Do You need travel coverage while travelling in Canada?
Buying emergency medical travel insurance is always recommended for trips to the
United States or abroad but what about trips within Canada to other provinces or
For basic services like doctor visits and hospital care for medically required services,
provinces and territories have agreements with each other to be billed directly;
you rarely will see a bill. The only exception is Quebec; Quebec
participates in these agreements for hospital services but not physician services.
Some doctors in other provinces and territories may also request payment up front
for services provided. If you do have to pay up front, you can apply for reimbursement
from your provincial health plan.
So why do you need extra coverage when travelling within Canada?
There are still medical expenses not covered by your provincial plan and you’ll
be on the hook for those costs. Like any insurance policy, you have to ask what’s covered—but just as important — what's not covered. When you
ask this important question the need for travel insurance—even while travelling
in Canada—becomes clear.
Each province varies; some provincial health plans won’t cover air and ground ambulance
or any related costs if you’re in an accident or become ill while travelling outside
your province of residence. Some may extend coverage for those "additional benefits"
but most don’t.
Private travel insurance covers ambulance services, prescription
drugs and other additional benefits not covered by your provincial plan. For example:
semi-private hospital rooms, emergency dental care, rental of wheelchairs, crutches or canes. You can even get
coverage for a family member to come to your bedside while in hospital along with
an allowance for meals and accommodation.
Now some of these expenses may be covered through your workplace benefits, but all
plans are different and coverage may be limited. Some travel insurance may also
be first payer meaning that limits on your workplace benefits are not impacted and
you won’t affect your group coverage premiums.
In addition to emergency medical, travel policies can include coverage for trip
cancellation or interruption, and lost luggage.
Your provincial health insurance follows you when you travel Canada; but given the
exclusions and the benefits it doesn't cover, is it enough in the event of an emergency?
Always consider purchasing travel insurance before you leave regardless of your
destination—even within Canada.