here are some of the factors that go into determining your rates:

  • Your likelihood of filing a claim
  • The type of coverage you need
  • The insurer’s claims experience
  • The number of people travelling 
  • The destination, which may be affected by the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice & Advisories

How do I get the best travel insurance rate?

It’s easy! Use to compare rates.

In just a few minutes, you can get quotes from our network of more than 30 insurers. Questions? No problem! Connect directly with a licensed insurance professional who can answer your questions, put your mind at ease and ensure you get the coverage you need at a price you can feel great about.  

If you travel frequently, you may be able to save additional money with an annual travel insurance plan. Talk to your provider today to learn more.

How much can I save on travel insurance using* shoppers save an average* of 50 per cent and upwards of 64 per cent when comparing travel insurance quotes.

*The average savings found through published rates on for emergency medical travel insurance for single travellers, between the ages of 21 – 54, for single trips of 10 days, as compared with the published rates of 3 Financial Institutions for their equivalent emergency medical travel insurance. Actual savings vary depending on number of travellers, age, trip duration, medical conditions, and coverage selected. Based on research as of July 28, 2017. 

How does travel insurance in Canada work?

Travellers are required to purchase travel insurance prior to departure in order for coverage to be active while you’re away. These policies act as temporary insurance that covers you during a set period of time, typically the duration of the trip. 

When it comes to filing a claim, each insurance company has its own process, but typically you or someone operating on your behalf would have to contact your insurance provider in the event of a medical emergency or another large claim to coordinate details. In some cases such as smaller claims, you may have to pay up front then submit a form for reimbursement within a set period of time. Speak with your insurance provider to ensure you fully understand the process and who to contact in the event of a claim. 

Frequent travellers can benefit from an annual travel insurance policy. These policies can save you money in the long run while carrying coverage over from trip to trip. They are commonly used by people who travel often for work, typically to the same destinations.   

What are the travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Canadian government has implemented air travel and border measures to protect your health and safety. Please adhere to these guidelines and always check the current COVID-19 travel advisory info before travelling abroad.

Does regular travel insurance cover costs associated with COVID-19 pandemic?

A regular travel insurance policy may not include COVID-19 coverage. Make sure to confirm your COVID-19 coverage with your travel insurance provider before booking your trip.

Some providers may also allow you to purchase additional COVID-19 coverage as an add-on for your existing policy. If you're looking for a new travel insurance policy, make sure you look for comprehensive COVID-19 coverage.

Does my provincial health care plan cover me when I leave Canada?

Unfortunately, provincial healthcare plans do not travel well. Depending on which province you are from, your plan may offer minimal coverage for radiology and lab work, but there are strict limits on reimbursements for foreign hospital care.

ProvinceCoverage for emergency hospital care abroad
Alberta$50 per day outpatient. $100 per day inpatient.
British Columbia$75 per day.
Manitoba$100 per day.
Quebec$50 per day outpatient. $100 per day inpatient.
Saskatchewan$50 per day outpatient. $100 per day inpatient.

While this may look like a lot, it is unlikely to cover the entire cost of your treatment.

A weeklong stay in an American hospital can cost tens of thousands of dollars. A $700 dollar reimbursement from your provincial health plan is better than nothing, but you would still have to pay many thousands out of pocket. In addition to this, some foreign hospitals will refuse treatment unless you can provide proof of insurance, or pay the full amount upfront! This is why you need the financial protection provided by travel insurance.

As of October 1, 2019, the Province of Ontario is no longer providing any out-of-country coverage for emergency hospital visits. For Ontario-based travellers, it’s more important than ever to purchase travel insurance before your trip.

A few final travel insurance tips before you take off

Tips that make filing a travel medical insurance claim easy

1) Understand your policy, including how it works, what it covers and how much your coverage is for


2) Document everything and keep all claim-related receipts for reimbursement


3) Use your smartphone camera to document injuries, damage to a vehicle, even actual documents. This will come in handy in the event of a claim


4) Bring a copy of your travel insurance policy and contacts with you on your trip


5) Write the policy number, insurance provider name and contact information on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet for easy access in case of emergency, and/or take a photo of the documents with your phone so you have them with you at all times


Have a great trip!

As you prepare for you trip, dont forget to pack travel insurance. This affordable type of insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind and health coverage. Plus, it can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a claim. Theres always room in your luggage to squeeze in some extra savings.


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