Travel and Visitors Insurance can get quite confusing. To help you with your selection – here are the 5 most common insurance problems in Canada.
1 Mind the coverage gap
When you immigrate or return to Canada after a long absence- there is most likely going to be a waiting period before your provincial insurance kicks in. We put together a guide on how long your waiting period is going to be – so check it out before you arrive to Canada and set up your insurance accordingly.
2 Moving within Canada
Thinking of changing provinces? You might want to look into private insurance plans to supplement your original plan during the waiting period. Provinces usually have agreements in place that provide you with temporary coverage before the plan of your new province kicks in. There are a few issues though. First of all it’s not direct billing meaning you will most likely have to pay out of pocket first and then wait to get reimbursed. In addition to the amount of paperwork involved in submitting a claim, it takes quite a while to actually receive the money- usually several months.
In addition- your previous province will most likely not cover the full cost of your treatment, but only a portion of it. According to internal guidelines they agree to cover the absolute minimum according to their own provincial standards. Your new province will have different standards and may charge you a lot more leaving you to have to cover the difference.
To protect yourself you can purchase private insurance from a Canadian company- it will help you claim faster and easier and will cover any shortfall that your previous province didn’t. Use the insurance calculator to find the suitable quote.
3 Travelling abroad
Thinking of leaving Canada for a while? Whether it’s a long term travel or study abroad – consult with your provincial plan to try to extend the coverage for the majority of your absence. Keep in mind that travel insurance that you buy is usually only an addition to the provincial plan and your travel coverage can become void without it. If your provincial coverage ended – take a look at the international insurance options that don’t need you to have provincial coverage in place.
For travel outside of Canada – visit our Travel Insurance Page.
If you are thinking of staying outside Canada for a long time- you might want to look into International Travel Medical Insurance. It’s not going to be backed up by your provincial plan so it might cost a bit more – but the coverage is quite comprehensive.
4 Review the policy wording
Make sure you read the policy wording before you buy a plan. Most insurance plans contain similar provisions but if you have unique circumstances it’s better to take a closer look. Let’s say you have a medical conditions- some companies may exclude that condition from your coverage. Sometimes your condition will make you ineligible to buy a plan at all! In any case there will be a requirement for a condition to be stable before the insurance companies will agree to cover it. So if you are eligible for a plan – make sure that you meet the stability criteria – usually ranging from 4 to 6 months prior to arrival. Review the definition of stable with your insurance advisor- different companies have different definitions and guidelines.
If you are into sports- make sure the policy covers the exact activity you want to be doing. Find out the exclusions in your policy. Recreational sports is usually included in all plans as long as it’s not professional (when you get paid to participate), or extreme.
5 Keep the insurance company in the loop
If you need to claim – notify the claim centre as soon as possible. The insurance company needs to know what’s going on so it’s your responsibility to give them a call and inform them of the situation. If the insured person requires urgent medical care you can delay your call to the claims centre until the emergency passes. But all other situations you should contact them and start the claim to make sure it’s properly processes and you are fully reimbursed for your eligible medical expenses.
Failure to contact the insurance company in a timely manner may result in your claim only being partially reimbursed if at all.