Canada travel insurance
If you like your travel experiences big, beautiful and outdoorsy, Canada is the place to go. After all, it is the second biggest country on the planet with more genuine wilderness than almost anywhere. However, that doesn't come without its problems so we recommend getting the lowdown before you go – and having a good travel insurance policy under your belt!
Here are some tips that will come in handy if you're visiting, as well as an introduction to our Canada travel insurance.
We offer a choice of great value policies that will give you all the benefits and cover you'll need for your trip – whether you are looking to cover a single trip, for cheap annual cover or need a policy for your backpacking tour.
You can choose the level of cover you go for depending on the way you like to travel. So if you travel a lot and are visiting Canada as one trip of many during the year, it may pay to invest in a Multi Trip Annual policy. It won't cost you that much more than a single trip policy and will give you the same range of benefits. A Superior policy will give you the reassurance of £10million emergency medical expenses and gadget cover – as well as cancellation, loss of baggage, documents and money. And, like all our policies it will also give you access to 24/7 emergency assistance, wherever you are.
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"Great cover at a great price"
"As I have several different health problems I was struggling to get travel insurance for my trip to Canada. Most companies said no or they were quoting thousands. World First's medical screening was a lot more personal. I was treated as an individual therefore I got the right cover at a fraction of the price. No more comparison websites for me, I will be going straight to World First."
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Your quick guide to travelling in Canada
Canadian dollar ($) (CAD)
Entry requirements: A smooth start
Getting in to Canada is usually straightforward and it's unlikely that you'll need a visa for your holiday. If you're a British Citizen with a clear criminal record, your passport will do just fine. Otherwise, check what they have to say on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
Taking the kids with you? No problem! However, if you're a single parent or you're travelling without your partner, try to get written consent from the non-travelling parent and slip it in your hand luggage. Canadian immigration officers may ask questions if it's just you and a little one. Written consent will help remove any suspicions.
Healthcare: Before you leave
Good news: you don't need any special vaccinations for visiting Canada. The only official advice is to take basic precautions against hepatitis and rabies, just as you would at home in the UK. Nothing to lose sleep over.
Laws and customs: Leave your beef at home
It probably doesn't top your list of travel essentials, but don't carry meat, animal or dairy products into Canada. If you really must, be sure to declare them to Canada Customs. Banned food products will be confiscated and you could be hit with a hefty fine. Honestly, there's plenty of delicious food available in Canada already. No need to pack your own.
Extreme weather: Snow
Severe snow storms are part and parcel of the Canadian winter. That might sound exciting, but you certainly wouldn't want to get stuck in one. Keep an eye on local weather reports while you're away as well as the Environment Canada website.
A bi-product of all that snow is that avalanches are common in mountainous regions, especially in Alberta and British Columbia. If you're getting involved in alpine sports, follow local avalanche advisories and stay away from closed trails, however tempting they look. You can get up to date avalanche bulletins via the Canadian Avalanche Foundation.
If you decide to head for the piste when you are away, don't forget to include winter sports travel insurance to your cover.
Healthcare: Medical bills can be costly
The UK has no reciprocal healthcare agreement in place with Canada. That means you will need to pay for the treatment you receive if something unexpected happens, whether it's a sprained wrist or something more serious. Canadian medical bills can set you back a small fortune.
It means robust medical cover is an essential part of your travel policy. Take out Canada travel insurance with World First and we'll insure you for up to £10 million worth of medical costs. That includes 24/7 emergency assistance as well as cover for lost medication and repatriation costs. We can even cover pre-existing medical conditions. Just call us or get a quote online.
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Transport: Driven to explore?
Canada is an unbelievably vast country, with nearly 900,000 kilometres of road. No surprise that most people use cars to get around. If you're staying in a city then the public transport networks should give you all the mobility you need, but if you want to head out to discover the delights of rural Canada (and it's worth it), hiring a car is usually the best way forward.
You don't need anything more than your UK driving license to hire a car in Canada. Just make sure you take the paper counterpart too. If you get stopped and fail to present both documents, you could get a nasty fine. Oh, and before you drive off, make sure you check your heater and defroster are working well. You'll see why below.
Transport: Road safety
Road safety is a big deal in Canada. Finger-numbing temperatures and heavy snow can make driving conditions pretty hairy. So if you're thinking of hiring a car (see above,) it makes sense to invest a little time learning how to get to grips with slips and skids.
Just like here in the UK, road conditions are going to be worse in rural areas. You can (and should) expect anything from potholes and sharp bends to large animals blocking your way. There are no driving revelations here: drive cautiously, slow down and avoid sharp braking and sudden movements. Simple, isn't it?
Black ice can be a problem between +4°C and -4°C. If the road surface ahead looks black and shiny, proceed with extreme caution. Don't let the sunshine fool you either. Black ice can be found in shaded areas long after the sun comes out. And remember: snow and ice are more slippery at 0°C than at -20°C.
In temperatures below 7°C, winter tyres are recommended. If the white stuff has already settled, they're essential. Tyres marked with a pictograph of a peaked mountain and snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for snowy conditions.
The Canadian Automobile Association has created a list of things to carry in your boot to help you if you get stuck on your travels. It's worth a look. After all, getting stranded in your car is rarely fun. When it's freezing outside and you're surrounded by snow in the middle of nowhere, it's even worse. You can stay up to date with road closures using The Weather Network website.
Laws and customs: Where should you keep your passport?
There's no need to carry your passport around with you in Canada, so store it somewhere secure – a hotel safe is ideal. It's worth carrying a photocopy of your passport around with you, just in case. And it's always good practice to leave another photocopy at home with a friend or relative. (The same applies to your travel insurance documents, by the way.) Alternatively, you can scan the photo identification page of your passport and store the file securely online. It could save you a heap of time if you lose your passport.
Extreme weather: hurricanes and tornadoes
It might be the USA that's most renowned for fierce hurricanes and tornadoes, but they're not uncommon in Canada either. From July to November, the maritime provinces are occasionally affected by hurricanes carried north from the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Keep track of hurricane activity using the National Hurricane Centre and Weather Network websites.
Tornadoes are even less predictable. May to September is the main twister season, with most activity occurring in June and early July. They can occur almost anywhere, but commonly hit southern Ontario, Alberta, south eastern Quebec and a band stretching from southern Saskatchewan through to Thunder Bay. As above, keeping half an eye on local weather media will be enough to keep you ahead of any unwanted developments up in the clouds.
What to do in an emergency
The procedure for getting emergency assistance in Canada differs according to your location. If you're in a city, dialling 911 will connect you to the emergency services. If that doesn't work or you're in a rural location, dial 0 and ask the operator to connect you to the emergency service you require. If the battery is dead on you mobile there's no charge for emergency calls made from a public pay phone.
World First policyholders are given 24/7 access to emergency medical assistance and customer support channels, so if you are having problems and need to talk to us, just call us.
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Canada: Know Before You Go
For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.
See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.
Follow the FCO on twitter HERE.
Of course, if you have any questions about our Canada insurance, please call us on 0345 90 80 161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Thinking of taking more than one holiday in the next twelve months? Save money with our annual travel insurance.