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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. Every province and territory has its own healthcare plan, coverage details and eligibility requirements. We also offer free emergency services, even to those who don’t have insurance. 

Because such benefits are available, many of our residents don’t think about buying travel insurance when they vacation or go on work trips within our borders, when it can actually do a world of good during an unexpected medical situation. 

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:

Covered By Health Insurance

  • 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.)  

Not Covered By Health Insurance 

  • 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

Everything you need to know about buying insurance online.

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.

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 totally 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.)

Is your insurance agent misleading you?

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).   
  • Voyage 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.

Although there are plenty of other unforeseen situations that could occur before or while you’re travelling outside of your hometown, travel insurance has become particularly important in recent months due to the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

All this said travel insurance doesn’t just cover you during major global occurrences. Even a small dental emergency can not only prevent you from eating or drinking comfortably, but it can also cost hundreds of dollars if you’re uninsured. Having your bag lost or stolen may not be the end of the world but it can definitely be an expensive inconvenience to deal with when you’re supposed to be having fun on vacation.

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)

Make sure you avoid these 5 mistakes when purchasing insurance.

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.    

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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