Compare travel insurance for Canada
Compare travel insurance for Canada
With stunning landscapes, excellent skiing, truly wild wildlife and a reputation for friendliness, Canada is an often-overlooked treasure of a holiday destination. Here’s how to get travel insurance that gives you peace of mind on your big adventure.
Do I need travel insurance for Canada?
Although it isn’t obligatory for short visits to Canada, travel insurance is vital to protect you during your trip. Around 724,000 Brits visit Canada every year, to visit the Calgary Stampede, hike in the Rockies, kayak the lakes, see the northern lights in the Yukon, go whale and bear watching or see the legendary Niagara Falls.
While most visits are trouble free, things can go wrong. If you take a tumble on skis, lose your luggage or get stranded in the snow, travel insurance can give you peace of mind.
While Canadians have their own version of state-funded healthcare, it isn’t available to Brits. If you become ill or you’re injured and you don’t have travel insurance, you’ll have to pay your own medical bills – and these could be costly. Even if you have dual British-Canadian citizenship, you’re not guaranteed free healthcare as there may be residency requirements (depending on the province).
In winter, severe snowstorms are common. You’ll want to be protected in case of cancelled flights, snowed-in roads and other delays.
As of 23rd Match 2020, the UK Government announced a series of restrictions to travel, public spaces and gatherings. For a minimum of three weeks, people are being instructed to stay at home whenever possible. For this reason, travel insurance policies purchased from this date, for trips within the UK with a start date before 13th April 2020, will not be valid.
The UK Government also instructed all British tourists and travellers, that are currently abroad, to return to the UK as soon as possible.
As of 17th March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all non-essential travel abroad for an initial period of 30 days. This means that any travel insurance purchased from this date, for trips outside of the UK with a start date before 16th April 2020, will not be covered by the provider.
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020, so this may also affect your policy, particularly those taken out on or after that date. Please check any existing policies carefully, to find out what you’re covered for.
For more information please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.
What should my travel insurance policy for Canada include?
- Cover while in Canada While this might be stating the obvious, many people rely on travel insurance that comes free with a bank account that, typically, only covers travel in Europe. Check your policy, and make sure you take out additional cover if needed.
- Active sports or excursions Specialist travel insurance isn’t just about winter sports. Even if you’re visiting in July, a gentle stroll in the Rockies could invalidate some policies if you happen to venture above 2,000m elevation. Plan your activities in advance and make sure your insurance covers everything.
- Valuable items This isn’t limited to jewellery or tech, as winter and sports gear can be pricey. Add up the value of everything you’re taking, from your phone to your snow boots, and make sure you have enough baggage insurance. If you’re taking something particularly valuable, like a laptop or camera, check the single article limit for your travel to Canada.
- Cancellation Canada isn’t a cheap place to visit so before you buy your insurance, add up the cost of flights, hotels and activities. You want enough cancellation cover so that if you had to cancel your trip, you could get your money back. Find out more about holiday cancellation insurance.
Canada travel insurance exclusions
While travel insurance for Canada will cover most unforseen costs during your visit, there are some exclusions to watch out for. Be sure to check if the following affect you and whether your policy covers them:
- Pre-existing medical conditions It’s crucial that you declare any pre-existing conditions to a provider when you apply for travel insurance. The provider may then offer you standard cover, offer cover with a higher excess, offer cover with restrictions or refuse to cover the condition. They could even decline your application.
If you compare travel insurance with us, any medical conditions declared will be included in the policies presented to you. Find out more about travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Extreme sports The Canadian landscape lends itself to extreme sports, such as ski jumping or mountaineering. Before signing up for an adventure holiday, check if your policy provides adequate cover or arrange specialist insurance, if needed.
- Acts of God Many areas of Canada are prone to flooding from snow melts, and occasional storms have seen widespread damage. If your belongings are damaged as a result, your travel insurance might not pay out.
- Travel to regions that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised to avoid There are currently no advisory warnings for travel to Canada, but the FCO does highlight regular snowstorms and a likely risk of terrorism.
How much is travel insurance for Canada?
If you’re travelling to Canada from the UK, travel insurance could cost from £38 for a week**. However, the cost of worldwide travel insurance varies, depending on the level of cover you need and the activities you’re planning on doing while you’re away.
**50% of people could achieve a quote of £37.68 for worldwide travel insurance for 1 week based on Compare the Market data in February 2020.
Do I need a visa for Canada?
If you’re a British citizen travelling to Canada, you need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). It lasts for five years or until your passport expires and costs $7 to process. Apply at the Government of Canada website.
Any other advice for travelling to Canada?
Here are a few things it’s good to know before you go.
Currency: Canadian dollars ($ or Can$). ATMs are common and most places accept cards.
Language: although the majority of Canadians speak English, Quebec and a few other areas speak French as a first language. Most French-speakers you encounter will be bilingual.
Vaccines: you shouldn’t need any specific vaccines for your trip to Canada, but it may be advisable to get a Tetanus jab or booster, which are usually free on the NHS.
Tipping: like the USA, Canada is a nation of tippers and you’ll be expected to follow suit. Here are some guidelines on tipping in common situations.
- Airport and hotel porters – $2 to $5 per bag
- Bar staff – 10-20% or follow a ‘keep the change’ rule
- Hotel maid service –$2 to $5 per day or a lump sum at the end of your stay
- Waiting staff at restaurants – 15-20% unless a tip has already been added to the bill
- Taxi drivers – between 10-20%
- Parking attendants – $5 to $10 when picking up your car
- Salons – a tip of 15-20% is usual for hair stylists, beauticians and masseurs
Compare Canada travel insurance
At Compare the Market, we can help you find and compare Canada travel insurance that suits your trip. Just start a quote and type in ‘Canada’ when we ask where you’re going.