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In Canada, we’re lucky to have a universal healthcare system that provides all of our citizens and permanent residents with free public health insurance. Because such benefits are available, many Canadians don’t think about buying travel insurance when they vacation or go on work trips within Canada. 

However, since every province and territory has a healthcare plan that may not carry over to other provinces and territories, it’s important to consider buying travel medical insurance.

Do Canadians Need Travel Insurance Within Canada?

It’s a common misconception that Canadians are covered for medical issues no matter where they are in Canada. Many Canadians assume that their provincial healthcare plans will cover all health-related costs and services, as long as they stay within the country’s borders. 

But while basic emergency medical expenses that happen in another province may be covered by your provincial plan, certain services and treatments will not. 

The following are some of the items that will not be covered by your provincial plan:

  • Ambulance services
  • Prescription medication
  • Dental care
  • Medical accessories, such as crutches, splints, etc. 
  • Transportation back home
  • Returning your vehicle to your home 

It should also be noted that even services that are covered by your provincial healthcare plan may only be reimbursed up to a specific limit. That means even if you visit a doctor while in another province, which is a service that you should be covered for, there is a chance that you may have to pay the difference between the fees charged in your home province and the fees billed in the province you’re visiting. 

For this reason, it may be a good idea to purchase travel insurance to ensure that you’re adequately covered in case something happens while you’re travelling within Canada. Keep in mind that if you have work medical benefits, it typically will cover you for medical-related expenses if you travel outside of your province. That said, limits to claims would also apply.

Where Can You Get Domestic Travel Insurance? 

If you want to be covered while travelling outside your home province, check out these travel credit cards or the following travel insurance companies and the comprehensive plans they offer:

soNomad logo

SoNomad 

SoNomad’s Emergency Medical travel insurance plan will cover you for services that your provincial health plan will not reimburse you for, such as ambulance services, prescription medication, or dental care. You may also want to consider adding a trip cancellation and interruption plan to protect your travel investment in case an unexpected event forces you to cancel your travels, such as an illness or injury.

TD Insurance Provider

TD Insurance

TD Insurance offers some travel insurance plans that are ideal for those travelling domestically within Canada. For instance, TD’s Single-Trip Medical Plan, Multi-Trip Medical Plan, and Multi-Trip All-Inclusive Plan will provide you with all the medical coverage you 

Plus, the TD Insurance Trip Cancellation and Interruption Plan will reimburse costs if your trip is cancelled or interrupted for a covered reason such as involuntary job loss and sickness.

RBC Insurance Provider

RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance offers its Travel Within Canada Package for Canadians travelling domestically within Canada. The plan helps cover any expenses not covered under your provincial healthcare plan when travelling outside your home province. The plan includes: 

  • Trip cancellation/interruption
  • Emergency medical care
  • Flight and travel accident
  • Baggage loss, damage, or delay
  • Transportation delay
Allianz Global Assistance

Allianz Global Assistance 

Allianz Global Assistance offers emergency medical care in case you experience a mishap while travelling outside your home province. The company also provides trip cancellation benefits if something happens that prevents you from embarking on your trip in the first place. Travel insurance plans include the following:

  • Medical Plan: provides coverage for medical emergencies.
  • Cancellation Plan: provides coverage in the event of unexpected trip cancellation, interruption, or delay.
  • Medical + Cancellation Plan: combines the coverage of both Medical and Cancellation plans.
Manulife Insurance

Manulife

Manulife has a slew of travel insurance options to choose from, giving you lots of flexibility to select the product that works best for you. Coverage applies no matter where you travel, including within Canada. But Manulife also specifically offers its Travel Canada Emergency Medical plan, which is perfect for Canadians travelling within the country’s borders.

What Type Of Insurance Do You Need While Travelling Within Canada?

Some insurance companies have travel insurance plans that are specifically designed to cover Canadians who are travelling outside their home province, but still within Canada. Other insurers simply offer typical emergency medical or trip cancellation and interruption plans for international travel, which also serve a purpose for domestic travel within Canada. 

Ultimately, you should consider buying a travel insurance plan that will cover you for a variety of medical services that may not be reimbursed under your home province’s healthcare plan. 

Some policies are considered all-inclusive, which means they include coverage for both medical emergencies and trip cancellations and interruptions. If you feel that you only need to be covered for medical emergencies and want something more affordable, then look for a plan that strictly covers medical emergencies.

What Happens If I Need Emergency Care In Another Province?

Depending on which province you live in, your provincial healthcare plan will have its limitations in terms of coverage amounts when you require medical care out of the province. That said, all provinces cover insured physician and hospital costs within reimbursement limits. That means you can travel to another province and not have to pay for coverage for medical services that are covered under your home province’s healthcare plan.

