Best Travel Insurance For Canada: What you Need to Know

Canadian flag with medical suitcase

Skiing and adventure sports in epic mountain ranges and huge expanses of wilderness to explore are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amazing experiences you can have in Canada. There are really endless possibilities in the world’s second largest country. Visitors are drawn to its cosmopolitan cities and fascinating history. And whether you are off piste skiing in Whistler, hunting down grizzly bears and moose in the wilderness or just simply enjoying a croissant in Montreal, there is a travel insurance policy designed for you.

Travel insurance for Canada

Healthcare in Canada varies from province to province. There are 14 different health care systems, all of which are publicly funded and locally known as “medicare.” Only 30% of healthcare in Canada is privately funded.

Unlike our NHS there are certain things which aren’t publicly funded in Canada such as prescription drugs, home care, long term care, dental and mental health. As a result, the majority of Canadians, two thirds, have their own top up insurance.

If you have to attend hospital in Canada you will find that the level of care is very similar to the UK.

Canada has been ranked 30th in the World Health Organization's ranking of the world’s health systems. You will find that the hospitals in Canada are fresh, clean and built for purpose and that the doctors and nurses are well trained.

Without travel insurance it can be easy to run up costs in Canada with a doctor's visit during the day costing between $100 and $500 dollars and an evening visit more than double. Just one night in a hospital bed can cost between $3000 and $4000 in a Canadian hospital. It’s not as expensive as the U.S.A but you certainly don’t want to be caught out short.

 

Things you should look for when buying travel insurance for Canada

Valid in Canada: The plan you purchase must be valid in Canada. Although it may seem strange, “worldwide coverage” doesn’t always include Canada and the U.S.A so it’s vital to check that they are included in your plan.

Cancellation coverage: Flights from the UK and hotels in Canada are an expensive affair, so it’s important to make sure that the policy will cover cancelled hotel reservations and plane tickets should any unforeseen events arise.

Full medical coverage and evacuation coverage: The plan should cover all potential medical expenses, including ambulance transportation and emergency evacuation. This is especially important if you plan to go to remote areas in Canada, or want to do any extreme sports or activities.

Lost, stolen or damaged gear or luggage: In comparison to its southern neighbours the states, Canada is very safe. Incidents of violent crime and break-ins are very low but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to protect yourself. Especially in ski resorts the abundance of expensive gear and clothing is too tempting for some. Skis, boards, boots and jackets are all easy to lift, so don‘t be too trusting or careless with yours and make sure they are covered in case of theft.

Dangerous activity coverage or exclusion: Adventure and winter sports are one of the main reasons that people travel to Canada and you need to make sure that you have the right level of winter sports cover to keep you and all your sports equipment safe.


Travel insurance ski cover for Canada

canada travel insurance

Canada is all about the great outdoors. In summer Canada is a mecca for hikers, mountain bikers and water sports enthusiasts and in winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to the slopes to enjoy pristine white powder and fantastic off piste experiences.

Sprawling world class outdoor and ski destinations such as Banff and Whistler are a huge draw for tourists looking for a bit of adventure.

However, skiing holidays bring their own dangers which you need to make sure are covered by your insurance. Even the most experienced on the slopes can have a fall. The most common skiing injuries are breaks, dislocations and ligament damage, and the remote locations of many ski resorts can mean that rescue costs quickly sky rocket.

Although there are some specialist ski holiday providers, the vast majority of providers don’t include skiing as a standard activity and you must add winter sports cover to your policy.

Depending on the kind of skiing you are planning on doing, you may need special cover. Find out the level of cover you need and the insurance traps you should be careful not to fall into in our guide to buying ski insurance.


Price comparison of travel insurance for Canada

We have compared prices across a random selection of travel insurance policies to give you an indication of what’s on the market. There are literally hundreds of travel insurance policies for Canada. With so much choice you can be sure that there’s one for you.

While price is important, we guide you to never choose on price alone. Always consider the benefits that are most important to you (e.g. medical expenses).

We ran some quotes for a 35-year-old female travelling to Canada (correct as of October 2019). We did not declare any pre-existing medical conditions or request any optional extras.

Provider Cost for single trip policy Cost for annual policy Standard benefit limits
Cover Wise (Standard Policy) £9.95 £16.45 Medical care: £20 million
Baggage: £1,000
Cancellation: £1,000
Insure and Go (Light Economy Policy) £13.50 £23.49 Medical care: £15 million
Baggage: £750
Cancellation: £1,000
Cover for You (Emerald Policy) £15.00 £36.50 Medical care: £15 million
Baggage: £1,250
Cancellation: £1,500
Virgin Money (Economy Policy) £15.57 £24.78 Medical care: £15 million
Baggage: £1,250
Cancellation: £1,500
ASDA Money (Economy Plus Policy) £16.98 £35.39 Medical care: £10 million
Baggage: £850
Cancellation: £1,500

Travel insurance policies can be full of jargon you may not understand. That’s why we created this jargon-busting glossary to help you master the most common terms.

While you need to decide what cover you need, there are some features which we would recommend your policy has before you buy.

Firstly, a policy to Canada should include a high level of medical coverage. Like the U.S.A it is all too easy to run up an eye-watering bill that will be impossible to pay.

Secondly, look out for insurers who include rescue and evacuation as part of their plan - especially if you are going to head out into the wilderness.

Finally, whatever you do don’t forget your ski insurance if you are going to be hitting the slopes at some of Canada’s world-famous resorts!

Insurance Case Study: Why it’s important to read your policy for Canada carefully!

a person skiing

According to The Telegraph Mr Shepherd from Berks went on a skiing holiday but unfortunately his hire skis were damaged beyond repair and he had to pay €177 in order to replace them. He made a claim with his insurance Aviva but it was declined because “winter sports equipment that is damaged while it is being used” was not covered. Unfortunately, Mr Shepherd had just assumed that the item would be covered while in use; he hadn’t seen a clause in the policy documents invalidating the claim if this were the case.

Although the “damaged while in use” clause is now under review, it’s a lesson to read all the clauses in your policy documents carefully so that you don’t get caught out while you are away. If you have any questions contact your insurer before you buy a policy.


Travelling to Canada: good to know

No matter what type of holiday you have planned, some basic preparation is always wise. Here are some important factors to consider:

  1. Drinking Water - the tap water in Canada is generally safe to drink (except for some extremely remote areas). With 9% of the world’s freshwater resources, Canada’s metropolises have some of the highest-quality water on this planet!
  2. Vaccinations - you should be up to date with routine vaccinations and boosters as recommended in the UK. In addition, TravelHealthPro.org.uk recommends most travellers get vaccinated against tetanus and some for rabies (you could consider pre-exposure vaccinations if you’ll be at an increased risk of exposure to wild animals, particularly foxes and bats).
    As of October 2019, there are no certificates required under International Health Regulations for entry to Canada. Always check before you travel in case any sudden suggestions or requirements are made (e.g. there is an outbreak of an infectious disease).
  3. Visa - British citizens do not normally need a visa for Canada if travelling for short periods. However, you will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (you can apply online).
  4. Emergency Services - if you need to call the police, ambulance or fire brigade in an emergency, the number to phone is 911.

Data and information correct as of October 2019.

All material on this page and the selectra.co.uk website is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of financial advice. Selectra.co.uk is not responsible for any consequences that might arise from your use of the information provided.