In this post, we cover the best travel insurance for Canada – IEC Working Holiday Insurance.
After you receive your POE (point of entry) letter, it’s time to find the best travel insurance for Canada.
Having spent two years on our own IEC visa in Canada, we decided to share our travel insurance recommendations so you can pick the best option for you.
There are a lot of companies out there which can make things quite hard when choosing the appropriate travel insurance for your Working Holiday Visa in Canada.
Depending on the country you are from, your IEC visa might be approved for one or two years.
For example, Steve has received a two-year work permit with an Irish passport.
Sabina, with a Polish passport, was able to receive a work permit valid for one year only.
But thankfully, I have dual citizenship and got approved for a second IEC visa with my other passport.
Otherwise, I was unable to stay for two years with Steve in Canada.
The International Experience Canada website states the following requirements:
For IEC working holiday visa in Canada, you must have health insurance for the entire time you are in Canada.
Therefore, we both needed 24-month insurance for Canada.
If we were to get travel insurance for Canada for any shorter period than our intended stay, we would have received a work permit only valid until our insurance is.
This rule applies to everyone.
It is very important to get the appropriate travel insurance for Canada.
If you get asked at the border for proof of your travel insurance, make sure that it is valid for the entire duration of your intended stay.
Many people get only 6 months or one-year insurance and receive shortened work permits.
When choosing the best travel insurance for your IEC visa in Canada, make sure that it also covers all the government requirements.
As per the IEC rules, health insurance must cover you for the following:
- medical care
- hospitalisation and
- repatriation (returning you to your country in the event of severe illness, injury or death).
If you go to Canada without appropriate IEC travel insurance, your work permit might be shortened and/or you might be refused one entirely.
A note from the government website:
“We recommend you buy this insurance only after you receive your port of entry (POE) letter of introduction.
We can’t recommend specific insurance companies or plans, but you can search online for something that meets your needs.
You may be refused entry if you don’t have insurance.
If your insurance policy is valid for less time than your expected stay in Canada, your work permit may expire at the same time as your insurance.”
Provincial Canadian healthcare or medical cover from your employment typically does not cover repatriation costs.
After you land your dream job, it takes time to get enrolled in the healthcare system and there’s usually a cool-off period.
Therefore you need to get separate 2-year travel insurance for Canada.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you be fine without one.
We personally know a few people who decided to get the most basic insurance and ended up in a hospital with a broken bone and a huge medical bill to take care of.
Many companies have policies built especially for the IEC visa, but it is essential to find the best travel insurance for Canada suitable for you.
We had to do our research based on several criteria and important inclusions.
What is the best IEC travel insurance?
Depending on where you are travelling from and what you want to do in Canada, there will be certain criteria you might be looking for.
Based on all the important factors, we have found these companies to have the best travel insurance for Canada:
- True Traveller (for Europe and UK residents)
- Fast Cover insurance (for Australian residents)
- BestQuote Travel Insurance (for all nationalities, pre or post-departure)
There are a lot of companies on the market, but based on our own experience and friends’ recommendations, these are the best companies to go with.
When choosing your coverage there are a few important questions you need to ask the insurance company before buying your 24-month travel insurance for Canada.
Let’s face it 24 months is a LONG time, and you don’t want to pick the wrong company!
Buying the best travel insurance for Canada
Along with the Canadian government rules, there are a few different things you might want to consider when choosing your insurance.
To put it simply, these are the most common things you want to check before buying IEC travel insurance:
- What is the level of my coverage?
If you are planning to hit the slopes, or go hiking or kayaking, make sure that your insurance covers you. Most insurance companies will have an additional premium for covering you for extra activities. Who knew that cage shark diving isn’t included in the basic cover!?
- Am I covered for trips outside of Canada?
Travelling to the US, Central America, or any location outside of Canada might not be covered by some companies. If you are planning to explore the world, check if the places you are heading to while in Canada are covered. BestQuote has options to include trips outside of Canada to the USA, Mexico or elsewhere.
- What is your policy if you wish to take a trip back home for a holiday?
Some insurers have a limit on trips to your home country, others only allow a couple, and some enable unlimited trips back and forth. Whether you plan to stay in Canada or visit home regularly, find out how your insurer covers you for home visits.
True Traveller, for example, allows you to go home as many times as you like!
- Is there any excess?
You need to know how much you have to put out of your pocket to make a claim. The best coverages are no excess ones- but usually, you will have to pay a bit more for these.
- Are your items and luggage covered?
It is critical for the company to cover you in case of luggage delay, bags lost by the carrier in transit (it happens!), stolen luggage, stolen passports etc.
- Are you covered for activities like winter sports?
