Travel insurance can kill a travel budget for anyone. We feel the pinch especially hard, since we’re buying travel insurance for a family of four.
When I searched high and low for Canadian travel insurance comparisons and reviews for our upcoming trip, I found absolutely nothing to help me compare prices and insurance for our personal travel insurance needs (other than Kanetix (now called RATESDOTCA). So I had to do hours of legwork to get the best prices and policies for our family, and I’ve shared them in this review.
2022 update! Maybe it’s because COVID-19 sent travel insurance prices into flux, but any prices we check in 2022 seem to vary significantly from 2021 or 2020 prices. We guess this price fluctuation may continue, but it’s hard to tell.
For six months of travel, for a family of four, we got quotes ranging from $418.51 to a whopping $2,461.92 for worldwide travel medical insurance, including the USA.
Because everyone’s needs are different, we can’t tell you what travel insurance is right for you, or that one travel insurance company or travel insurance policy is better than another.
On top of that, prices and policies can change almost overnight, so do your own research.
This travel insurance review just lists the results we got when searching for travel insurance for our own family’s needs, at one point in time. All prices are in Canadian dollars, although some companies cover people all around the world.
In our search, we found that insurance almost always meant medical travel insurance, which included a set amount of coverage (usually one to five million dollars per person for travel accidents and illness).
Tip! Read the terms and conditions of policy wording and description of coverage to decide if the policy you choose is right for you. Insurance policy wordings can be subject to change at any time, without prior notice.
Many travel insurance packages that we looked at included coverage for baggage, trip cancellation, trip interruption and even emergency dental. We chose to only buy what we personally needed, and I think we saved a lot of money.
TuGo Travel Insurance
TuGo (formerly called Travel Underwriters) is one of Canada’s biggest travel insurance companies, and they surprised us with one of the best rates for our family.
2021 update: Tugo now offers COVID-19 travel insurance coverage included as a benefit under their emergency medical coverage, but ONLY if you’re fully or partially vaccinated, or if you’re not eligible for a vaccine, due to age.
If you haven’t been vaccinated, for any reason other than your age, then the COVID-19 insurance ISN’T included as a benefit under their emergency medical insurance for you. If you fall into this category, you can buy COVID-19 Insurance, Unvaccinated as an add-on to your TuGo Emergency Medical Insurance Worldwide or Excluding USA plans.
There’s a fairly extensive list of eligibility requirements, and there’s an additional cost. To get the COVID-19 insurance, you need to also have a worldwide or worldwide excluding USA TuGo emergency medical policy in place for the full duration of the COVID-19 Insurance coverage.
Safety Wing is a (relative) new comer to the travel insurance space.
SafetyWing insurance specializes in expat travel health insurance (called Remote Health Insurance), and global travel medical insurance (called Nomad Insurance), which we think is a great option for longer term travelers.
There’s one huge catch for Safety Wing insurance, though, and it’s a big one for Canadians.
SafetyWing won’t sell Canadians travel insurance while you’re physically located in Canada. You can cross the border in any way and buy insurance immediately when you have left Canada.
However, it’s the perfect choice if you’ve already left Canada and forgot to buy travel insurance, or you want to buy better coverage.
SafetyWing Insurance is available to anyone from any home country in the world (unless your home country is Iran, Syria, North Korea or Cuba, or if you have Cuba as your citizenship).
The base price for insurance is $42 for four weeks of coverage, not including coverage in the USA. That’s for one person, aged 18-39 years, with a $250 deductible, and a $250 000 max limit.
A quote for one person for six months was $379.08 for six months, NOT including coverage in the USA.
For all four of us, the cost was $847.08 for six months, NOT including coverage in the USA.
A quote for one person for six months, which included coverage in the USA, was $705.12.
A quote for all four of us for six months, which included coverage in the USA, was $1,560.00.
$250,000 travel insurance
Emergency dental up to $1,000. Not subject to deductible.
Notable exclusions include high risk sports activity, pre-existing disease or injury, and cancer treatment
Trip interruption of up to $5,000
Emergency medical evacuation of up to $100,000 lifetime maximum
Nomad Insurance covers COVID-19 for new policies. Coverage works the same as any other illness as long as it was not contracted before your coverage start date, and does not fall under any other policy exclusion or limitation.
Testing for COVID-19 is only be covered if deemed medically necessary by a physician. The antibody test is not covered, as it is not medically necessary.
