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Do I Need Travel Coverage When Travelling Within Canada?

By: Benefits by Design | Wednesday June 21, 2017

Updated : Thursday July 15, 2021

If you want to stay safe and protect yourself and your family from potentially catastrophic expenses that could leave you financially at risk, then yes, absolutely you do.

Okay — that was pretty hardcore, but no less true. Let us explain!

Looking for COVID-19 Travel Insurance information, restrictions, and limitations? We’ve got you covered:

COVID-19 Travel Insurance: What Canadians Need to Know

Canada: The Perfect Destination Vacation for Canadians

The New York Times positioned Canada as the #1 place visit in 2017 alongside Lonely Planet magazine who also gave Canada the #1 spot. With such great destinations and some incredibly varied landscapes, it’s no wonder that Canadians are exploring their own country more and more.

The one thing that’s missing? Travel insurance.

Canadians do a lot of travelling, but many are doing so without the added protection of travel insurance. This is likely due to one big misconception about the Canadian healthcare system: it’ll take care of you anywhere in Canada.

Myth: “I don’t need travel coverage when travelling within Canada.”

If you’re a believer in this myth, we can’t blame you — it’s a very common misconception.

It’s often said that Canada has “free healthcare.” While this is true, there are many important caveats to that healthcare coverage that prove that travel insurance still has value, even if you’re not leaving the country.

The most important of which is the fact that your healthcare is provided through your Provincial health care plan, rather than any sort of federal program that applies to all Canadians equally (that’s what a “national pharmacare” solution might look like).

Provincial Coverage Varies

Provincial health plans vary and so do some of the things that they cover. In the event of an accident you’re returning home via air ambulance, your province might not be picking up that $25,000+ tab.

In 2015, an Alberta mother was stuck with a near $30,000 bill for an emergency air ambulance flight after she went into labour prematurely while visiting family out of province.

Depending on the province you reside in and the province you’re travelling to, the risk you’re exposing yourself to will vary. However, no matter which province you’re from and which one you travel to, there is likely possibility that there is a gap in coverage.

Check Your Travel Coverage

The first thing to do will be to confirm your Provincial and Territorial health coverage via the Government of Canada website.

If you have an employee benefits plan provided by your employer, it’s possible that you may already have some measure of travel insurance.

If you aren’t a part of an employee benefits plan and are travelling (or you’ve confirmed your employee benefits plan doesn’t cover you), individual travel insurance is available on a per-trip basis — perfect for your vacation!

No matter where you’re going or when, travel coverage should be something you take a good, long look at.

Learn more about common travel insurance myths!

4 Common Objections Around Group Travel Insurance