Do I need travel insurance when visiting Canada?

Updated: Nov 15, 2023 | Tags: Travel Insurance

Canada is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes, bustling cities, and a rich cultural heritage. Whether you're planning a leisurely vacation, a business trip, or visiting friends and family, it's essential to consider travel insurance when visiting Canada. Depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit, you may enter Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the importance of travel insurance and the factors to consider when visiting Canada with an eTA or a visa.

Understanding eTA and Visa for Canada

Before delving into the specifics of travel insurance, it's crucial to understand the difference between an eTA and a visa when entering Canada.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

An eTA is an entry requirement for travelers from visa-exempt countries. It is an electronic document linked to your passport and allows you to board a flight to Canada. An eTA is typically valid for up to five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Visitors with an eTA can stay in Canada for up to six months per visit for tourism, business, or family visits.


A visa is a stamp or label in your passport that allows you to enter and stay in Canada for a specified period. Some travelers from countries that are not visa-exempt for Canada, such as India, China, and many African nations, must obtain a visa to visit Canada. The type and duration of the visa depend on the purpose of your visit, such as a tourist visa, student visa, or work visa.

The Importance of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a critical aspect of any international trip, including visits to Canada. It provides financial protection and peace of mind in case unexpected events disrupt your plans. Here are some key reasons why you should consider travel insurance when visiting Canada:

Medical Coverage

Canada has an excellent healthcare system, but medical expenses can be high for non-residents. Travel insurance typically covers emergency medical expenses, including hospitalization, doctor's fees, and prescription medications.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Life is unpredictable, and unexpected events such as illness, accidents, or family emergencies can force you to cancel or cut short your trip. Travel insurance can reimburse you for non-refundable expenses like airfare, accommodations, and tour bookings.

Baggage and Personal Belongings

Losing your luggage or having personal items stolen can be distressing. Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and personal belongings.

Flight Delays and Missed Connections

Flight delays and missed connections can disrupt your travel plans. Travel insurance can compensate you for additional expenses incurred due to such disruptions.

Emergency Evacuation

In extreme cases, if you need to be evacuated for medical treatment or other emergencies, travel insurance can cover the costs.

Peace of Mind

Travel insurance offers peace of mind knowing that you have financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Travel Insurance

Selecting the right travel insurance for your visit to Canada involves careful consideration of various factors. Here's what to keep in mind:

Coverage Type

Determine the type of coverage you need. Options include medical, trip cancellation, baggage, and comprehensive coverage that combines multiple types of protection.

Coverage Limits

Check the coverage limits to ensure they meet your needs. High medical coverage is especially important, given the potential costs of healthcare in Canada.


Understand the deductible (the amount you must pay before the insurance kicks in). A higher deductible can result in lower premiums but may require you to pay more in case of a claim.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have pre-existing medical conditions, make sure your travel insurance covers them. Some policies may exclude pre-existing conditions.

Length of Stay

Consider the duration of your visit. Ensure your insurance covers your entire stay, especially if you plan to extend your trip.

Activities and Adventures

If you plan to engage in specific activities or adventures like skiing or extreme sports, check if your insurance covers these activities.

Exclusions and Limitations

Read the policy carefully to understand any exclusions or limitations. Common exclusions include acts of terrorism, risky behaviors, or travel to high-risk countries.

Cost and Premiums

Compare the costs and premiums of different insurance providers to find the best value for your coverage needs.

eTA Holders and Travel Insurance

If you are visiting Canada with an eTA, you are not required by law to have travel insurance. However, it's highly recommended. The Canadian government advises travelers to get the best travel insurance you can afford. Here are some additional considerations for eTA holders:

Health Care in Canada

While eTA holders are not obligated to have travel insurance, it's important to be aware of the potential costs of medical treatment in Canada. A medical emergency without insurance can result in substantial expenses.

eTA Expiry Complications

If your eTA expires while you are in Canada, you may need to leave the country to apply for a new eTA. Having travel insurance may help cover unexpected expenses related to this complication.

Personal Circumstances

Evaluate your personal circumstances, health, and travel plans when deciding whether to purchase travel insurance as an eTA holder.

Visa Holders and Travel Insurance

Visa holders visiting Canada are often required to have valid travel insurance as part of their visa application. Here's what visa holders should keep in mind:

Visa Requirements

Check the specific visa requirements for your visit. Some visas may have mandatory insurance requirements.

Proof of Insurance

You may need to provide proof of travel insurance as part of your visa application. Ensure your insurance coverage meets the visa requirements.

Visa Duration

Make sure your insurance coverage aligns with the duration of your visa. It should cover your entire stay in Canada as specified in your visa.


Non-compliance with insurance requirements can result in visa rejection or difficulties at the Canadian border.


Travel insurance is an essential component of a hassle-free and safe trip to Canada, whether you are entering with an eTA or a visa. It offers financial protection and peace of mind in case of unexpected events, including medical emergencies, trip disruptions, or loss of belongings. When choosing travel insurance, carefully consider your coverage needs, policy limits, and any visa requirements. Ultimately, investing in travel insurance is a wise decision that ensures you can enjoy your Canadian adventure with confidence, knowing you're protected against unforeseen circumstances.