While we didn’t plan on snowboarding when we first landed in Vancouver, we were glad we opted for the additional cover when we decided to try snowboarding. We ended up doing a whole winter season in Whistler, and we were completely covered by True Traveller! You might also want to hike the Rocky Mountains, so make sure to get the right cover.
- Whether the policy can be started abroad if you are already travelling elsewhere.
Most insurers are limited to only covering those who haven’t left home yet.
- How do I contact the insurance company in case of an emergency in Canada and abroad?
Save the phone number on our phone as soon as you purchase your coverage.
So what are the best two year IEC travel insurance options and why?
Before you get overwhelmed with contacting every travel insurance company asking the above questions, we have done the hard work for you.
Not only have we used these companies personally but in our IEC Facebook group.
If you prefer to do your own research, remember that buying the cheapest travel insurance for Canada usually isn’t a good idea.
Cheap insurance will have a lot of coverage limits, and keep in mind this is the next two years of your life!
The best travel insurance options for Canada
True Traveller – Available for EU citizens (including the UK)
These guys have been incredible, and we have continued to use them as we travel around the world. They not only offer you unlimited trips home but fantastic coverage.
Travel insurance policies with True Traveller are available for up to 24 months which covers you for the entire duration of your visa!
Winter sports coverage is available, and there are no minimum residency requirements.
You can claim while you’re still in Canada, as there is no need to wait to return home.
True Traveller covers you for over 92 activities on their standard cover.
These include bungee jumping, horse riding, safari touring, scuba diving to 18 meters and lots more activities you may end up doing on your trip.
For those extreme travellers out there, you can easily add more options at very reasonable prices.
We both used them for our 2-year IEC travel insurance and always recommended them to others.
We found True Traveller, the best and cheapest IEC insurance for Canada from Europe.
Get a quote here for your IEC travel insurance.
Fast Cover – Available for Australians
Our family, friends and many other people we met who have come from Australia went with Fast Cover.
They offer initial cover for 12 months but then it can be easily extended for another 12 months on the day of departure.
This totals the full 24 months needed for the IEC working holiday for Australians.
You simply purchase the first 12 months of travel insurance, and then you can log in and purchase the next 12 months.
Simply log in to the ‘Your Policy’ section of their website and extend it up to the full two years.
They also allow unlimited trips home, and it is not necessary to have a return ticket home in order to submit your claim.
Winter sports cover is also available, and their basic cover includes a whole host of activities!
Also worth noting is that their Ski & Snowboarding cover is one of the best we have ever seen!
They even include off-piste activities, which are often not included.
Fast Cover policies also include 24-hour overseas emergency assistance for IEC travellers.
Get a quote here for your IEC travel insurance.
With BestQuote, you can view and compare the best insurance options available for your IEC visa.
We really like them as their website is very clear and you can easily view and compare insurance prices, benefits, refund policies and much more.
Simply start your quote by:
- choosing the dates of your intended stay in Canada,
- adding any additional countries, you wish to visit
- indicating the number of travellers included in the cover
- adding dates of birth
- filling your email address
And your quote will appear instantly!
BestQuote Travel Insurance also offers several IEC policies that allow for up to two years of coverage.
Whether you are from Ireland, Australia, the UK, France, Portugal or New Zealand (max 23 months), you can get covered for the two years of your IEC visa.
The BestQuote policy is issued through Lloyd’s Underwriters and has been specifically designed for IEC travellers (which means peace of mind for you).
With BestQuote, you get the required health and repatriation benefits.
They also include basic skiing/snowboarding cover and allow unlimited trips outside of Canada for up to 35 days.
Get a quote here for your IEC travel insurance.
Final tips for Working Holiday Insurance for Canada (the small print)
Finding Travel Insurance for Canada
While we have used most of the companies above, it is always worth spending that little bit extra just to read the fine print.
It is important to pick the IEC travel insurance provider and policy that is right for you.
As we mentioned above, you will be with them for the next 12 to 24 months, so it is worth spending that little bit of extra time to read through everything.
Please always double-check cover details directly with your insurance policy provider, as any of the above information may change at any time.
Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions at all, please reach out to us!
You will also find a great selection of useful links and discounts on other services below:
Other useful links for your IEC visa:
Booking.com – Perfect alternative to Airbnb when you need a short place to stay.
Hostelworld – If you need a cheap place to stay where you can meet other travellers, Hostelworld is the best.
OFX – Another great money transfer company for larger transfers. We usually use them for larger sums. Follow the link for free transfers for life.
CurrencyFair – Our favourite money transfer company. They are 8x cheaper than banks. Follow the link for 10 free transfers with CurrencyFair.
Taxback.com – Every time we have to do our taxes or claim Superannuation, we use these guys.
Sendmybag – Best company to ship your excess luggage to and from Australia. Follow our link for a 5% discount on your shipment.
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Thanks for stopping by
Steve and Sabina