Travel Medical Insurance for Canada. Do you need it? (2024)

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Do foreign visitors need travel medical insurance for Canada?

If you get sick or get involved in an accident while travelling in Canada, Canadian government does not pay the hospital or medical services for visitors. You have to pay any medical attention out of your own pocket.

When you purchase travel medical insurance ahead of your visit to Canada, the insurance company will pay or reimburse your medical expenses.

As medical care can get expensive, I recommend any visitor to Canada to get coverage for the time you spend out of country.

On this page:

Medical care fees

How medical travel insurance works

Visiting a physician

What to look for when buying travel health insurance

Do Canadian residents need medical travel insurance when visiting another province within Canada?

Medical care fees

Hospital and medical centre rates vary per location. Insured residents pay less for medical attention than foreign visitors to Canada do.

Unless you’re able to put $50,000 down - right out of your pocket - you should get travel health insurance to cover any medical costs while visiting Canada.

Examination by a doctor

As a visitor to Canada you pay anywhere from $100 up to $600 to see a doctor during daytime.
This fee excludes any treatment and medication.
At night, the costs might double.

Hospital stay

If you have to stay in hospital, the average day rate for non-residents is $3,000 - $4,000.
Intensive care can be up to $8,500 a day!


Ambulance fees vary upon the province and whether you are a foreign visitor or a Canadian resident.

As a foreign visitor to Ontario you pay $240 to get transferred to hospital, while in Nova Scotia they charge $1099 for the same service.

These examples are ambulance fees only!
The doctor's fees are not included, nor any medication.

These fees also vary strongly per hospital, municipality and province; they can easily pile up to thousands of dollars $$$...

Travel Medical Insurance for Canada. Do you need it? (1)persons without a valid BC Care Card pay $530 for an ambulance within British Columbia

How travel medical insurance in Canada works

As a foreign visitor to Canada, you can visit any doctor or hospital, as long as you pay the bill.

Relatively small amounts, you pay upon your visit. After you returned home, send the medical bill to your insurance company. If you purchased travel health insurance ahead of your travel to Canada, they will reimburse you.

If you need intensive medical attention, you have to contact your insurance company a.s.a.p.
They’ll take care of the financial aspects without you having to worry about it.

Visiting a physician as a foreign visitor to Canada

When visiting a physician:

  1. Always try to make an appointment ahead.
  2. Bring your
    • ID
    • credit card, debit card or cash
    • travel health insurance policy.
  3. Ask for official proof of your medical exam or treatment including
    • date,
    • name of the medical centre or hospital,
    • medical treatment,
    • prescribed medication,
    • doctor’s name and autograph,
    • fee you had to pay, and
    • a copy for your own administration.

Anything can happen...knock on wood

There doesn’t need to be an accident to visit a doctor. Anything can happen when travelling.

While tour guiding I had to see several doctors with a few of my clients. Luckily, they all could continue the tour, and best of all, the guests had purchased travel medical insurance for Canada.

Some of my clients had to see a doctor for the following issues: Someone had
- slipped off a boardwalk (result: internal bleeding within the leg)
- a serious bladder infection
- a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting
- a severe allergic reaction to a motion sickness patch
- a prolonged period of nausea and thin stool
- a toothache
- a twisted ankle
- signs of thrombosis

These are a few examples of what can ‘just’ happen to you when travelling in Canada.

What to look for when buying travel health insurance

Most insurance companies in your home country offer travel medical insurance for Canada.
Your personal health plan most likely offers optional medical travel insurance. So does your bank and car insurance company.

Ask for a few quotes and compare these.


Choose the deductible; the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company will pay any expenses.
The higher the deductible amount is, the lower the premium. Keep in mind what you can afford to pay if something major does happen.

Check the policy

Some insurance companies only cover the expenses that you would have to pay for the same treatment at your home country. Make sure you check this as Canadian medical services can be more expensive than you would pay at home.


Always check for ‘exclusions’ from the policy. For example, most insurers don’t pay for treatment of pre-existing conditions while travelling.

High-risk sports

Check with the insurance company’s policy if you’re covered for any high-risk sport. Most high-risk sports such as mountain sports, water sports, and sky sports are NOT standard insured. You can buy extra coverage for this.

Some activities that are not standard covered include scuba diving, bungee jumping, kayaking, mountain biking, climbing, snowmobiling, white water rafting, wind surfing, zip lining, and paragliding and more.

Do Canadian residents need medical travel insurance when visiting another province within Canada?

Your provincial insurance only covers costs up to the amount it would cost in your province of origin.

Ambulances are NOT covered.