However, Quebec works slightly differently. If you travel to Quebec, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for medical care. Then get reimbursed afterward by submitting a receipt for your care to your provincial health care plan’s office. This process can be long, which means you could be without the money you used to cover your expenses for an unpredictable amount of time. This is another reason why a travel insurance policy is a good idea.  

How Much Does Domestic Travel Insurance Cost? 

The final cost of your domestic travel insurance premium can vary based on your:

  • Age & citizenship
  • Pre-existing medical conditions (diabetes, heart issues, etc.)
  • Smoker status
  • Insurance provider
  • Deductible amount 
  • Policy type & features
  • Travel period & locations (farther and longer trips with multiple destinations typically require extra coverage)

What Does Provincial/Territorial Health Insurance Cover?

While we do have universal health insurance, many Canadians don’t realize that only certain medicines, incidents, and treatments are covered by our provincial and territorial healthcare plans, including but not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Essential physician services performed by medical practitioners  
  • Hospital services that are necessary to maintain the health of in-patients and out-patients, within a specified daily cost limit (injury, illness or disability treatment, disease prevention or diagnosis, etc.)  

What Is Not Covered By Your Provincial Health Plan?

  • Some types of prescription drugs
  • Dental emergencies
  • Medical tools & equipment
  • Private or semi-private hospital rooms
  • Homecare services
  • Air, water, or ground ambulance rides
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Costs that range beyond the specified daily limits for in-patient or out-patient emergency room services

As you can see, there are some cases where buying domestic travel insurance might actually turn out to be worth the money. If you’re travelling interprovincially and you get into an accident or suffer a medical emergency without travel insurance, you could wind up paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars without any kind of reimbursement.

However, do note that travel insurance generally does not insure accidents or injuries associated with extreme or reckless behaviours or actions such as skydiving. 

Why You Should Consider Buying Travel Insurance Within Canada

Before you go travelling outside of your hometown, think about what sorts of unexpected events could occur. Even if you think you’re prepared for all situations, there is always a chance something can go wrong. For example, if you hurt yourself while hiking out-of-province and need to be airlifted to the nearest medical facility, your helicopter ride alone could cost well over $10,000 (if you’re not insured). 

Thankfully, depending on which provider you apply with, most types of travel insurance are relatively inexpensive and can cover a whole range of medications and health treatments (usually up to several million dollars), including but not restricted to:

Medical Coverage

  • Prescription drugs that have been prescribed during a medical emergency
  • Urgent dental or dermatological treatments
  • Ambulance transportation
  • Private or semi-private hospital room stays
  • Various professional health services (chiropractor, physiotherapist, etc.)
  • Essentially or safe medical repatriations to your home province/territory
  • Out-of-hospital consultations (covers the difference between the rates of your home province/territory and the one you’re travelling within)
  • Medical equipment and accessories prescribed by a physician (respirators, crutches, splints, prostheses, etc.)

Non-Medical Coverage

  • Baggage Theft, Loss or Vandalism – This separate type of insurance helps you get reimbursed for certain costs if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen mid-travel. Mostly, this applies to air travel (the Air Passenger Bill of Rights).   
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption – If you have to postpone or cancel your trip ahead of time, this other insurance reimburses you for any non-refundable or prepaid travel costs, like transportation, accommodation, and activities.

Travel insurance doesn’t just cover you when you get sick aboard. Maybe you catch COVID in the next province over or maybe you have a small dental emergency when travelling across the country for a wedding. Unfortunately, many Canadians have lost a lot of money and vacation time because they didn’t expect interprovincial or international travel would ever be so restricted. This is why having the appropriate travel insurance, even while travelling within Canada, is so important. 

Buying Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip Within Canada?                

Travelling domestically can be much simpler, cheaper and less time-consuming than doing it internationally. However, you never know what can happen and it’s always smart to be prepared for whatever healthcare situations come your way. Although travel insurance can be relatively expensive at first glance, it can be well worth the investment.    

Travel Insurance In Canada FAQs

Does OHIP cover travel within Canada?

Yes, OHIP covers physician and hospital services to Ontario residents who leave Ontario temporarily but remain within Canada. For OHIP to remain in effect, an individual must permanently live in Ontario and be physically present in the province for at least 153 days per 12-month period. OHIP will only cover physician and hospital services outside of Ontario when a valid health card is presented. 

Does AHCIP provide medical coverage outside of Alberta?

Yes, AHCIP coverage is available in all provinces across Canada. However, there are limits on what the services and fees are covered. More specifically, only physician and hospital services in another province are covered. 

Do I need my passport to travel within Canada?

You don’t need a passport if you stay within Canada. However, you will need to present a valid government ID when you board a plane. While you could use a health card or other form of government-issued ID, a passport provides an easy way to identify yourself when travelling within Canada. 
Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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