Canadian Travel Insurance
Canada is a country full of stunning scenery and plenty of things to do. Covering a staggering 9.98 million square kilometres, it is the second-largest country in the world by area behind Russia. Whether you want to hit the world-class ski slopes, take a train through the Canadian Rockies or visit the iconic Niagara Falls, there is something for everyone in Canada.
As a fellow Commonwealth country, Canada is a popular destination for Australian tourists year-round. But before you jet off on an overseas trip to Canada, you need to ensure you are covered with a comprehensive international travel insurance policy. Without one, your much-anticipated Canadian adventure could become a complete disaster.
Why do I need travel insurance for my Canadian holiday?
Travel insurance is essential for any international travel and is highly recommended by the Australian Government for all travellers. If something goes wrong on your trip and you are not insured, you could find yourself facing thousands of dollars of medical bills, losing thousands of dollars in non-refundable cancellation costs or coughing up thousands of dollars for a last-minute emergency flight home. The Australian Government will not bail you out for these costs incurred overseas. Only a comprehensive international travel insurance policy will give you peace of mind that if something unexpected does go wrong on your Canadian trip, you will be covered and not be left with potentially crippling debt.
What can Canadian travel insurance cover?
Comprehensive travel insurance policies for Canadian holidays can offer a large number of inclusions ranging from medical costs to lost luggage and public liability. Here are some of the common inclusions on comprehensive international travel insurance policies:
- Overseas Medical and Hospital Expenses: If you unexpectedly become sick or injured and require treatment while overseas, you could be covered for medical expenses. This can include emergency dental expenses resulting from the sudden onset of pain or an injury sustained while travelling.
- Cancellation Cover: If you have to cancel your trip or cannot complete your full trip as planned due to injury, illness or some other unforeseen circumstances, you could be covered for non-refundable payments you have already made for pre-paid travel.
- Accidental Death and Permanent Disability: If you pass away in an accident while overseas or become permanently disabled in an accident, you or your family could receive a lump-sum payment from the insurer.
- Travel Delay: If there is an unexpected delay to your journey that is beyond your control, you could be covered for reasonable additional meals and accommodation expenses.
- Luggage and Personal Effects: You could be covered for lost, stolen, damaged or delayed luggage and the loss or theft of personal effects, including cash. Lost or delayed baggage happens more often than you might think.
- Rental Vehicle Excess: If you are hiring a car or other vehicle during your Canadian holiday, you could be covered for the excess charged by the car rental company if your vehicle is damaged or stolen while in your possession, up to a maximum limit.
- Personal Liability: If you become legally liable to pay compensation for death or injury to another person or loss of or damage to someone else’s property as a result of an accident, you could be covered for costs incurred up to certain limits.
Always check the individual Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of any international travel insurance policy you are considering to ensure you are aware of exactly what is covered and what is not.
Does Australia have a reciprocal health care agreement with Canada?
Despite being a Commonwealth country, Canada does not have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia like some other countries. This means that Australian citizens will not receive free health care while in Canada and will have to pay for hospital and medical services at standard visitor rates which can be very expensive. Holding travel insurance can cover you for overseas medical and hospital expenses and is a vital box to tick on your to-do list before you head away on your Canadian holiday.
Snow travel insurance for Canadian holiday
Canada has some magnificent mountains for world-class skiing, which is one of the big drawcards during the winter months. The Canadian ski season varies depending on the area, but generally runs between November and May. The most well-known ski resort in Canada – Whistler – is the largest ski area in North America. Whistler boasts a huge variety of incredible terrain and is easily accessible, being just a two-hour drive from the city of Vancouver. However, if you are planning to head to the Canadian ski slopes, it is important that you have travel insurance which covers snow sports. Some standard travel insurance policies exclude activities such as skiing and snowboarding and may instead offer snow sports cover as an optional add-on. Add-on snow sports insurance can include cover for medical costs – including emergency medical evacuation – if you hurt yourself or become ill while on the ski slopes. Snow sports cover can also include cancellation cover for any prepaid ski passes, ski hire or ski lessons you cannot use as planned due to injury or illness.
Cover for damage or theft of ski equipment – including both personal equipment and rental gear – may also be included, as well as cover for Piste closure if bad weather, a lack of snow or power failure mean the ski slopes are closed for an extended period of time.
Canadian Cruise travel insurance
A popular combination trip for Australians is a visit to the Canadian Rockies and an Alaska cruise. Regular cruises to Alaska depart from Vancouver, which is also where you fly into to access the Canadian Rockies. Alaska cruises are popular for a reason. They provide some extraordinary scenery of beautiful glaciers and untouched wilderness areas – and there is a good chance you will spot some whales swimming in the surrounding waters. If you are planning to take a cruise to Alaska during your Canadian adventure, you need to ensure your travel insurance policy covers cruises. Some comprehensive international travel insurance policies automatically include cover for cruises, but others offer cruise cover as an optional add-on. Add-on cruise cover can cover you for medical costs incurred on a cruise, which are not included in your cruise fare and are charged at private rates which can be very expensive. You could also be covered for trip cancellation fees if you become sick or injured and cannot take or complete your cruise. Some policies even include coverage if your personal formal wear is damaged, lost or stolen while on a cruise and can provide payments if you become sick on your cruise and are confined to your cabin for an extended period of time.
Staying safe in Canada
Canada is considered a relatively safe overseas destination and has a similar crime rate to Australia. Petty crime can occur in tourist areas, including thefts of valuables from cars and other vehicles. In the wilderness areas, bears and other dangerous wildlife can be present.
Always respect wildlife laws, maintain a safe and legal distance from all wildlife and get local advice before going on a hike. Canada experiences natural disasters from time to time including bushfires, earthquakes, avalanches, landslides, hurricanes and tornadoes. Severe weather events like extreme heat and cold are also common.