Nomad Insurance covers quarantine outside your home country of $50/day for up to 10 days (once within a 364-day period). The quarantine coverage requires that you’re covered by Nomad Insurance for a minimum of 28 days and you are outside your home country.
Your quarantine must be mandated by a physician or governmental authority, because you have either:
tested positive for COVID-19
or you are symptomatic and waiting for your test results.
RATESDOTCA (formerly Kanetix) is on online insurance quote consolidator. I’m a big fan, as I like that it lets me compare a number of travel insurance companies side by side, and they usually seem like a fairly good deal to me. They do all sorts of insurance, including home, auto, and tenant’s insurance.
TuGo for $937.80 six months for a family of four for $2 million in emergency medical insurance and no trip cancellation or interruption insurance, with a $300 deductible. A zero deductible raised that to $1,062.80.
Ingle International for $1,061.42 for six months for our family of four for $10 million in emergency medical insurance and no trip cancellation or interruption insurance, with a $250 deductible.
World Escapade $1,069.20 for six months for a family of four for $5 million in emergency medical insurance and no trip cancellation or interruption insurance, with a $250 deductible.
Allianz for $1,155.60 for six months for a family of four for with $10 million in emergency medical insurance and no trip cancellation or interruption insurance, and a $250 deductible.
GMS for $1,580.40 for six months for our family of four with $5 million in emergency medical insurance and no trip cancellation or interruption insurance, and a $250 deductible.
We signed up with TD Meloche Monnex: Wide Horizons Solution on our last six month trip though Costa Rica, Mexico, Florida and Texas. Although we didn’t have to make a claim, their customer service was extremely professional and patient when answering all of my questions about the quote.
$947.80 for six months, for a family of four. Since we have home insurance with Meloche, we get a good discount on the premium.
This is a great deal, as it includes a 60 day multi-trip plan that will let us take unlimited trips (of up to 60 days) anywhere in the world for $181.00/year per year. The additional four months of top up coverage cost us $766.80 (for a total of $947.80).
If we didn’t have home, tenants’ insurance, or auto insurance with Meloche , the cost for our initial 60 day multi-trip plan would be higher.
You’ll need to call Meloche to buy your policy. Meloche’s number is 1-866-566-1464.
$5 million emergency medical insurance, per person.
$100 deductible (most deductibles with other companies are 0). It was worth the higher deductible, given that the premium is so low. You can also choose a $250, $500 or $1,000 deductible.
Free international assistance, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Full refund available anytime during our trip, less a $20 fee.
Extensions are available while on our trip, but if there’s a claim on file, the extension must be verified by risk manager. You must also have valid provincial health coverage.
World-wide, including USA, but excludes countries with Government of Alberta or Canada travel warnings.
Trip cancellation up to $2,500 per person, maximum $5,000 per family for each annual period of coverage.
Trip interruption up to $5,000 per person, per covered trip.
No baggage or personal effects insurance.
If we purchase additional tickets/flights after leaving on trip, these are not eligible for trip cancellation/baggage insurance.
Many adventure activities are covered. There were some exceptions, including ultralight flights and paid sports activities, I believe, but they didn’t apply to us.
Like all the other policies we looked at, we were required to have valid provincial health insurance for the entire duration of our trip.
Merit Travelcuts Worldwide Travel Insurance
We used travelcuts Globetrotter insurance for our last trips to Asia and the Philippines. We ended up claiming a few days in a hospital in Thailand, and travelcuts was great to us.
If we’d been a single traveller on this trip, then travelcuts would probably have been our first choice for insurance. With a whopping 547 days for a maximum policy length, travelcuts is a well worth looking at if you’re planning a longer trip.
Anyone over 50 years old cannot get this policy.
travelcuts has several plans, but we were interested only in the Emergency Medical Plan D. This plan does not include trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance.
$1,641.60 for six months, for a family of four. Like pretty much all of the other companies, our quote has increased quite a bit from when I first got a quote in 2012, when the quote was $916.00.
1 million emergency medical insurance per person.
You must have valid government health insurance plan for the entire duration of your trip.
travelcuts insurance only covers travellers under age 50, and over 15 days old.
You may be able to get an extension on your trip, but you must call travelcuts to apply for the extension, and have a provincial health plan is in effect for the full length of your travel period.
You may get a full refund if you cancel within 10 days of buying your policy, or if you can prove your trip was cancelled before you leave on your trip. See your specific policy for details.
