We’ve all been there: a single click away from booking those hard-earned airline tickets for a little well-deserved R and R, and there it is, the travel insurance option. It can be hard to know which way to go. Do you shell out the extra cash or fly by the seat of your pants? To figure out this complicated issue, we went to the experts—a panel of Canadian travel bloggers. Read on to discover what these seasoned travellers know about travel insurance and whether you should buy it for your vacation.
The Best Travel Insurance Credit Cards in Canada
|Credit Card||Best For|
|Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card||Flight delay/cancellation coverage|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card||Trip cancellation/interruption insurance|
|TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card||Frequent flyers|
|BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*||Emergency medical insurance|
We’ve compared all the credit cards, and these are our top credit cards for travel insurance in Canada.
The Best Travel Insurance Card for Flight Delay/Cancellation Coverage
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
Earn up to $1,320* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Earn 30,000 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months. Plus, as a cardholder, you are eligible to earn an annual 10,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $40,000 in everyday net eligible purchases annually. Offer ends April 30, 2023.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you have almost certainly experienced a flight delay. And the last thing you want to do is sleep in the airport or pay a hefty hotel bill. One of the most underrated coverages, flight delay insurance allows you to claim accommodations, meals, and personal items purchased after a lengthy delay. While many cards offer this coverage, Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card provides a robust $500 per insured person towards expenses after just a 4-hour delay.
This card also includes travel emergency medical insurance, delayed/lost baggage insurance, car rental insurance, and travel accident insurance as part of the package. Finally, it includes a complimentary Visa Airport Companion Program membership and has no foreign transaction fees—an enormous bonus for those who make purchases when on the road. Plus, you get six complimentary lounge visits per year from the date of enrollment, providing you with access to 1,200+ airport lounges globally, including participating Plaza Premium Lounges, which comes in handy during a flight delay. It also has some serious points-earning potential: Earn up to $1,320* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Offer ends April 30, 2023.
- Annual Fee: $150
- Minimum Income Eligibility: You must have a minimum annual income of $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000 or a minimum assets under management of $250,000.
- Credit Score Required: Excellent
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to $1,320* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Offer ends April 30, 2023.
- Other Perks: Visa Airport Companion Program and no foreign exchange fee markup
- Purchase APR: 20.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card to learn more.
The Best Travel Insurance Card for Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
Earn up to $850* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 45,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Earn 25,000 bonus Scene+ points by making at least $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months. Plus, for a limited time, you are eligible to earn a 20,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $7,500 in everyday eligible purchases in your first year. Offer ends April 30, 2023.
Booking a trip in advance is always a gamble. You never know what might happen that could prevent you from travelling, but with the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card, you’re covered. If you are forced to cancel or delay your trip because of eligible medical or non-medical causes, you are automatically insured for up to $1,500 per person for eligible expenses (maximum $10,000 per trip) when you charge at least 75% of such trip expenses to your card.
Plus, this card comes with delayed/lost baggage insurance. Like a delayed flight, losing your luggage is only a matter of time. And it’s gonna cost you if you have to buy a bunch of replacement clothes, toiletries, and other stuff (especially if there are foreign transaction fees). Insurance against this annoying situation generally covers essential items, but as discussed above, what is considered essential can vary widely. With the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card, you’re covered for $500 per insured person after just a 4-hour delay and $1,000 for delayed baggage for all insured persons on the same trip.
It’s also a travel rewards credit card that offers great Scene+ points.
- Annual Fee: $120
- Credit Score Required: Excellent
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to $850* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 45,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.¹ Offer ends April 30, 2023.
- Other Perks: No foreign transaction fees, comprehensive travel insurance, Amex Front of the Line® access
- Purchase APR: 20.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card to learn more.
Best Travel Insurance Credit Card for Frequent Flyers
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card
Special Offer: Earn up to 55,000 Aeroplan points†. Plus, first year no Annual Fee†. Conditions Apply. Must apply by May 28, 2023.
We’ve consistently named this as one of the best credit cards for Aeroplan collectors, but it also comes with a comprehensive travel insurance package† that suits frequent flyers of any age. The TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card offers an excellent travel medical insurance policy† that totally justifies the $139 annual fee for the credit card. Cardholders get up to $2 million of coverage for the first 21 days of their trip, and even cardholders who are 65 or older get coverage for the first 4 days of their trip†. Moreover, additional top-up coverage is available if you need it.
Also included is trip cancellation insurance of up to $1,500 per insured person, with a maximum of $5,000 for all insured persons†, as well as coverage for trip interruption†, delayed/lost baggage†, flight/trip delay†, and car rental insurance†.
Another reason to sign up is because of its winning welcome offer, premium perks and great potential to rack up Aeroplan points. Plus, because it’s an Aeroplan card, purchases at partner sites double your points†. Special Offer: Earn up to 55,000 Aeroplan points†. Plus, first year no Annual Fee†. Conditions Apply. Must apply by May 28, 2023.
- Annual Fee: $139 (first-year annual fee rebate)†
- Minimum Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income
- Credit Score Required: Good;Excellent
- Welcome Offer: Special Offer: Earn up to 55,000 Aeroplan points†. Plus, first year no Annual Fee†. Conditions Apply. Must apply by May 28, 2023.
- Other Perks: Travel insurance†, Nexus fee rebate (every 48 months)†, Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance†, and no Aeroplan points expiry for cardholder as long as you are a cardholder in good standing
- Purchase APR: 20.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
†Terms and conditions apply.
This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.
Best Travel Insurance Credit Card for Emergency Medical Coverage
BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*
Get up to 60,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*
But what about emergency medical travel insurance? After hearing from our experts you’ll want to make sure you’re properly covered, and the good news is many cards include up to $1,000,000 in emergency medical travel insurance. This is really essential to have for any trip, as the bills add up during an emergency, and could even bankrupt you.
