Canadians are usually covered for medical mishaps overseas by their provincial health plans, while holders of official student/teacher/youth cards are entitled to accident coverage and hospital in-patient benefits. Students will often find that their student health cover extends during the vacations and for one term beyond the date of last enrolment, while homeowners’ or renters’ insurance often covers theft or loss of documents, money and valuables while overseas, though conditions and maximum amounts vary.
After exhausting the possibilities above, you might want to contact a specialist travel insurance company; your travel agent can usually recommend one. Policies are comprehensive, but maximum payouts tend to be meagre. Most North American travel policies apply only to items lost, stolen or damaged while in the custody of an identifiable, responsible third party – hotel porter or airline, say, or luggage consignment. Premiums vary, so shop around. The best deals are usually through student/youth travel agencies – ISIS policies, for example, cost around $35 for a week depending on coverage; $55 for eight to fifteen days; $115 for a month; and up to $730 for a year. If you’re planning to do any “dangerous sports”, figure on a surcharge of 20-50 percent.