Therefore, it’s wise to get additional travel medical insurance within Canada when travelling outside your province of origin.

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Travel Medical Insurance for Canada. Do you need it? (2024)


Does my US health insurance cover me in Canada? ›

However, U.S. 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.

Do I need medical insurance to travel to Canada? ›

Medical care fees

Unless you're able to put $50,000 down - right out of your pocket - you should get travel health insurance to cover any medical costs while visiting Canada.

How much medical travel insurance is enough? ›

How much travel medical insurance do you need? Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, recommends buying at least $50,000 in emergency medical coverage for international travel. For travelers going on a cruise or to a remote destination, the site recommends at least $100,000 in coverage.

Do I need extra health insurance to travel within Canada? ›

Not all Medical Expenses are Covered by OHIP

The fact is provincial health insurance plans will only cover some medical expenses. Therefore, you should always protect yourself by purchasing medical insurance when travelling within Canada.

What happens if an American gets sick in Canada? ›

If during your visit to Canada you get sick or injured, the Canadian government won't pay for any hospitalization or emergency medical services for visitors. Also, if you don't have proper medical insurance coverage, you will be liable to pay for any medical service out of your own pocket.

Does Canada accept American Medicare? ›

In general, Medicare only covers recipients while in the United States. This means that if you have Medicare and you travel to Canada, your healthcare costs will not be covered, even if the services or medications provided would normally be covered in the United States.

Do Americans get free healthcare in Canada? ›

Canada is home to some of the world's best hospitals. These hospitals are almost always nonprofits, but this does not mean they provide their services for free! Expats who do not have international insurance will have to pay for hospital care themselves. There are private for-profit facilities in Canada.

Does Medicare cover you while traveling in Canada? ›

In most situations, Medicare won't pay for health care or supplies you get outside the U.S. The term “outside the U.S.” means anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Can I see a doctor in Canada as an American? ›

To see a doctor as a non-Canadian, all you need to do is go to your desired office or a walk in clinic otherwise called urgent care. Depending on the location, you will have to pay out of pocket-usually in case- for any consultation.

How much travel insurance do I need for Canada? ›

All Manulife CoverMe® Travel Insurance for Visitors to Canada plans fulfill the super visa travel insurance requirement as long as you have the minimum coverage amount of $100K and are covered for 365 days from the day you arrive.

Is 100000 medical travel insurance enough? ›

Every plan is different, but the coverage amounts and benefits may vary. Determine how much you really need. For example, SquareMouth recommends international travelers get around $50,000 in Emergency Medical coverage and $100,000 for cruises or travel to remote areas.

Is 250000 enough for medical travel insurance? ›

If you read any of our other articles, you'll remember that we always offer a simple recommendation for Medical Insurance. Overseas travelers should have these minimum levels of protection: Medical Insurance Coverage - $100,000. Medical Evacuation Coverage - $250,000.

Is travel insurance the same as health insurance Canada? ›

While it's not technically health insurance, most travel insurance offers some coverage for medical emergencies. This cannot be used for routine care or any medical treatment related to a pre-existing condition.

Why is travel insurance to Canada so expensive? ›

Unlike India and other European countries, the countries such as the US and Canada do not have a nationally regulated medical body. They do not have a government hospital in each city. Thus, private hospitalisation, consultation, and care procedures in US and Canada are costly.

Can you use travel insurance instead of health insurance? ›

Travel medical insurance is different from your health insurance because travel medical insurance is a supplemental policy that helps protect you while you're traveling. It's only valid for the length of your trip and is meant to supplement your health insurance when you're out of network.

Can US citizens go to Canada for free healthcare? ›

Do tourists get free healthcare in Canada? No. However, it is possible for non-residents to get emergency healthcare coverage while in Canada (but it won't cover non-emergency expenses). This is highly recommended no matter whether you're visiting the country for one week or multiple months.

Does an American get free healthcare in Canada? ›

Non-citizens such as temporary legal visitors and undocumented immigrants are not entitled to Medicare but provinces and territories may provide limited emergency services to these populations since medical care can't be refused in an emergency.

Can I use my US health insurance in another country? ›

Before you go, consider your insurance options.

U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs overseas. Private U.S. insurance policies also might not cover any or all expenses. Check with your insurance before traveling to see if it provides coverage overseas.

Can a US citizen see a doctor in Canada? ›

Yes, an American can visit a Canadian doctor when visiting Canada for treatment purposes, even if they don't have health insurance. However, it's important to note that the cost of medical treatment in Canada may be significantly higher for non-residents and non-citizens than for residents and citizens.

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