Travel Insurance for International Students

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Studying in Canada from abroad: Getting student medical insurance

What you need to know about health insurance in Canada as an international student

If youre planning to study in Canada from abroad, youre not alone. In 2015, the Canadian Bureau for International Education estimated that more than 350,000 international students came to Canada for schooling, making Canada one of the world's most popular destinations for international study. In fact, a recent survey found that Canada is the most popular destination for students looking to study abroad.

Many international students find that they need supplementary health insurance coverage designed specifically with international students in mind. This type of insurance helps to ensure you're fully protected should anything happen to you while you're studying in Canada.

Read on to learn more about international student medical insurance and how to find the policy that's right for you.

Frequently asked questions about international student medical insurance (FAQs)

These are some commonly asked questions we get about international student travel insurance. If you have any questions not answered here, be sure to ask your insurance representative before you purchase your policy.

What's Included in international student medical insurance?

Each policy varies, so it's important that you read over the policy booklet carefully. However, typically the coverage includes:

  • Emergency hospital accommodation and medical services
  • Emergency transportation (e.g. road or air ambulances)
  • Emergency dental work
  • Prescriptions needed as a result of a covered emergency
  • Diagnostic services including x-rays

Additionally, and specifically for student health insurance plans, coverage can also include:

  • Tutorial services if, because of a covered emergency or accident, you're in the hospital or confined to your home to recoup for more than 30 school days.
  • An eye exam or check up with the doctor if you purchase an annual policy.

Policies for supplementary health insurance for international students may vary, so take your time to review each policy before you buy. At you can review each policy online before having to commit.

Is there anything else I should look for in a policy?

Yes. Remember to look for "extras" like toll free numbers you can call 24-7 in case of an emergency, and for things like additional travel coverage for side trips you may take (like travelling to the United States) while you're studying in Canada.

Pay attention to the limits of how much you're covered for each benefit, as the amount may vary from one provider to the next.

Also, ensure you understand what's excluded from your coverage. This is equally as important and will help you determine if you need additional supplementary coverage for certain things.

What's the difference between standard and enhanced International Students to Canada coverage?

Standard policies typically cover emergency services, while enhanced policies provide additional benefit levels that may include higher coverage amounts for certain benefits and/or additional benefits not included in a standard package, such as accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. Enhanced packages may also provide less out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a claim, such as preventing you from having to pay for something upfront and then waiting to be reimbursed by the insurance company. 

Which one is right for me?

The amount of time you spend studying for in Canada may influence the type of insurance policy you buy. For example, if you're staying for less than six months, emergency coverage may be sufficient, but if you'll be living here for a while you may want something that takes into consideration benefits such as regular dental and eye exams. 

Again, each policy is different so ensure you read them fully and carefully to determine which plan is best for you.

Are international student medical insurance and international student travel insurance the same thing?

Yes it is, but some companies refer to it as medical insurance and some refer to it as travel insurance. Regardless of the title, both are health insurance policies.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money you would have to pay in the event of a claim. For most international student medical coverage plans in Canada the deductible is $0. 

Aren't I covered through my school?

Some universities and colleges have mandatory health insurance plans that international students must buy into. An example is the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) in Ontario, which is a requirement of participating schools. The cost of this plan is incorporated into your tuition as an international student. 

However, many students opt for additional coverage to supplement gaps and increase overall health benefits while they're studying in Canada. Other students choose their own international students insurance policy and then apply to be exempt from the mandatory university plans. It is up to you to decide what type of coverage is best for you. It should be noted that not all institutions provide mandatory health insurance to international students. In these cases, securing your own insurance is your best option. 

Studying in Canada? Welcome!

Canada is a top study destination for international students

Students from around the world are choosing to study in Canada more and more. According to the CBIE, international student enrollment increased by 92 per cent between 2008 and 2015. International students are primarily attending schools in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec and are coming from: China, India, South Korea, France and the US. These five countries make up 63 per cent of Canada's international student enrollment; however, students from Brazil, Nigeria, Japan and Saudi Arabia are increasingly picking Canada as the place where they want to study.

International students make up 11 per cent of Canada's student population, according to Statistics Canada. Students list the quality of education, Canada's accepting and tolerant culture, and reputation for being a safe country among the top reasons for studying abroad.

Wherever you're coming from, or whatever your reason for studying here, make sure you have the coverage you need. Compare international student travel insurance coverage today.

Health coverage for foreign students in Canada

Health coverage for foreign students varies across Canada. Many schools provide some health insurance coverage to international students that is worked into the cost of tuition, but coverage varies from province to province and school to school. Depending on the health insurance plan your school has available for international students, if a plan is applicable, additional supplementary health insurance coverage may be needed. 

Sometimes it's needed to provide coverage for a waiting period, such as when you've moved to Canada but haven't began your studies yet, and sometimes it's to beef up coverage that includes only the basics. Whatever the reason, you can get quotes online (and buy your policy) from to ensure you get the extra travel health insurance you may need as an international student studying in Canada.


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