Vacationing in Canada? Check the weather before you go (this is Canada after all) and don’t forget your travel insurance. Yes, even for a trip within Canada. Whether you’re planning a spring break getaway or a summer vacation, many of us are choosing trips and vacations closer to home. We saw a lot of this during the pandemic and continue to as costs of travel increase and Canadian travel destinations become more popular.

Trip planning often involves consideration and research into travel insurance. For many, purchasing travel insurance for an international trip just makes sense. It’s a great reassurance to know that when you’re far away from home you’re covered for medical emergencies to avoid paying out-of-pocket. And it’s true - travel insurance for international trips is highly recommended for this reason. But a common question Canadians ask themselves when planning a vacation is “Do I need travel insurance within Canada?” In this blog, we’ll cover why travel insurance for trips within Canada is recommended and can actually save you big time (and no currency conversions necessary!).

How Provincial Health Care Works in Canada for Canadian Travellers

Provincial health care coverage is available for Canadians as long as they have a provincial health care card, but their care differs by province. If you want more information on what’s covered by provincial health care plans, check out this blog. It’s helpful to know how this coverage differs by province based on where you’re headed on your trip.

If you’re planning a trip within Canada, you might think that travel insurance isn’t necessary because of the way the Canada Health Act works. Provinces and territories have bilateral reciprocal billing agreements for hospital and primary care services. So, for example if you’re in need of hospital care in Ontario while on vacation, but are a resident of Alberta, you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket, and the Ontario hospital will accept your Alberta health care card.

However, there are instances where you may be faced with a health or medical care charge that isn’t covered by your provincial health care.

When you’re travelling  and you’re in need of a hospital stay, If , hospital services and/or primary care you may have to pay upfront for your care if the province or territory you’re visiting  doesn’t cover your specific care or treatment under their health care coverage.

When you get home, your home province or territory may reimburse you for this cost if it’s covered by your home province’s health care coverage plan.

But what if you need care while on your trip and it’s not covered by the host province’s health plan or your home province’s health coverage? This means you’ll be paying out of pocket and won’t be reimbursed, and these costs can add up. Taking a vacation is expensive enough these days, you don’t want to have to deal with unexpected medical costs too. No one needs that stress on vacation. The best way to avoid this scenario is getting travel insurance even for trips within Canada.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

You can plan for most aspects of your trip, but not everything. That’s where travel health insurance comes in, and as we’ve discussed so far, it can be incredibly useful even if your trip is within Canada.

Similar to how private health insurance fills gaps where provincial health plans don’t provide coverage, travel health insurance covers you for unexpected medical costs while you’re travelling, and this applies to trips within Canada too. Here are some examples of medical expenses that provinces don’t cover, but travel health insurance generally does:

  • Ambulance trips
  • Emergency dental work
  • Prescription drugs
  • And more!

We would hope you don’t find yourself in a situation on your Canadian vacation where you need any of the above, but unfortunately the unexpected does happen. So, when you’re booking your flights for your next getaway within our great country, don’t forget travel health insurance too. You won’t regret it!

Travel With Peace of Mind        

If you need help finding coverage, GMS offers TravelStar Emergency Medical Insurance, which includes multi-trip and single-trip plans, depending on how much travel you have planned. While you’re at it, consider if Trip Cancellation Insurance makes sense for you too. Then you can just sit back and look forward to that Canadian holiday!