If you want the ultimate coverage, check out the BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*, which covers emergency medical protection for up to $2,000,000*. Also included are policies for car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption, and lost or damaged luggage*. That’s sure to give you peace of mind.
Plus there is a welcome bonus that you can put toward future travel. Get up to 60,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*
- Annual Fee: $150 (waived for the first year)*
- Income eligibility requirement: Minimum $80,000 (individual) or $150,000 (household) annual income required.
- Credit score required: Excellent
- Earn Rate: Earn 5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases,* 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments,* 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else.* Now get the highest rewards points for travel with any premium flexible travel card in Canada!†
- Welcome offer: Get up to 60,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*
- Additional benefits: Complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass,* with four annual complimentary passes.
- Purchase APR: 20.99%| Cash Advance APR: 23.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
*Terms and conditions apply.
BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information.
†Statement based on a comparison of the redeemable value of the non-promotional travel rewards points earned on premium flexible Canadian credit cards as of May 3, 2022. “Flexible” is defined as points earned when you purchase travel anywhere and “premium” refers to cards with an annual fee of ≤ $150 or has an income requirement of ≤ $150,000 annual individual income.
Types of Travel Insurance and Exemptions
I know, I know—I can see your eyes glossing over. The minutiae of travel insurance may well be one of the factors that prevent folks from buying it!
The good news is that unless you’ve got something really outlandish planned, there are just a few main types to consider: trip cancellation/interruption, baggage loss/theft, and emergency medical travel insurance.
In making a coverage decision, a simple review of your circumstances and your trip can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Is the cost of your travel substantial? For instance, if you’ve saved for months or years to buy expensive flights, you might want to consider insuring against trip cancellation. If you booked on points or they were otherwise a low investment you can consider going without. Always check the fine print, though, if you’re leaning towards springing for coverage. Some policies won’t reimburse you for cancelling a trip, except in extreme circumstances such as a death in the family.
Theft and Baggage Loss
The same idea applies to baggage loss or theft, with the additional note that this kind of coverage tends to be very difficult to collect on. If you’re travelling with something extremely valuable like a new laptop or expensive camera equipment, speak with your provider to make sure that it’s covered. These policies can include unexpected exemptions, leaving you uninsured.
Emergency Medical Travel Insurance
Emergency medical travel coverage protects you in case of injury, and it is, without exception, a must-have according to our experts. However, as with all insurance, it’s crucial to read the policy. Common exemptions include injuries sustained during risky activities – such as skydiving, injuries stemming from pre-existing conditions – and injuries sustained while intoxicated.
Rental Car Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
In general, car rental collision/loss damage insurance covers you if your rental car is damaged or stolen while you have possession of the vehicle. Unless your home car insurance already covers car rentals, then having this type of insurance is a necessity when you’re renting a car during your travels.
For any kind of policy, you should understand the deductible, maximum payable, and exemptions before you sign.
Guidelines for Buying Travel Insurance
When you’re shopping around for travel insurance, here are a few pointers to keep in your back pocket:
Every Canadian Traveller Needs Emergency Medical Coverage
As Canadians, we’re accustomed to terrific (and mostly free) healthcare, but if we want that coverage to follow us around the world, we need to purchase emergency medical insurance. Canadian public health insurance is not valid outside of Canada, and the Canadian government will not pay for your medical bills for an illness or accident suffered abroad.
Even if you’re travelling within Canada’s borders, having emergency medical coverage can be crucial. It’s true that you’ll likely be covered for some of the same services insured by your home provincial plan. But depending on where you’re visiting, some services may not be covered, such as ambulance, hospital transfer, prescription drugs, transportation back to your home province, and procedures not currently approved by your home plan. You’ll also likely be charged for any medical bills incurred in Quebec, which requires up-front payment from non-residents. That’s why having at least $1 million in emergency medical coverage is a must even if you’re taking a “staycation” in Canada.
Consider Getting Your Own Car Rental Insurance
You might not think of car insurance when you’re shopping for travel coverage, but if you’re planning on driving during your trip, it’s worth looking into beforehand. Although you will be offered insurance at the rental counter, these policies are usually restrictive and far more expensive than purchasing in advance.
One seriously important thing to note: rental car collision/loss damage insurance policies will never include liability insurance (if someone sues you due to an accident you caused in the rental car), so keep that in mind when you’re assessing your insurance needs.
Read The Fine Print
Understanding the terms of your policy really is crucial. There’s the issue of exemptions mentioned above, but there are other rules and term limits that you absolutely must be known before you go. For instance, pre-existing medical conditions are usually not covered by travel insurance, and often “high-risk” activities (like scuba diving or water-water rafting) aren’t covered unless you pay extra for a more comprehensive plan.
Check Your Credit Card Travel Insurance
You might not be aware of it, but if you have a credit card and you pay for your trip with that card, you may already hold some travel insurance. Make sure you understand the included policy so you don’t spend double on protections. And if you’re looking for a credit card that meets your specific travel insurance needs automatically, consider our top credit cards for travel insurance.
Common sense dictates—and our experts agree—travelling without insurance is not only ill-advised, but it’s also unnecessary. By combining your credit card coverage with any required extras, you can travel worry-free. And really, who wants to fret about whether they’re covered on a vacation? Bon voyage!
The Best Credit Cards by Category:
- The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best Credit Cards to Use for Car Rental Insurance
- The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best AIR MILES Rewards Credit Cards in Canada
- The Best Aeroplan Credit Cards in Canada