Costs and benefits may be different for residents of Quebec.
travelcuts worldwide insurance was formerly known as Travel CUTS Bon Voyage insurance.
Always check your individual policy – coverage and limits can change without notice.
itravel2000 is one of my favorite sites to search for cheap all-inclusive last minute getaways and hotel rooms, so I thought I’d check out their travel insurance. Wow. Pretty darn expensive, and the last quote I got was back before 2018.
A gulp-inducing $3,075.00 for six months for an all inclusive plan for family of four, including trip cancellation and interruption.
$1,573.20 for a global under age 60 plan, with $5 million in emergency medical benefits only, with no trip cancellation or interruption.
BMO travel insurance is one of Canada’s biggest names in travel insurance, so I thought I’d try them out.
$1,532.18 for six months insurance for a family of four.
$5,000,000 medical liability.
A refund is available 10 days after purchase, but not after leaving on a trip, and you need to meet other conditions.
Coverage can be extended after leaving, but there cannot be an open claim. You can extend for a total of 183 days (212 days if you reside in BritishColumbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia or Ontario).
Trip cancellation $0 per person.
Trip interruption $2,000 per person.
ScotiaGold Passport® VISA
The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite Card has travel insurance perks.
There’s Travel Emergency Medical Insurance for eligible persons under age 65 (up to 25 consecutive days) and for eligible persons age 65 and older (up to 10 consecutive days).
What we think is cool about this card is that it’s one of the few Canadian credit cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee. It also has a travel rewards program, with Scotia Rewards points – right now there’s a signup bonus of 30,000 Scotia Rewards points (plus an additional 10,000 available if you spend at least $40,000 in everyday eligible purchases annually). That’s a total of 40,000 bonus points!
Annual fee: $139.00
Up to $1 million in emergency medical travel insurance
Up to $2,500 trip cancellation/interruption
Flight delay, delayed and lost baggage, travel accident, and rental car collision loss/damage insurance.
For trips of 60 days or less, you may already have coverage through a credit card with medical travel insurance perks. These often offer trip cancellation and interruption, along with baggage insurance. For Canada travel insurance, the cards we looked at were Scotiabank and BMO.
Note: If you decide to use only your credit cards built in travel insurance, make sure that you’re covered for the duration of your trip (you can often extend coverage for an additional fee) and that you qualify since some cards that include travel insurance have specific riders that might not cover you if you fall outside of their policies parameters.
Baggage coverage and personal effects coverage
Baggage coverage insures your bags while in transit (in airplanes, though this may extend to buses and taxis).
Personal effects coverage covers your belongings anywhere, on any portion of your trip. This sounds nice in theory, but I found that most policies had some serious exclusions. They would only cover losses with a police report (makes sense, but a police report can be pretty damn hard to get in a lot of countries). On top of that, most policies would not insure belongings that were unattended. That means that if your wallet is stolen from your beach chair while you’re body surfing, you’re out of luck. No coverage.
Even more important, most policies wouldn’t cover loss or theft of computers, cameras, or cell phones, or jewelry. Seriously. The only expensive things that most people travel with aren’t covered.
Here’s a little trick, though. If you have insurance on your home or tenant’s insurance, then your belongings might be covered on your trip. Usually there’s a limit (around 10% of the total coverage on your original policy), and your deductible applies to any claims while travelling.
Trip cancellation and interruption generally only cover the portion of your trip that you buy before you leave. Not especially useful for us, since we’re only buying a one-way ticket to Mexico before we leave, and the rest of our tickets will be bought once out of Canada. Not having a set itinerary means that we’ll buy onward legs (by plane, train, car, taxi, water taxi, ferry, cruise liner, or bus) as we need them. I couldn’t find a single travel insurance policy that would cover purchase of additional legs once we left home. Trust me, I tried. And tried.
A lot of Canada travel insurance reviews don’t mention this, but it’s important: If you’re gone for more than six months, ensure you get a written extension from your provincial health care plan (this applies only to Canadians).
Checklist for travel insurance:
What is the amount of liability you cover?
Is trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance covered?
Is there a refund available for unused amount?
What is the deductible?
Do you offer a medical service assist, e.g., can you help me find a doctor or hospital?
Is the policy good worldwide, including the USA?
Can I top up my insurance once I’ve left on my trip?
Can I buy my initial insurance after I’ve left on my trip?