Do I Need Visitor Insurance When Going to the Province of Quebec, Canada?

Every year, there are thousands of tourists, visitors, new immigrants and foreign students arriving to the province of Quebec, Canada. Many tourists purchase a medical insurance in their home country or are protected through their private health plan or credit card protection.

However there are many visitors who don’t purchase any medical insurance, taking enormous chance of incurring large medical expenses in case of emergency, or potentially leaving their host liable to these medical bills. Admission to emergency room in Quebec costs at least $800 and that before any tests or diagnostics. Overnight stay can amount to $1,500 per day, and thousands of dollars for any major medical emergency such as cardiac or neurological incident.

Canadians living in Quebec are entitled to free medical care under the RAMQ public healthcare plan. However new immigrants and Canadians returning home after an extended stay outside of Canada must purchase a private medical insurance for 90 days (compulsory waiting period) until obtaining their new RAMQ card. The 90 days waiting period commences from the time the person submit an application to an RAMQ card.

Foreign students must purchase a private medical insurance for the duration of their studies, or else they are taking the risk of seeing their student visa renewal being refused. Most universities offer group insurance, however it is recommended to purchase insurance even for the period before the studies. Medical insurance should be purchased for anyone studying in a private school or college or a language school.

Generally there are three types of visitors’ insurance products being offered: Foreign student insurance: these are usually affordable because most students are young and the claim ratio is relatively low. These policies also offer the most benefits and usually represent a good deal. Protection start at $2 million for medical emergencies.

Visitors and new immigrant insurance: these policies are priced based on the age of the applicant and the amount of protection. Typical protection amounts are $10,000; $25,000; $50,000; $100,000 and $150,000. These policies offer excellent protection for medical emergencies, ensuing care, and emergency transport.

Expatriate insurance: few people are aware that new immigrants and Canadians returning to live in Canada can purchase expatriate insurance which offers better protection and options at much lower premiums. Expatriate insurance offers protection for amounts of $100,000 and up.

How much protection does a person need? For younger healthy people a protection of $25,000 or $50,000 is sufficient. For those on a tight budget $10,000 protection is a better option than no protection at all. For older people, or people with medical conditions such diabetic, asthma, high blood pressure, or any other heart conditions it is recommended to purchase a higher amount of protection such as $100,000 or $150,000

How about a family? Families usually obtain favorable rates. Most insurance companies charge double the rate of the oldest person in the family.

  • What insurance companies offer the best plans?
  • Allianz offers the largest selection including a $10,000 protection and affordable student and expatriate plans.
  • RSA also offers a large selection of products with protection starting at $15,000
  • Manulife offers a good selection for older people or those with pre-existing conditions.

The author Dror Amar is a financial advisor with over 20 years of experience at Groupe Conseil Amar inc. a reputable travel insurance broker in Montreal offering through their web site www.assurancevisiteurs.ca/en travel and health insurance plans for super visa, visitors to Canada, foreign workers and international student to Canada.