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Travel Insurance for Canada

Compare travel insurance for Canada

published: 06 October 2022
Read time: 10 minutes

Here’s a few ideas for your time in Canada – and don’t forget to take out travel insurance as soon as you book

Canada is a bucket-list location for many tourists who want to indulge in maple syrup and see unrivalled views from the CN Tower or the Canadian Rockies. When planning a trip to Canada, there are a few things to consider. Here, we explore why you need life insurance and our top tips for visiting this amazing North American country.

Why do I need travel insurance for Canada?

Whether you’re planning the holiday of a lifetime or a more extended trip to Canada, travel insurance is a must.

If you have an accident, fall ill, suffer the loss or theft of your belongings, or find yourself struck by an emergency that affects your travel plans, a good policy will provide you with a valuable financial safety net.

Rope bridge looking out over the Howe Sound in British Columbia, Canada

What should my travel insurance policy for Canada include?

When buying a travel insurance policy for Canada, make sure that it covers the following:

  • Emergency medical expenses

    There is no reciprocal healthcare arrangement in place for visitors to Canada from the UK. If you need any medical treatment while you’re there, you will have to pay for it in full – and, as in the United States, Canadian medical bills can be extremely high.

  • Repatriation to the UK

    This is in case, you have to be specially brought back.

  • Cancelling or curtailing your holiday

    This may happen if an emergency has arisen at home. Since Canada can be a costly place to visit, make sure you have cover for the full amount you have spent on your holiday.

  • Delayed and missed departures

    This is in case of unexpected events cause you to miss your flight.

  • Travel abandonment

    This is in case your journey to your destination becomes unfeasible and it’s impossible to continue.

  • Lost and stolen baggage

    This ensures the value of your belongings is covered.

  • The loss or theft of your passport

    Some travel insurers include this as standard, but it’s worth checking in case yours isn’t one of them. Getting hold of a new passport while you’re abroad can be a troublesome and expensive process.

  • Personal liability cover

    This provides you with protection in case something you do injures someone else, damages their possessions, or causes the loss of their belongings.

What travel insurance do I need to go to Canada?

You will need to take out a worldwide travel insurance policy if you are travelling to Canada. Some worldwide travel insurance policies may exclude countries such as Canada, the USA, and Mexico; make sure your policy covers the countries you intend to travel to.

Your policy may also change depending on the type of holiday you are going on. You will be asked if this is a single trip, if you’re making multiple trips over 12 months, or if it is a long trip for up to 18 months.

You should also make sure that your cover starts from the day you book your holiday. If your policy starts later and an emergency occurs that prevents you from travelling before you leave, you may not be covered.

What is excluded from travel insurance for Canada?

Most travel insurance policies come with exclusions. These are things that are not covered as part of your policy and which you will be unable to claim.

Likely exclusions for travel insurance for Canada include:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
    A pre-existing condition is any illness that has already been diagnosed or whose symptoms have already caused you to seek medical advice or treatment. You may need to pay extra or find a specialist insurer to cover pre-existing conditions.

  • Unexpected events
    This could include terrorism, war, civil unrest, and the effect of natural disasters.

  • Accidents or injuries while under the influence of alcohol
    Whether you hurt yourself or someone else, if an incident is linked to drinking, your insurer will almost certainly refuse to accept any claim you make.

  • Travelling against government advice
    Travel to places that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised British holidaymakers to avoid.

  • Injuries and accidents that occur during winter or extreme sporting activities
    This could include activities such as skiing and snowboarding. If you’re keen to hit the slopes while in Canada, make sure you have adequate winter sports or adventure sports insurance in place first. 

Like all other forms of insurance, your travel insurance policy will come with an excess. You must make sure it’s set at a realistic level, as this is the sum you will have to pay out before you can make a claim.

Finally, always start your travel insurance policy from the day you book your trip - not the day you are intending to fly out to Canada.

Delaying the start of your policy could turn out to be an expensive mistake. If an emergency arises the week before you’re due to leave and your policy is not yet active, you will have no cancellation cover in place. You could lose every penny you’ve spent on your flights, accommodation, and any pre-booked activities.

Travel tips for Canada

There’s more to think about than where to go and travel insurance for Canada when planning your holiday. Consider other authorisations you may need and other expenses that you will encounter when on holiday. Here are our five recommendations when travelling to Canada:

Get your electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) in advance

Visitors from the UK to Canada are required to have an ‘eTA’ in place before they can board a flight to the country.

An eTA is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. It’s linked to your passport and valid for up to five years or until your passport expires. You may be able to squeeze in an extra trip to Canada during that time.

You can apply for your eTA via the Canadian government website. Most applications for eTAs for Canada are approved within a matter of minutes.

Expect to pay extra

In Canada, the advertised price of an item or service may not be the final price you pay. This is because a Goods and Services Tax (GST) and possibly Provincial Sales Taxes (PST) will be added to your bill at the checkout.

This can be particularly confusing if you’re planning to travel to several different provinces. Each province will have their own sales tax rules.

Some parts of Canada levy a Harmonised Sales Tax (HST). This combines GST and their local provincial rate. Other locations may charge and list the taxes separately.

Meanwhile, certain items are exempt from sales tax in some provinces, yet others – such as alcoholic drinks – have tax levied on them at higher rates.

The good news is that Canadians are famously nice. If you need help with working out how much an item or service is going to cost, just ask.

Don’t forget to tip!

The tipping culture in Canada is similar to that in the United States. If you go to a restaurant, it’s customary to leave a tip of around 15% to 20% of your total bill for your server.

As in the United States, you may also want to tip the people who help you while you are out and about. This might include the person at your hotel who helps you with your bags, the attendant who takes your car for valet parking, or the housekeeping staff who clean and tidy your room.

Consider the size of the country… it’s BIG

When you come from a small island, it can be difficult to fully appreciate the size and scale of a country like Canada. It’s important to remember the scale of the country if you’re planning a trip that will take you to several locations.

Plan your holiday carefully. Balance your desire to see the country’s sights with honesty about how much time you are prepared to spend travelling from one place to another.

Grab a French phrasebook

Remember that around 20% of Canadians (mostly those who live in Quebec) speak French, not English, as their first language.

If your holiday in Canada will take you to an area where the locals are likely to be speaking in French (or en francais), learning a few key phrases will help you get by.

How do I get travel insurance for Canada?

There is a lot to think about when planning your holiday to Canada, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. When looking for a travel insurance policy, MoneySuperMarket can help point you in the right direction. Our comparison tool means that you can find the best deals and cover for your needs.

Let us know about your travel plans and other information and we’ll find a travel insurance policy that will cover you from any emergencies in the run up to your holiday or while you’re in Canada.

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