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Travel Insurance FAQs - Super Visa, General FAQs, and More

FAQs about insurance for Canada's Super Visa application

Q: Is the insurance premium refundable if my parents return home before the end of one year?
A: Buying a visitors to Canada policy for 365 days is a Super Visa application requirement and it must be paid for in full at the time of purchase. If the visa is not issued, the policy can be cancelled for 100% refund. When a visitor returns home before the expiry of the policy, a partial refund may be issued on a pro-rata basis for the unused portion of the premium, provided no claims have been initiated. To apply for a partial refund, boarding pass(es) showing the traveller's full return trip home must be submitted upon departure from Canada.

Many parents will come to visit for less than a year on their first visit, so being able to obtain a refund for the unused portion of their policy is an important consideration. To keep the refund option available, it may be advisable to pay for small expenses out of pocket. Normally, the lower the deductible the better. However, if the 12 month policy costs $2000, and the visitor returns home after 6 months, then about $1000 will be refunded as long as no claim has been made on the policy. A policy with a $0 deductible (where the insurance immediately pays all eligible expenses), will cost more - but even if a small claim (ie. visit to a medical clinic) could be filed in the first six months, you may not want to file because the $1000 refund would be lost. So, it may be better to use a higher deductible to lower policy cost (by 20% or more) and pay any small expenses to keep the expected refund valid.

Q: When I buy a policy from BestQuote's website or over the phone with BestQuote, do I end up paying extra fees or incurring extra costs? Why wouldn't I just call the insurance company directly?
A: We don't charge any extra fees. The prices on this website are same as you would get directly from the insurance company, or from another broker for the same policy. Canadian insurance regulations don't allow the insurance companies to charge different rates than brokers, and brokers can't charge extra fees over and above the advertised rates. Nor can brokers rebate part of their commissions and compete against each other based on price. The regulators want to prevent that because 'cutting out the middleman' has proven to not be in the public's best interest.

We have had customers call us after they have tried dealing directly with insurance company representatives that didn't explain important options, or 'didn't mention' important details that would effect coverage - usually dealing with pre-existing conditions coverage. The insurance company representatives are paid to sell what the company has to offer - even if it doesn't fit the customer's situation.

By using us as your broker, we work on your behalf to find you the best policy and to help you manage the decisions around your insurance choices. We offer many different policies from Canada's top insurance companies for you to have a wider range of coverage choices, and so you can conveniently compare prices and coverage details to help come to a good decision. And we'll help change dates, get extensions, and advise you during refund or claim time if you need extra advice - something that the insurance claims adjuster won't do.

We've worked hard to build our website database, which hosts more Super Visa insurance options than any other online resource in Canada - earning your business by helping you during your purchase decision. If you find the website and our toll-free (1-888-888-0510) answers helpful, we'll appreciate you choosing us as your agent!

Q: Can I buy a policy from an insurance company in my parents home country?

Super Visa requires proof of insurance at port of entryA: The Canadian government has indicated that applicants must show proof of private Canadian health insurance, so using insurance from a country not regulated by Canadian authorities would jeopardize the chances of getting the visa application approved. Don't take that risk!

Also, Canadian medical providers prefer to work with Canadian insurance companies. There is direct billing between hospitals and the Canadian insurance companies. In the event that you have to pay for expenses and then file a claim, Canadian insurance companies will have a faster claim procedure as they can verify Canadian medical expenses faster than providers in foriegn countries (so you get reimbursed faster).

And, Canadian insurance companies are regulated by Canadian regulators, at some of the very highest standards around the world. In fact, they are also re-insured by Assuris - a Canadian government agency that will cover up to $60,000 of medical expenses in case a Canadian insurance company becomes insolvent. Not that that is likely, but it's nicer to know that you are insured no matter what happens. For proof of insurance at immigration/entry time, paperwork is best shown in English or French.

Q: Who is eligible for Canada's Super Visa?
A: Here's the exact answer provided on the government of Canada website:
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have been found admissible to Canada and meet some other conditions are eligible for the Super Visa. 
Visa officers consider several factors before deciding if the person is admissible.  This means they are a genuine visitor to Canada who will leave by choice at the end of their visit. Among the things that could be considered are:

•the person’s ties to the home country,
•the purpose of the visit,
•the person’s family and financial situation,
•the overall economic and political stability of the home country, and
•invitations from Canadian hosts.

In addition to being found admissible to Canada, the parent/grandparent must also:
1) provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada who meets a minimum income threshold;
2) prove that they have bought Canadian medical insurance for at least one year to cover the period of time that they will be in Canada; and
3) complete an Immigration Medical Examination (IME).

