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Canada may just be one of Australia’s favourite winter destinations; after all, they welcomed approximately 162,000 of us in 2017-18. With stunning scenery and friendly people to be found all over Canada, it’s not hard to see why we love going there so much.

If you’re planning a trip to Canada, lucky you! Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance for the ‘great white north’.

Do I need travel insurance for Canada?

Travel insurance is always a good idea. Whether you’re visiting Canada for tourism, work or study, a policy will cover costs in the event of a number of unexpected situations. You might snap the perfect picture of Niagara Falls but slip and injure yourself as you leave. Your flight from Vancouver to Montreal could be cancelled due to bad weather, and you miss the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival.

While getting covered is critical, it’s even more important to find the right travel insurance.

Moraine Lake Alberta Canada

What should my travel insurance policy for Canada include?

With the right policy, you could be covered for a range of incidents that might go wrong on your trip. Here’s a couple of things you should consider including in your travel insurance policy for Canada:

  • Emergency medical and hospitalisation expenses. Australia doesn’t have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Canada and you may not able to access the Canadian public health system. This means you’ll have to pay your medical costs upfront yourself, unless you have travel insurance. If you fall ill or injure yourself overseas, travel insurance can help foot the bill and allow you to concentrate on recovering.
  • Cancellations and delays. If your travel plans are delayed or cancelled (e.g. ski runs closed due to bad weather), you may be able to claim back the cost of the cancelled/missed plans or the cancellation fees from your insurer.
  • Damaged, stolen, or lost personal belongings. You may be able to claim back the value (or a certain value) of your luggage and belongings if something happens to them. Critically, this even includes Australian passports; 4,743 of which were lost or stolen overseas in 2017-18.
  • Legal liability. If you’re responsible for the death, injury, or damage of another person or their property, travel insurance may cover the cost of your legal liability for that incident.
  • Adventure and winter sports. If you’re planning to get active on your trip to Canada, you may want to include adventure travel insurance in your policy as well, as adventure and winter sports are generally excluded from cover. Check with your insurer if cover for winter and adventure sports is available as an optional extra.

Canada travel insurance: exclusions you should watch out for

Travel insurance can’t cover you for every little thing that could go wrong on your trip, which is why it’s essential to know precisely what is and isn’t covered by your policy. Your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) should outline the exclusions, as well as any terms and conditions of the policy.

Here are several common exclusions for a typical travel policy that insures a Canadian trip:

  • Adventure and winter sports. Your insurer may not cover extreme, winter and other adventure sports and activities. However, you should check if cover for these is still available as an optional extra.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. Cover for pre-existing conditions may not be automatically included in travel insurance policies, but instead be available as an optional extra.
  • Illegal or reckless activities. If you acted illegally, recklessly or dangerously, your claim resulting from that incident might be rejected
  • Unattended luggage. Your claim for stolen luggage may be rejected if your luggage was left unattended when it was taken.
  • Intoxication. If you’re claiming for an incident where you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may find that your claim is rejected.

Top travel tips for Canada

1. Check Canada’s visa requirements

You’ll need an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) for your visit to Canada, no matter the purpose of your visit. If you’re entering Canada from the United States of America, you should also check the visa and entry requirements for the USA as well.

2. Look out for the wildlife

Canada is home to bears, moose and other dangerous animals. If you’re hiking through forests, be sure to follow wildlife laws, park regulations and local advice from guides and wardens.

3. Watch out for the weather

Like Australia, Canada’s summer weather can reach temperatures of more than 30°C, and the humidity can bring severe storms and even tornadoes. Canada’s winters are the complete opposite; known for the extreme cold and heavy snowfalls.

You can keep an eye on the weather through the Canadian government’s weather service, but be sure to pack for whatever extremes you think you are likely to encounter.

4. Be aware of alcohol laws

Each Canadian province’s government sets the legal drinking age for their region, so it varies across the country. Be sure to check the legal drinking age of the province you’re visiting before consuming alcohol.

Compare travel insurance for Canada

Heading to Canada soon and haven’t sorted your travel insurance yet? Now’s a great time to do so! Simply head over to our travel insurance comparison service, enter some details about you and your trip, and compare and choose from the selection of policies on offer.

If you’re travelling to different or multiple countries, take a look through our guide to travel insurance by destination.

Sources:

Year ending September 2018. Australian Government: Website of Tourism Research Australia – Latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) Results: Year ending December 2018. Table: 18 Overseas trips, overseas nights and total trip expenditure by main destination. Sourced April 2019.

Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Canada. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au. Sourced April 2019. 

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