There are no requirements for US citizens to have travel insurance coverage as a condition of entry to Canada. However, most Canadian hospitals do not accept US health insurance or Medicare. Travel insurance can help cover unexpected health care costs while traveling to Canada, along with unexpected trip cancellations.
Whether you’re mountain biking in Quebec or enjoying winter sports in Alberta, adventure activities are popular on Canadian vacations. Travel insurance includes emergency medical coverage for injuries or accidents, including up-front medical costs. Some tour companies may require travelers to have medical insurance to participate.
Cancel for Any Reason Coverage
Standard travel insurance includes trip interruption coverage to recover costs in the case of an unexpected cancellation or delay. But policies limit cancellation coverage for predetermined reasons, such as the death of family members, hospitalization or other emergency circumstances.
With cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage, canceling a trip is at your discretion. For example, say you booked a flight and hotel to attend an event hosted by a Canadian resident, friend or family member. If the host cancels the event, CFAR coverage allows you to claim compensation for prepaid and non-refundable costs (like your flight).
Most travel insurance providers offer CFAR coverage as an add-on to your standard policy, and it’s subject to rules that vary by plan. You typically have to purchase CFAR coverage within a set number of days from booking your trip, and claim eligibility may depend on limits such as canceling within 48 hours of your departure date.
Gear Theft Protection
For all-inclusive vacations that include ski resorts in Whistler or wildlife photography journeys in Banff National Park, many travelers choose to bring equipment to Canada. For a Canadian trip, you may wish to take the following gear:
- Professional camera equipment
- Sports equipment including snowboards
- Personal entertainment gadgets
A trip insurance policy with gear theft protection can guard against financial loss if you are traveling with valuables. If items are lost, damaged or stolen during flights or on tours, travel insurance can help you recover the costs. Your specific policy will include predetermined coverage limits, exclusions and deductibles, but you may choose to leave valuable items at home that you deem irreplaceable.
Medical Emergency Insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation
Canada provides world-class hospitals and top-ranked health care in the event of a medical emergency. However, US government health insurance plans do not pay for hospital costs, medical expenses or prescription drugs for visitors to Canada. But if you have private insurance, you can check with your provider to see if you have coverage while abroad.
Travel insurance or a travel medical plan can provide coverage if you need emergency assistance or have a pre-existing medical condition. Typically, travel insurance for medical emergencies covers a variety of expenses, including:
- Hospital fees
- Operating room charges and anesthesia
- Ambulance rides
- Emergency dental work
- Lab tests and X-rays
Most travel insurance plans include emergency medical evacuation and repatriation if you can’t receive health care locally. This covers the cost of an evacuation to your home country or a major Canadian hospital.
Rental Car Protection
Canada requires and includes fire and third-party liability insurance with all rental vehicles. Liability insurance covers damage or injury to people or property outside the rental car from your effective contract date. It’s also mandatory to have collision and theft insurance.
Optional coverage is available to further reduce your risks while driving in Canada. Depending on the car rental company, you can purchase local car insurance to cover the following:
- Personal effects protection
- Personal accident insurance
- Tire and windshield protection
- Roadside protection
Travel insurance plans offer an additional safeguard you can combine with rental car insurance. While some companies include rental car coverage in comprehensive plans, other providers may offer coverage as a policy add-on. This coverage can help you recover the costs if the rental car is damaged.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Should you need to cancel your Canadian vacation before departure, trip cancellation insurance offers refunds for non-refundable and prepaid costs. While this helps prevent financial loss, travel insurance policies include limits on eligible reasons to cancel. Most standard policies state the following reasons as applicable:
- Hospitalization, serious injury or illness
- Death of family members or traveling companions
- Domestic or international acts of terrorism
- Severe weather conditions, excluding some natural disasters
- Jury duty or military orders
If you prefer the peace of mind of canceling for any reason, opt for CFAR insurance.