For more information please visit the Canadian government website concerning details about the new Super Visa.

Q: On the green quote request form, BestQuote refers to visitors insurance and Super Visa insurance as emergency medical insurance, so do these policies cover regular checkups or only emergencies?
A: Visitors to Canada insurance covers medical expenses and other expense benefits related to accidental injury and sudden 'unforseeable' illness, and does not cover discretionary (when you choose to go) medical expenses that are not of an urgent nature. So for example, regular checkups are not covered, nor are vaccinations, medications or professional services of a therapist, etc. If a person is defined as being covered for emergency situations related to a pre-existing medical condition (i.e. high blood pressure), they will be covered in the event of an emergency - but not covered to go in and get the condition monitored.

Q: What amount of visitors travel medical insurance should I purchase?
A: Hospital costs for visitors to Canada can amount to well over $3,000 per day, and air ambulance charges to return you home could very easily be in the ten's of thousands of dollars. The minimum purchase for application purposes has been set at $100,000, although sometimes a $150,000 policy could be even lower cost (we have a discount policy available under age 60), or provide more peace of mind. 

Q: Can I purchase a visitors policy for my parents?
A: Yes. Anyone can purchase a visitors insurance policy on behalf of someone coming to Canada. In fact, you should know that if a person is coming to Canada and you have sponsored their stay, you will be responsible for their medical bills if they cannot pay for them. So even if they don't want to pay for higher coverage, you might want to buy it for them anyway. 

Q: Are there any discounts for two or more travellers buying at the same time?
A: Some company's do offer discounts for companion travel, or larger group travel insurance policies. Your quote will determine if such a discount applies.   

Q: If I have a pre-existing condition, can I get coverage for that with visitors insurance?
A: Maybe. It depends on the pre-existing condition, and the terms and conditions of the policy. Some insurance companies offer plans that cover pre-existing conditions as long as they have been stable for a certain period of time (usually 6 months) before departure from your home country. Sometimes, pre-existing conditions will not be covered. It is important to read your entire policy to make sure you are aware of the definitions affecting coverage, as well as the possible exclusions that may apply.

Only some of the available plans will cover pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, etc. Other policies, while they do cover stable pre-existing medical conditions, use strict eligibility questions to screen out applicants (for example, no coverage available if you use an ICD (pacemaker), oral steroids for lung conditions, diagnosis of stroke, blood clots, congestive heart failure or heart murmur in past 12 months, etc.). If you have any questions about your pre-existing conditions and obtaining coverage, please contact us.

Q: Is my father allowed to bring in a year's supply of his prescription medication?
A: There are some restrictions that the Canadian government sets out regarding importing prescription medications (whether you are a Canadian citizen, or a visitor): Generally, you are limited to bringing two 90 day (total 180 day supply): Government website

So, trying to bring in a whole year's supply may cause some problems at the border.

Q: Do I have to take a medical test before I can buy visitors to Canada insurance?
A: No. There is no medical exam required prior to purchase. There may be some medical questions that are asked as a part of your online application. You must answer all questions truthfully, as not doing so may void (cancel) your coverage. If you have to submit a claim, the insurance company will investigate to determine if your condition was a pre-existing one, and/or whether you were truthful on your application. Separately, as part of the Super Visa application process, applicant's are required to complete a medical assessment, but that is not a requirement for buying the insurance.

We have more information on our Q&A information for Visitors to Canada page.

Visitors to Canada or their Canadian friends or family can get a travel insurance quote, compare policies and purchase online, or if you have any further questions please call toll free for assistance at 1-888-888-0510 in North America; 1-604-259-2544 or 1-647-799-2032 (outside North America).

General Travel Insurance Questions

Q: Why do visitors or seniors need to compare travel insurance companies?
A: We quote all of Canada's top insurance companies so you can see how prices can differ, and choose the policy wording that fits your situation. Prices vary a lot, especially if you are taking medications for various ailments. Maybe you need the plan that covers 'return of vehicle' better than other plans. Maybe you need to find the plan that covers you to go mountain climbing - but most plans don't. You can't find the best price and the best coverage by looking at one company at a time - that would take too long without coming up with the best plan or price.

Q: Why do I need any insurance?
A: Travel health insurance protects you against large financial setbacks due to medical emergencies. No advisor would be doing you a favor to advise you to travel without travel health insurance. Without travel insurance, a broken leg or the flu could turn into a substantial medical bill, especially in the U.S., but elsewhere too. Without travel insurance, you expose yourself to unlimited financial risk. Travel insurance will also cover items which regular health insurance will not, such as incidental hospital expenses, out-of pocket costs of accomodation and meals while a travel companion is in hospital, returning your vehicle home when you can't, flying you home for (better) medical attention and more. You can get a plan that protects you in the event of family emergencies (that cause you to cancel or interrupt your vacation), delays, theft and last-minute plan changes happen once in a while to all travellers.

