The May long weekend is almost here! Are you one of the many Canadians heading to the cottage, visiting family, or travelling to another province? If your travels are going to take you farther away from home than usual, it might be time to think about travel insurance. And while you may be aware of how important travel insurance can be for trips outside of the country, there are many benefits to travelling insured within Canada too.
Although your provincial health insurance* will travel with you from province to province, you may want to consider the following before deciding whether or not you should supplement your provincial coverage with travel insurance for your out-of-province trip.
- Provincial coverage will pay for some—but not all—of the unexpected medical expenses you incur outside of the province. This means it should be sufficient for physician or hospital charges in the event of an unforeseen sickness or injury, but private travel insurance may be needed for other expenses such as prescription drugs, ambulance services, dental emergencies, and medical transportation back to your home province. And keep in mind that provincial government health plans recommend additional travel insurance for out-of-province expenses they don’t cover.
- Not all provinces and territories cover the same prescription medications. And some rare drugs may not even be available in certain provinces. While the former could mean needing to dip into your savings, the latter could be life or death. Travel insurance can provide coverage for these medications if prescribed to treat an unexpected sickness or injury and could even fly you home at no cost to receive the drugs you need as soon as you need them.
- Medical transportation to a hospital located in your home province is not covered by your provincial health plan. If you need to go home to take advantage of a service or drug that was not available in the province you were visiting, flying home via air ambulance could cost you thousands of dollars. Travel medical insurance typically includes a benefit for medical transportation back to your province of residence, if recommended by a physician.
- On rare occasions, particularly when travelling in Quebec (or when Quebec residents travel outside of their province), paying for medical treatment up front and being reimbursed later may be your only option. This may not be a major issue if your medical bill is a couple of hundred dollars. But what happens if it is a total you cannot afford? Travel insurance can help by coordinating payment directly with a medical facility—and you won’t have to worry about weeks (or months!) of financial stress before being reimbursed by your provincial government.
- Provincial health insurance does not cover non-medical travel expenses. If you’re worried that your expensive trip across the country may be called off unexpectedly, it’s good to know that trip cancellation insurance can reimburse non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, tours, and hotels. Similarly, trip interruption and baggage insurance are available to protect against unexpected expenses after departure, like the cost of returning home early for reasons you couldn’t predict or the replacement of lost or stolen items.
Although the chances of needing urgent medical care while travelling over a short, three-day span are low, so are the costs of purchasing travel insurance. And many Canadian travel insurers offer plans specifically for travel within Canada at heavily discounted rates. And, if you travel out of province often, there are some multi-trip plans that automatically include coverage for unlimited travel (during a one-year period) throughout Canada.
*Find your province below and click on the associated resource to learn what your provincial or territorial health insurance will (and won’t!) cover while you are travelling around this great big country of ours.
|Alberta||Health Coverage Outside Alberta||Requires Adobe Reader|
|British Columbia||Medical Care Outside British Columbia|
|Manitoba||What if I have to see a doctor while in another province?|
|New Brunswick||In-country Coverage and Claims|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||Out of Province Coverage|
|Northwest Territories||Out of Territory/Country Coverage|
|Nova Scotia||Travel to other Canadian provinces|
|Nunavut||Nunavut Health Care Plan||As long as residents of Nunavut carry a health card, they are eligible to receive the same coverage anywhere in the country. In some cases, residents will need to leave the territory to seek the medical care they need.|
|Ontario||Out of Province Services – Travellers|
|Prince Edward Island||Additional Medical Insurance While Travelling|
|Quebec||Temporary stays outside Quebec|
|Yukon||Insured Coverage: Travel Within Canada|
This article, co-authored by Kathleen O’Hagan and Matt Davies, is provided by Ingle International, specializing in travel insurance solutions since 1946. Ingle International helps keep travelling Canadians informed for safe and healthy travels. To read more, visit the Ingle International blog.