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.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
6
minute read
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Posted 01 FEBRUARY 2021 Last Updated 21 FEBRUARY 2022

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 see 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. If you take a tumble on skis, lose your luggage or get stranded in the snow, travel insurance can give you peace of mind that you’re protected. 

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. 

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

How much is travel insurance for Canada?

For Canada you’ll need worldwide travel insurance and the cost of this can vary depending on the level of cover you need and the activities you’re planning on doing while you’re away. 

For example, travel insurance for sightseeing in Montreal or Vancouver should cost less than for camping in Banff or skiing in Whistler.  

What will Canada travel insurance cover?

A travel insurance policy for Canada will typically offer:

  • Medical cover – Canadian healthcare can be very expensive, so medical cover is a must. This can include repatriation back to the UK as well as emergency treatment. You should look for cover for at least £2 million outside of Europe. 
  • Damage, loss or theft of luggage – add up the value of everything you’re taking, from your phone to your snow boots and make sure you have enough cover. There’s usually a single-item limit (the maximum your insurance provider will pay out for one item  ) so you’ll need to list any belongings valued at more than this separately. 
  • Cancellation and flight delays – check your policy as you may only be covered in certain circumstances.
  • Cancellation - in winter, severe snowstorms are common. You’ll want to be protected in case of cancelled flights, blocked roads and other delays.
    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 altogether, you could get your money back. 
  • Coronavirus cover – you’ll want to make sure you’re not out of pocket if COVID-19 disrupts your holiday plans. To compare levels of coronavirus cover when you get a quote with us, use the ‘more details’ option on the quotes results page.

Levels of cover and limits vary between insurance providers, so check these carefully before committing to a policy.

What won’t Canada travel insurance cover?

While travel insurance for Canada will cover most unforeseen 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, cover with a higher excess, 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.  
  • 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.
  • Alcohol and drugs – you likely won’t be covered if you have an accident or are injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Natural disasters – many areas of Canada are prone to flooding from snow melts, and occasionally storms cause widespread damage. If your belongings are damaged as a result, some travel insurance policies might not pay out.
  • Terrorism - your policy may offer some cover but check carefully.

What else should I consider when I choose my travel insurance?

Think about the activities you’re planning to do during your visit to Canada. With its mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests, the unspoilt wilderness of Canada is just waiting to be explored. Consider the following:

  • It’s unlikely that a standard policy will cover dog-sled riding across Yukon’s frozen lakes or hiking in the Rockies – you may need adventure travel insurance,  which can cover higher risk sports and activities. 
  • White-water rafting is massively popular in Canada – if you’re planning to take on tumultuous rapids, you’ll need to add specialist water sports cover to your policy. 
  • Whistler is one of the world’s most famous skiing destinations – if you’re planning a holiday here, winter sports cover will ensure you’re protected both on and off the slopes. 

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 C$7 to process. Apply at the Government of Canada website

More details about the entry requirements for Canada can be found on the GOV.UK website including rules on COVID-19 vaccines and testing.

Any other tips for trips to Canada?

Here’s a few things to know before you go.

Currency - Canadian dollars. ATMs are common and most places accept cards. To avoid hefty exchange fees, always choose the local currency when using your card. You might even want to consider a specialist travel credit card, which can offer more favourable rates.

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 non-COVID 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 –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.

Top tip

You can’t visit Canada without trying traditional ‘maple-syrup’ topped pancakes for breakfast. A visit to Tim Hortons is another must – named after a famous hockey player, ‘Timmy’s’ is a coffee shop chain found in almost every town across the country – it’s practically a Canadian institution!

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.

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