Travel insurance is designed to pay for large expenses such as hospitalization or medication treatment outside of Canada. Foreign hospital and clinics have been known to refuse treatment to patients who lack adequate insurance or the financial resources to pay their bills.
A single accident could result in years of debt for anyone who is not prepared. In order to protect yourself and your family's safety, make sure you purchase travel insurance before travelling, otherwise you are fully responsible for the medical expenses occurred during the trip. Hence besides your credit card, don't leave home without it.
If a medical emergency occurs, and you have incurred expenses abroad you can contact your insurer's help line. Customer services representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist individuals or groups away in other countries.
You get travel health insurance through the following:
- The group health insurance that you have through your employer, union or professional association may cover out-of-country hospital/medical expenses. Check with your group insurance provider to see if it does and what limitations apply.
- Each time you travel, you can purchase coverage through companies offering individual travel insurance (e.g., insurance or travel agency, bank, etc.)
- Some credit cards may provide some protection. Check the details and be aware of any specific restrictions (e.g., your travel arrangements, including any premiums, may need to be purchased with that credit card, the length of the coverage, etc.)
Benefits will vary from policy to policy, so check and pay close attention to possible restrictions and limitations.
If you are traveling within Canada, an inter-provincial agreement exists to provide coverage for you. Quebec participates in this agreement for hospital fees only, so Quebec residents traveling out of their home province should check their health insurance plan for limitations.
For out-of-country expenditures, coverage varies from province to province. All provincial health ministries strongly recommend that you consider other sources of coverage if you are leaving the country because provincial health coverage, in itself usually is not adequate. Other sources include group insurance through your employment, credit card companies and individual travel insurance.