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Compare travel insurance for Canada

With its stunning landscapes, world-class skiing and reputation for friendliness, Canada is an often-overlooked treasure of a holiday destination. Here’s how to get travel insurance for Canada that gives you peace of mind on your big adventure.

With its stunning landscapes, world-class skiing and reputation for friendliness, Canada is an often-overlooked treasure of a holiday destination. Here’s how to get travel insurance for Canada that gives you peace of mind on your big adventure.

Written by
Helen Thorn
Finances expert
Last Updated
23 MARCH 2023
6 min read
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Do I need travel insurance for Canada?

Although travel insurance for Canada isn’t a legal requirement, it offers vital protection for your trip. Around 724,000 Brits visit Canada every year to hike in the Rockies, see the northern lights, or visit the legendary Niagara Falls. If you fall on your skis, lose your luggage, or end up stranded in the snow, travel insurance can make sure you’re not out of pocket.

While Canadians have their own version of state-funded healthcare, this isn’t available to visiting Brits. If you don’t have travel insurance and get ill or injured on your trip, you’ll have to pay your own medical bills – and these are likely to be costly.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

How much is travel insurance for Canada?

You’ll need worldwide travel insurance for your Canada trip. A 20-year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling for one week could get worldwide travel cover for as little as £16.[1]

But how much you pay for your travel insurance will depend on your personal circumstances. For instance, your age will affect the price you pay, as will the length of your trip, and what you plan to do while you’re there.

Travel insurance for sightseeing in Vancouver should cost less than for skiing in Whistler, for instance. When comparing travel insurance to Canada from the UK, be sure to filter for policies that cover the activities you plan on taking part in.

[1] Prices correct as of January 2023.

What does travel insurance for Canada cover?

A Canada travel insurance policy will typically offer:

  • Medical cover – healthcare abroad can be expensive, so travel insurance for Canada is a must. This can cover you for repatriation back to the UK, as well as emergency treatment. As you’re travelling outside of Europe, look for a cover limit of at least £5 million.
  • Damage, loss or theft of luggage – calculate the value of everything you’re taking with you, from your phone to your snow boots, and make sure you have enough cover. Most travel insurance policies have a single-item limit (the maximum your insurance provider will pay out for one item) so you’ll need to add anything worth more than that separately.
  • Cancellation and delays – severe snowstorms are common in winter. You’ll want to be protected in case of cancelled flights, blocked roads and other delays. Canada isn’t a cheap destination, so before buying insurance, tot up the cost of flights, hotels and activities. You want enough cover so that if you have to cancel your trip, you can get your money back.
  • COVID-19 – you can find travel insurance to cover you if you have to cancel or extend your trip because of coronavirus. Filter your quotes for the level of cover you want when you compare with us.

Insurance providers offer different limits and cover levels, so check these before committing to a policy.

What doesn’t travel insurance to Canada cover?

While the best travel insurance for Canada covers most unforeseen costs, there are exclusions to watch out for.

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – you must declare pre-existing conditions when applying for Canada travel insurance. If you don’t, your policy may be invalidated.
    If you compare travel insurance with us, we’ll only show you policies that cover your condition.
  • Extreme sports – the Canadian landscape lends itself to extreme sports like ski-jumping and mountaineering. But before you sign up to an adventure holiday, make sure your policy covers you, or arrange specialist insurance if you need it.
  • Alcohol and drugs – if you’re injured or have an accident under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s likely to invalidate your policy.
  • Natural disasters – many parts of Canada are prone to storm damage and flooding from snow melts. If extreme weather damages your belongings, some travel insurance policies might not pay out.
  • Terrorism – your policy may offer some cover, but check carefully.
  • Travelling against government advice – it’s unlikely that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office will warn you off going to Canada, but if they do and you travel anyway, your policy will be invalidated.
  • Travel to the USA – if you take a daytrip over the border, remember to extend your travel insurance. Medical bills in the USA are the highest in the world, so it’s vital to make sure you’re properly covered.

How to choose the best travel insurance for Canada

Consider what activities you’re planning to enjoy during your visit. With its mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests, Canada’s unspoiled wilderness is just waiting to be explored.

  • 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 covers 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 best skiing destinations – if you’re planning a holiday here, winter sports cover will mean 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). This lasts for five years, or until your passport expires, and costs C$7 to process. Apply at the Government of Canada website. Watch out for scam sites, which will charge you more.

You can find more details about Canada entry requirements at GOV.UK.

If you’re planning a longer trip to Canada, for example on an IEC visa, you’ll have to buy travel insurance as part of your visa requirements. If you’re on a working trip, you can buy two-year travel insurance for Canada if this suits your needs.

Travel tips for trips to Canada?

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 paying. It's worth considering a travel credit card, which usually offers better rates.

Language - most Canadians speak English, but 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

Don’t try to pack too much in. When you’re coming from the UK, it’s difficult to grasp just how big Canada is. To give you some idea, the Trans-Canada Highway is nearly 8,000 kilometres long.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get travel insurance for Canada if I’m pregnant?

Yes, you can get Canada travel insurance if you’re pregnant. Pregnancy isn’t considered a pre-existing condition, which means you shouldn’t need to pay more for your insurance. But each policy will have its own restrictions and exclusions, so read the small print carefully.  

 

Can seniors get travel insurance for Canada?

Yes – you should be eligible for travel insurance at any age. Some specialist insurance providers offer policies tailored to older travellers, so it’s worth shopping around and seeing what’s available.

What’s the difference between health insurance and travel insurance in Canada?

Travel insurance is there to cover emergency situations, such as if you fall ill or have an accident while you’re on holiday. Health insurance is there to cover day-to-day medical treatments and investigations, so is something you may have in your home country.

Compare travel insurance for Canada

At Comparethemarket, we can help you find and compare Canada travel insurance that suits your trip. Just start a quote and type ‘Canada’ when we ask where you’re going.

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