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Best Travel Insurance for Canadians

Best Travel Insurance for Canadians

One of the items that is often overlooked when travelling is insurance. After all, when you’re planning a trip, there are no shortage of items on the to-do list: Flights and hotel bookings, car rentals, planning activities, and packing bags. It gets even more confusing if you’re planning a trip for an entire family. But if you’re not travelling with the proper insurance coverage, you could find yourself in a situation that you’re not prepared to handle.

How Does Travel Insurance Work?

Travel insurance protects you from sudden expenses that arise from any number of unexpected events when you travel. This can include health and medical costs, trip cancellation, even lost or delayed luggage.

All Canadians should purchase travel insurance when they are travelling outside of the country, to ensure that you and anyone you’re travelling with are fully covered for any medical expenses that may arise.

COVID-19 and Travel Insurance

While the majority of international travel has come to a grinding halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a small number of Canadians who continue to travel, often out of necessity. One of the concerns with travelling during a pandemic, however, is the amount of coverage you would have if you happened to contract COVID-19 during your trip.

The Government of Canada strongly recommends all Canadians who are travelling to consult with their travel insurance provider in advance, to confirm the details of their coverage. Among other recommendations, they suggest the following:

  • Make sure you are covered for COVID-19 related medical expenses, including trip cancellation and interruption
  • Confirm whether you are covered for quarantine costs should you contract the virus during your trip
  • Make sure you are covered for extended stays, or that you have the option of extending your coverage during your trip
  • If possible, try to add “cancel for any reason” coverage to your policy.

The Best Travel Insurance In Canada

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to anoint a specific travel insurance policy with a “Best In Canada” title. That’s because everyone’s travel insurance needs are different. Your ideal coverage will depend on a variety of factors – your destination, mode of transportation, length of stay, your age, whether you are travelling alone or with your family, the types of activities you plan to undertake on your trip, the list goes on and on.

What I can tell you is that all of the travel insurance companies on this list are trusted by thousands of Canadians every year. Each one offers a standard travel insurance plan, with the option to purchase deluxe packages or add-ons for an extra cost.

Allianz Canada Insurance

Allianz Canada is headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, where over 800 employees provide end-to-end travel insurance products and services to Canadian customers. They pride themselves in being a truly global company, and their website boasts a global medical provider network 900,000 strong. Allianz travel insurance packages don’t just cover the big stuff, they look after the little things too. Pet return ensures that your pets will make it home should you have to return to Canada due to an emergency. There’s also an allowance for rental vehicle return, as well as meals and accommodation.

  • $5 million maximum coverage
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Strong global network of medical partners
  • Coverage for single and multiple trips abroad
  • Cover pet return, vehicle return, meals and accommodation

Blue Cross

Blue Cross may be the most familiar name on this list, as they’ve been around for over 70 years. In addition to international travel, Blue Cross will cover many of the expenses that your province’s healthcare plan may not when you’re travelling within Canada. They also offer up to $5 million dollars of coverage. What I like about Blue Cross, is that they customize their travel insurance plans to just about any demographic: snowbirds, families, students studying abroad, singles, frequent travellers, domestic travel, visitors to Canada, all of these groups have a Blue Cross plan designed just for them.

Blue Cross Features

  • $5 million maximum coverage
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Coverage of some pre-existing medical conditions
  • Customized plan for snowbirds

CAA Travel Insurance

The CAA name is synonymous with roadside assistance in Canada, but they are also a major provider of all sorts of insurance coverage, including travel insurance. Like Blue Cross, CAA offers up to $5 million dollars of emergency travel coverage. You don’t have to be a CAA member to apply, but if you are, you’ll be eligible for a premium discount of 10%. CAA’s travel insurance package plans combine emergency medical benefits with other travel coverage, such as trip cancellation & interruption, and lost or stolen baggage.

CAA Travel Insurance Features

  • $5 million maximum coverage
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • One-stop shop with insurance plans to cover your entire vacation
  • 10% premium discount available to CAA members
  • Single and multi-trip plans available

Kanetix Travel Insurance

Kanetix Insurance will connect you to a wide range of insurance products and services, including car & home, life & health, your pets, and your business. And yes, that includes travel insurance. Kanetix doesn’t sell insurance, they are an online aggregator. In other words, they display insurance packages from several providers to help you get the best rates online, in one place. In fact, this might be the best way to get started in your search for travel insurance.

