# Monday, August 13, 2012
                 
Visitor Insurance Tips
Visitors to Canada insurance offers protection against unforeseen medical emergencies. It is commonly purchased by people visiting Canada, international students, new immigrants, expatriates, people arriving with Canadian work visas, and grandparents/parents on a super visa (see Super Visas for more information).

This article offers the following tips that can help keep premium costs down and also help to avoid complications with coverage.

Tip #1: Purchase Visitor to Canada Insurance Prior to Arrival

It is important to purchase visitors to Canada insurance prior to arriving in Canada. It is possible to buy coverage after arriving in Canada, however, waiting periods will then be applied to the policy (there is no coverage during this waiting period). The waiting period can be anywhere from 2 - 8 days, depending on the desired effective date as well as the insurance company that offers the VTC coverage.

Tip #2: Pre-Existing Conditions

If a pre-existing medical condition is stabilized before arriving in Canada then most insurance companies will offer coverage for that condition. However, what is considered "stable" varies widely from company to company, as does the required length of time that the condition is stable. For these reasons we recommend contacting a Canadian insurance broker to help determine what Visitor to Canada insurance plan is best suited for your particular situation.

Tip #3: Coverage Exclusions

The following are common exclusions with a VTC plan (note that exclusions vary from plan to plan):
  • Acts of terrorism.
  • Injury due to criminal activity.
  • Travelling against the advice of your doctor.
  • Drug or excessive alcohol use.
  • Kidnapping.
(Editor’s note: Canada is a very safe country to travel in, and has extremely low crime rates!)

Tip #4: Purchase from a Canadian Insurance Company

While it is possible to get travel medical insurance from a non-Canadian company, there are several advantages to buying a visitor to Canada plan from a Canadian company. The biggest advantage is the established relationships that insurers here have with Canadian hospitals, resulting in direct billing. With direct billing, you do not have to pay the hospital in case of an unexpected medical emergency. (If there is no direct billing then you must pay the hospital up front out of your own pocket, and then submit your receipts to the insurance company for re-imbursement).

Tip #5: Things to be Aware While Traveling in Canada

Generally speaking the following are good things to do while you are travelling in Canada:
  • Have your insurance company’s telephone number on you while travelling. In addition to helping you with a claim, the insurance company can also offer you advice if you are not sure how to handle an emergency situation.
  • Also keep on your person your policy number (note: you will receive a card after purchasing your plan, which has your plan number as well as insurance company contact information).
  • In case a medical emergency does occur, keep all receipts (e.g. prescription drug receipts, medical clinic or hospital bills, etc.).

Tip #6: Shop and Compare Plans

To get the best plan at the lowest price it is important to get lots of quotes and look at the type of coverage available from multiple insurance companies.

HealthQuotes.ca can help: we offer many different visitors to Canada plans from numerous leading Canadian insurance companies. We also offer instant, online quotes, and you can contact one of our licensed brokers for a free, no obligation consultation!

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