From the stunning Niagara Falls to the dramatic Rockies, the spectacular variety of experiences that Canada has to offer is sure to strike a chord with the Australian traveller. Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver or Québec, you can travel across landscapes, cultures and a grand total of six time zones as you explore this beautiful country. But before you set out for the ultimate Canadian adventure, don’t forget to take out overseas travel insurance so you’re covered for whatever comes your way.
Canada is a safe country with friendly people. But flight cancellations, delays and accidents can happen anywhere in the world. And when you’re out skiing in Whistler, surfing in Nova Scotia or driving on the Trans Canada Trail, you shouldn’t have to worry about spending extra money because of lost snow equipment or bad weather. That’s why it is a great idea to secure yourself from unpredicted situations with travel insurance for Canada.
As you start scouting for the best travel insurance policy for Canada, don’t simply go for the cheapest one your travel agent suggests. Buying a cheap policy is not always the smartest idea because it may not cover you for the things you could actually need. For instance, while a basic travel insurance will cover you up to a certain limit for medical emergencies, it will generally not cover expenses for flight cancellations or lost luggage.
So it’s important you understand your needs and then read the fine print of the policy carefully to make sure you make the right choice. Sometimes, just spending a few extra bucks can get you a lot more services. Here are some tips to keep in mind while buying a travel insurance policy for Canada:
Check the excess fees. Before purchasing a policy, you must always check the excess amounts you'll need to pay in case you need to file a claim. Different policies have different limits based on the claim type. So while the excess fees for medical claims might be $1000, it might only be $200 for luggage delays.
Understand inclusions and exclusions. Before you buy a travel insurance policy for Canada, make sure you’ve read and understood the inclusions and exclusions so you’re aware of exactly what you are covered for. Unfortunately, many people get their claims rejected because they never bother to fully understand the terms and conditions of their policy.
Pre-existing medical conditions. Always be honest about any pre-existing conditions with your insurance provider. If you fail to disclose a condition while purchasing your policy, your insurer can refuse to provide cover for it later. It might cost a little more to add an additional cover for your condition, but in case of an emergency it will seem like a small price to pay.
Look for the relevant extras. Depending on the kind of trip you are planning, look for the extras that you might need on your holiday in Canada. For instance, if you are going to be in the mountains and try snow sports, get additional snow cover or if you’re going backpacking, look for backpacker’s insurance.
Hiring unregistered vehicles. If you’re planning an adventurous road trip from Newfoundland to British Columbia, edging along the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, make sure you have an international driver’s licence or a licence for Canada. If you run into an accident and are found without the appropriate licence, your insurer could refuse to cover you.
Drinking overseas. When you’re travelling, the thumb rule as far as drinking is concerned should always be to stick with moderation. If you have a mishap and were found to be drunk at the time, the insurance provider can refuse to accept your claim even if you have paid for additional cover.
Now that you have a good idea about the things you need to keep in mind while shortlisting the appropriate travel insurance for Canada, here are the different kinds of policies you can consider:
Snow travel insurance. Canada is one of the most popular destinations in the world for snow enthusiasts. If you’re planning to hit the Canadian slopes yourself, don’t forget to take out snow travel insurance. This will cover you for any changes you need to make to your itinerary due to extreme weather conditions like a snowstorm or in case your airline loses your ski equipment. Standard insurance generally does not include a snow cover.
Backpacker's travel insurance. Are you going backpacking to Canada? As you prepare for the journey of a lifetime, remember to buy a backpacker’s travel insurance policy. This will cover you for a longer period of time than standard insurance and can also include some extreme sport cover in case you’re planning to indulge in some adventure activities such as bungee jumping or hang gliding.
Seniors travel insurance. Whether you’re making a trip to the grandkids or simply want to explore a new country, the golden years are perfect for long and relaxed travel plans. Pick a travel insurance policy that specially caters to seniors to make sure it includes any specific services or medical covers that you might need. Seniors’ travel insurance is usually a little more expensive, but it makes sense to spend a little bit of extra money and travel without a worry.
Travel insurance for pregnancy. You should know that pregnancy is considered as a pre-existing condition and you need to let your insurer know exactly what stage of pregnancy you’re at. While some insurers will cover you up until 26 weeks gestation, other travel insurance providers may cover you up until 32 weeks gestation. But the terms and covers for each policy will vary so be sure you’ve read and understood what you’re buying. Remember that Sydney to Toronto is a 20-hour journey so don’t bank on flying back in case of an emergency.
How much you need to pay for your travel insurance depends on a number of different things such as the duration of your trip to Canada, your age, if you’re travelling solo or with family and if you want extra cover for things like sports or pregnancy.
Here are some examples of costs for Canada travel insurance, using Mozo's travel insurance quote comparison tool. Do remember however, prices and terms for travel insurance policies are subject to change.
Basic Cover: itrek Wanderer - Unlimited hospital and emergency cover, no luggage and personal effects, no cancellation fees
Comprehensive Cover: Fastcover Comprehensive - Unlimited hospital and emergency cover, $7,500 luggage, unlimited cancellation fees
Family of 4 - 2 adults (35), 2 kids (10 & 6)
Basic Cover: Kango Cover Joey - $10 million hospital and emergency cover, no luggage and personal effects, no cancellation fees
Comprehensive Cover: Virgin Money Comprehensive - Unlimited hospital and emergency cover, $20,000 luggage, unlimited cancellation fees
Basic Cover: Virgin Money Basic - Unlimited hospital and emergency cover, no luggage, no cancellation
Comprehensive Cover: Southern Cross Single Journey - Unlimited hospital and emergency cover, $25,000 luggage, $50,000 cancellation fees
Now you might think we’re being repetitive about this one, but we really want to make sure you fully understand the importance of fine print. You absolutely must read through the terms and tiny details of your insurance policy so that you know what you’re covered for and in case of an emergency what’s the best way to get help and a successful cover. Since we’ve already read multiple policies ourselves, we’ve drawn up this quick list of points you should remember to make sure your claim doesn’t get rejected:
Like we said before, Canada is a safe country, but it’s always advisable to have easy access to authorities back home when you’re going overseas. That’s why we recommend that before you leave for your holiday to Canada, register your trip with the Australian government at www.smartraveller.gov.au. This lets you get in touch with Australian officials in case you face any kind of legal trouble or simply need to make an enquiry. Also carry the contact of the Australian consulate in Canada.
Travel insurance comparison tool. After you have understood the general requirements for your trip, you can compare travel insurance policies for Canada using Mozo's travel insurance comparison tool. It hardly takes a few minutes as all you’ll need to feed in are your travel dates, the number of people travelling, their ages and if you need extra covers like for snow or sports. At the click of a button, you’ll get a list of insurance policies that you can pick from.
Travel insurance reviews. To make your decision-making process easier, we at Mozo, have collected reviews from real travellers who have used these travel insurance services for Canada before. This means you have access to unbiased opinions of people before picking a policy for your travels.