Travel Insurance for Canadians. — Investigate your options.

AirplaneAirplane photo courtesy of John McArthur

Is travel insurance for Canadians a necessity?  For international travel, in most cases, the answer is a resounding… Yes!

Snowbirds heading south to the states for the winter or traveling through the US absolutely need travel insurance.  Even a minor medical incident could rack up a huge bill that your provincial medical plan will only cover a fraction of if any.

But some travelers to Mexico don’t pick up travel insurance if they travel direct from Canada, as health care in Mexico is so inexpensive.

Travel Insurance for Canadians

You’ll find many options for medical travel insurance for Canadians as you start researching.  But some of these options narrow for older folks, long-term travelers, or those with pre-existing conditions.  All things which often affect a snowbird’s lifestyle.

And Covid 19 has significantly added to the complexity of making an informed decision.   Frequent changes to international travel restrictions and countries’ entry and exit requirements complicate foreign travel plans.

Multi-Trip or Single-Trip Policies

Your lifestyle and travel plans will help you make this choice.  Some folks travel back to Canada between jaunts to their warm winter destination.  If this is you, a multi-trip travel insurance policy may be right for you.

Other folks leave Canada and return at a later date for one extended stay abroad.  A single-trip policy as travel insurance for Canadians such as these might be best, especially if you make only one or possibly a couple of extended trips abroad each year.

Multi-trip plans are usually annual plans allowing you to make multiple trips throughout the year.  But they typically limit the number of days you’re away on each trip. — With an extended stay of between 30 to up to 60 days interspersed with other shorter trips.

Your single-trip policy will have a start date and a pre-determined return date.  You may be able to adjust or top-up your insurance plan if you need to extend your trip.  Single trip policies are available for up to 212 days in most provincial jurisdictions or 183 days for Quebec, PEI, and Nunavut.

Age Conditions

Some Insurance providers limit their policies to folks under the age of 66.  While others increase costs substantially for seniors as they age.  

It is common to require seniors to fill out a detailed medical questionnaire to quote or purchase a travel insurance policy.  Any inaccuracy in answering these questions could void your policy.  So take care to answer the questions honestly.

Pre-Existing Conditions

There is a wide diversity in how various insurance providers deal with pre-existing conditions.  

Some insurers don’t insure any pre-existing health conditions. In contrast, other insurers don’t count stable health conditions properly medicated for 90 days or more as pre-existing conditions.  While many insurers operate somewhere in between.

If pre-existing medical conditions affect you, then do your homework on how your travel insurance provider treats those conditions.

Covid 19 Coverage

Covid 19 has impacted our lives, and naturally, our health insurance.  Changes and health advisories happen frequently, and while keeping up with requirements is daunting, it’s become a necessity when traveling, especially for international travel. 

Some insurance providers do not cover Covid related health issues.  Others have added Covid riders, and some have adjusted their policies to reflect Covid associated conditions.  

You need to check the Covid related requirements and restrictions for entry to your destination and monitor for changes and updates to their policies.  And of course, also monitor changing conditions for your return home.

Canada now allows its residents and visitors to travel to and from Canada without Covid requirements.

But some countries, such as the US, still want proof of vaccination.  So, keep tabs on the Covid conditions and requirements that pertain to you and your trip.

Travel Advisories

Be aware that Government of Canada travel advisories may affect your medical travel insurance.  Check the advisories for where you’re traveling and your prospective insurance provider’s policy to ensure compliance.

Elective Procedures

Your travel insurance, not surprisingly, does not cover elective medical procedures.  Only medically necessary procedures are typically covered while you’re away from home.

Snowbird Medical Travel Insurance Providers

Here are a couple of providers of Snowbird travel insurance for Canadians that you may want to consider.  These insurance providers are uniquely aware of the Snowbird lifestyle and needs.

While everyone from your credit card providers to your bank to your local insurance agency provides travel insurance, they often miss the mark for a Snowbird’s requirements. 

Snowbird Advisor Insurance — Recommended by Snowbird Advisor 

Medipac Travel Insurance — Recommended by Canadian Snowbird Association

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