Canadians are ready to embrace warmer weather and head out on summer road trips. Purchasing travel insurance may be an obvious thought when taking a flight to another country, but it’s also important when exploring within Canada.
Many Ontarians incorrectly assume that their Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will cover any unforeseen medical expenses when visiting another province or territory. While your provincial plan covers some medical care, there are many medical expenses it doesn’t include. If your travels take you outside of Ontario, it’s essential to know what’s covered and what isn’t under OHIP.
Unexpected situations can arise anytime, anywhere, so it’s important to get travel insurance before you go for peace of mind. We asked our CAA Travel Insurance experts for advice on Canadian vacations and health coverage, and here is what they had to say.
Popular summer road trip destinations for Canadians eager to begin their adventure
Popular destinations in Canada include the Rocky Mountains, coastal drives in British Columbia, the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, and the Quebec countryside. National parks, historic sites, and charming small towns are often featured on travellers’ itineraries.
If you’re looking outside Canada, a recommended option is California State Route 1; you can make the most of this famous road by heading south, so you always have the ocean on your side.
Let’s talk about OHIP – what it covers outside of the province and what it doesn’t.
What does OHIP cover across Canada
When you show your valid Ontario health card in another province or territory, you’ll be covered for some of the same services you receive here in Ontario, but not all. Physician services (like at a walk-in clinic) and services provided by a public hospital are included.
What isn’t covered under OHIP across Canada
It’s strongly recommended you purchase your own travel insurance when adventuring outside of Ontario. Some of the services that OHIP does not cover in another province or territory include:
- Ambulance services (including transport and paramedic) and airlift services
- Prescription drugs from pharmacies
- Assistive devices (like prosthetics)
- Home-care services, long-term care, or residential services
- Private hospital fees
Examples of when you’d need a service that is not covered
If you are hiking in Banff and you injure yourself on a trail, a car can’t reach you, so you need to be airlifted out. Another example is if you’re at an amusement park with your family and suddenly fall ill and are unable to drive, you would need to call for an ambulance.
Depending on where you are visiting, an ambulance bill could cost you hundreds of dollars or several thousand (if an air ambulance is needed).
Aside from emergency medical coverage, there are additional insurance travellers should consider before embarking on a summer trip
Travellers should consider trip cancellation or interruption insurance – and as we’ve learned over the winter, this coverage is extremely important. These types of policies cover unexpected situations like if you get ill before travelling, lose travel documents or miss a flight due to weather conditions.
Other coverage you may need outside of Ontario is rental vehicle damage insurance – if you’re renting a car for your summer road trip you may want to get additional coverage. While some auto insurance companies offer rental car insurance, you may not want to rely on your personal insurance. You’re likely driving in an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar place – why risk an accident ending up on your personal insurance?
Additional tips or advice for travellers planning summer road trips
Plan and research your route, destinations, and accommodations in advance to make the most of your trip. Make sure your car is ready to hit the road. Check the tire pressure, oil levels, brakes, and other essential components.
During long drives, it’s essential to stay hydrated and take regular breaks to stretch your legs and rest.
Don’t forget to carry a First Aid Kit for unexpected situations.
Before you hit the road, bring your CAA Membership
CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older. Quotes are valid for 30 days.
- Conditions apply at participating stores. Visit caaneo.ca/termsandconditions for full Membership Terms and Conditions.
- Applies to CAA Members in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by Membership expiry date). Up to twenty percent (20%) savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Subject to change without notice. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance. CAA Everyday, Classic®, and Plus® Members save 10%. CAA Premier® Members save 20% at CAA Stores or by calling 1-800-267-8713. CAA Premier Members save 10% and earn 10% in CAA Dollars® when booking online.
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