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Advice for Visitors to Canada

Travel Insurance Coverage for Medical Expenses

When you think of travel insurance, the first thing that usually comes to mind is coverage for medical care.  While a travel insurance policy can include other options, medical coverage is one of the most important and sought after features of a travel insurance plan.  It is designed to protect you from the incredibly high cost of health care during a trip, when your primary insurance plan does not provide coverage outside of your home country.  Coverage for medical expenses is indeed at the heart of a good comprehensive travel insurance policy, and may cover more than you may know.

Medical ExpensesWhat is Covered under Medical Expenses?
Coverage for medical expenses provides for the cost of emergency medical and dental care resulting from an accident, and treatment for an unexpected illness or injury that takes place while you are away from home.  Be it a car accident, a fall, or the contraction of an infection, a good travel insurance plan can protect you against the potentially high cost of treatment while you are traveling outside the country.  The following medical expenses are typically covered should you need hospital care:

  • Ambulance transportation to the hospital
  • A hospital room
  • Prescription drugs
  • Diagnostic tests and procedures
  • Surgery
  • Other medical requirements while in the facility

Any medical needs after your release from the hospital, including doctor’s follow-up visits, ongoing prescriptions, and medical devices such as crutches, are covered as well.  Treatment rendered by physicians in a medical clinic, and therapeutic care may also fall under the terms of your policy. 

Emergency dental services are covered provided they are considered medically necessary and urgent in nature.  For example, a chipped tooth, filling replacement, gum infection, and other types of dental injuries are generally among the items under coverage.

What Medical Expenses are Not Covered?
Coverage for medical expenses included in a typical travel insurance policy is solely for emergency health care during a journey outside of your home country. Before you go, you should be aware that you are not covered and will be responsible for the cost of the following services, unless otherwise specified under the terms of your policy:

  • Routine medical check-ups and dental care
  • Treatment of pre-existing conditions, that is, a health condition which might require medical attention during your trip  
  • Childbirth (traveling while pregnant and close to your due date is risky)
  • Accidents that occur while engaged in hazardous sports or activities
  • Elective surgery including cosmetic procedures; if you are planning to travel to Canada in order to undergo an elective surgical procedure, be prepared to pay for it out-of-pocket.

It is essential that you read and understand the terms of your travel insurance policy, and pay special attention to the small print.

The Importance of Coverage for Medical Expenses
While Canada has a health plan that provides coverage for its residents, the coverage does not extend to visitors.  Accidents and sudden illnesses can strike anywhere and at any time, so even on a short trip, you should have coverage in case any emergency health issues arise.  Medical providers in Canada will charge you for services rendered; so purchasing a good travel insurance plan is the best way to ensure that you will not have to pay for unexpected medical expenses and be burdened with potential financial concerns.