Kanetix Features

  • Online travel insurance aggregator
  • Compare more than 50 travel insurance companies
  • $1MM + coverage available

Manulife CoverMe

One would expect a competitive travel insurance offering from one of Canada’s largest insurance companies, and with CoverMe, Manulife does not disappoint. Like Blue Cross, Manulife offers customized plans to fit almost any traveller, whether you’re travelling solo, with your family, are a snowbird, or you’re visiting Canada. Perhaps the best thing Manulife CoverMe has going for it, is TravelEase, a policy that covers a wide range of pre-existing medical conditions, providing they’ve been fully disclosed. Emergency medical benefits can range as high as $10 million.

Manulife CoverMe Features

  • $10 million maximum coverage
  • TravelEase policy covers a wide range of pre-existing conditions
  • Add coverage for extra days of travel
  • Coverage for Canadians at any age
  • No medical questions for those under age 60

TravelCuts Bon Voyage

TravelCuts Insurance could be considered the budget travel insurance coverage for Canadians, with rates as low as $1.36/day. At that price, there’s no excuse not to be insured when you travel. TravelCuts also offers discounts to full-time students and teachers under the age of 30. Their trip cancellation policy covers delayed flights, or an unexpected return home due to an illness in the family. According to their website, they are partnered with Allianz Global, also featured in our review.

TravelCuts Bon Voyage Features

  • Premiums as low as $1.36/day
  • Coverage available for ages 15 to 50
  • 24/7 emergency contact through Allianz Global Assistance
  • Discounts for full-time students and teachers under 30
  • Coverage for adventure and extreme sports while travelling

World Nomads Travel Insurance

World Nomads offers travel insurance that’s geared to adventure seekers travelling abroad. The list of activities covered by insurance include hiking, skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and more. And God forbid, in the unlikely event that you are impacted by a terrorist attack while travelling outside Canada, World Nomad will cover any hospitalization, out-patient medical care, and medical transportation home.

World Nomads Insurance Features

  • $5 million maximum coverage
  • Coverage available up to age 66
  • Long list of activity coverage is ideal for adventure seekers
  • Coverage for Canadians impacted by a terror attack abroad

Credit Card Travel Insurance

Before purchasing travel insurance through any one of the companies I’ve listed above, you may want to check your credit card. That’s because you may already be covered with travel medical insurance. Most travel credit cards in Canada now include a wide range of travel insurance protection, including emergency medical, trip cancellation and interruption, lost or stolen baggage etc.

Coverage varies between credit card companies, so you should always do your research and read the fine print. Here are a few of the top travel credit cards available in Canada, and a summary of the travel insurance benefits they offer:

BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

When you charge the full cost of your trip (flights/car rental) to the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard, you become eligible for the following 7 travel related insurance benefits:

Card features

  • Emergency travel medical insurance (trips up to 21 days)
  • Trip cancellation coverage
  • Trip interruption/trip delay protection
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Rental car collision/loss damage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Lost, delayed, or stole luggage insurance

Other features of this premium credit card include the ability to collect Air Miles Rewards and 2 annual private airport lounge passes via Mastercard Airport Experiences by Loungekey. The annual fee for this card is $120.

American Express Gold Rewards Card

American Express credit cards offer some of the best travel benefits of any card on the market, and the AMEX Gold Rewards card is no exception. The card includes 8 travel-related insurance benefits (listed below). If you consider how much it would cost to purchase the same coverage through an insurance company, this card is well worth the $150 annual fee.

Card Features

  • Emergency medical insurance
  • Trip interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage protection
  • Hotel burglary insurance
  • Travel accident insurance (up to $500,000)
  • Purchase protection

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

With the upcoming launch of the new Aeroplan program in November 2020, TD will be refreshing it’s lineup of Aeroplan affiliated credit cards. I think it’s a safe bet that you will see many of the same great travel benefits when the new cards arrive. For now, here’s what the current TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite ($120 fee) has to offer, in terms of travel insurance benefits:

Card Features

  • Travel emergency medical (up to 21 days)
  • Over 65 travel emergency medical (up to 4 days)
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption
  • Flight delay
  • Baggage delay
  • Lost or stolen baggage
  • Rental car theft and damage

What Is the Best Type of Travel Insurance to Buy?

When it comes to travel insurance, there is no single solution that’s perfect for everyone. My recommendation is to sign up for a travel rewards credit card. Not only will you get free travel insurance, but you’ll have the ability to earn travel rewards, which can end up saving you a lot of money.

But don’t stop there. Before your next trip, assess the coverage you have with the credit card, and determine whether you may need to top up your travel insurance coverage through a travel insurance company, like the ones on our list. Taking time to ensure you have the right insurance in place before you travel will provide you with much-needed peace of mind.

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