Q: How does purchasing insurance online work? Don't I have to sign the application?
A: Travel insurance is available from numerous sources: banks, insurance companies, credit unions, trust companies, or even major retailers and automobile associations - just like BestQuote, they accept applications online by identifying you through the use of your credit card. The questions you answer and the declarations you make as part of your online application are the same as you would make on a paper application. Unfortunately, those outlets only show you one choice. With BestQuote, we show you a wider selection of choices, and give you the tools to compare coverage, so you can find the coverage you need at the right price.

Q: When I purchase a travel insurance policy from BestQuote Travel Insurance Agency, how do I receive a copy of my insurance papers before I travel (I'm leaving soon!)?
A: When you purchase a policy from us online, the insurance company will send you a 'confirmation of coverage' document which summarizes your coverage. You should print this and take it with you. A copy of the policy wording will also be emailed to you, but we will mail one to you too if you email us and ask us to send you a paper copy. You will also receive a wallet card that you can write your policy number and your insurance company's contact information on to keep on hand in case you need it.

If you have left your purchase to the last minute, don't worry. When you purchase a policy we will process your purchase within 24 hours. You will receive a confirmatory email with details immediately after processing.

Q: Are the companies on this website reputable?
A: Yes. The companies on our website are very well regarded in the travel insurance industry and have been chosen above other travel insurance providers because of their 24/7 customer service, policy wording and financial strength as indicated by A.M. Best, an independent organization that rates the financial strength of Canadian insurance companies.

Q: How do I view the policy prior to purchase?
A: Once you have asked for a quote and been presented with your policy choices you will notice two options to help you navigate through the policy wording details: (Summary and Policy). You are advised to download the policy and review it prior to purchasing. But you probably don't want to download 6 different policies and read them all before deciding which one to get. We've made it easier to compare coverage with a summary chart providing information on the secondary benefits (for example dental, paramedical services, follow-up provisions, etc) for each company.  Once you've narrowed down your choice, you can read through the policy that interests you by downloading it.

Q: When does my policy start?
A: For emergency medical single trip plans it starts on your departure date. For emergency medical multi trip (annual) plans it begins on the effective date which you may have set as the departure date of your first trip. For all-inclusive, non-medical package plans or trip cancellation plans coverage begins on the purchase date.

Q: What is the 'deposit date'?
A: The deposit date is the first date that money paid towards your trip becomes non-refundable. The first date that you have to pay a non-refundable deposit and/or deposits or reservation charges that are not 100% refundable, that is your 'deposit' date. This question is asked for those purchasing trip cancellation insurance, because some companies restrict your purchase to within a few days of your deposit date.

Q: What is a deductible?
A: Your policy may come with a deductible, or you may choose to obtain a policy without a deductible. The deductible amount that your policy has is the amount of expenses that you must pay (deduct from the bill) before the insurance company will begin to pay for expenses. The higher the deductible amount of your policy, the lower the premium you are asked to pay. If for example, you have chosen to lower your premium by choosing a $500 deductible, if you have a claim, you will need to pay the first $500 of expenses, and then the insurance company will cover the rest (of the eligible expenses). On your quote screen, will find it easy to change the deductible and see how it affects your premium.

Q: To obtain a travel visa, I need medical and evacuation travel insurance. Do you offer this type of coverage?
A: Yes, we do. Get a quote for emergency medical coverage for Canadians, look through the policy details for the evacuation coverage you need, and get the policy that covers your second and third most important criteria as well. Then you're good to go.

Q: I have travel insurance from my credit card, isn't that more convenient?
A: It may be convenient, but it might be more expensive and it might not be the coverage you think you have. Once you take into account the annual fees that your credit card company will charge you to provide annual coverage, you'll probably be able to find a better travel insurance plan (higher coverage, better wording) for a lower cost. It is very important for you to read the coverage that you have through your credit card company to determine if it includes emergency medical insurance coverage.  Some credit cards might seem like they provide 'travel insurance' when their policy only covers accidental death when you pass away on a common carrier! Other's have low coverage, or a time limit to be aware of. Also, be mindful that most credit card companies only offer coverage for those under 65.


For more answers to specific travel insurance questions see:

Q&A for Canadians

Q&A for Visitors to Canada

Q&A for Medical Issues

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