September 20, 2012

Long Term Travel Insurance for Albertans

The mixture of being Canadian residents and full-time employees with additional health insurance has afforded us the luxury of never really thinking about our health in terms of money. Everything has always been free. We pay nominal fees for some prescriptions and travel immunizations, but not much.

To be honest, I can't even really relate to having to pay for healthcare. You have to pay if you get hit by a car? You have to pay to have a baby in a hospital? This doesn't make any sense to me. I'll keep my politics to myself, but my views are based on my experiences with this system of healthcare.

Venturing out into the world, we had to consider our health coverage internationally. We're both certified SCUBA divers and plan on continuing to dive - so that was a concern as well. Luckily, through the power of the interwebs, most of the research was already done for me.

Yeay to blog friends! Yeay to being lazy!

Steph over at 20 Years Hence, wrote an amazingly detailed post Better Safe than Sorry about her experience with Canadian, American, and International health insurance. I won't even try to recap what she has to say, because most of my posts are rambling diatribes about drinking too much, not information packed learning experiences.

Point is: I agree with all of it, and have had many of the same experiences looking into insurance.

There are only a few differences we have as Albertans. AHCIP requires that you be in Alberta for 183 days out of 12 months to maintain coverage. Since we will be gone for longer than that, we can call to extend it out. But even that will only bring us up to 12 months of coverage for AHCIP basics {this is free coverage that all Albertans get}. If we lose this coverage, we will have to insure all of our coverage independently, and not just the additional insurance that we would get with most plans.

World Nomads and Bon Voyage are two companies that provide international insurance. After some comparisons, World Nomads looked more like the insurance that we would need, as it included more extended diving and 'adventure travel' coverage.

However, we had two more factors to consider:
{1} We wanted to add onto our current AHCIP coverage, not double it up
{2} If we do end up working soon, many boats will include medical insurance as a part of their package, and we don't want to pay for something that could be offered for free!

We went to check out AMA Travel Insurance options, and they provide some shorter term extended coverage. This is what we went with in the end. We bought insurance until December, which is 71 travel days and cost us $486 for both of us. Not the cheapest, but it's what works best for us.

**Side Note: All of these policies are health insurance that we carry on top of a personal life insurance policy that we pay monthly. Look how grown up we are! Multiple levels of insurance!**

When our AMA coverage runs out, we'll most likely purchase the World Nomads package if we still need it. What about you fellow travellers? Did you purchase any insurance? Have you had any experiences making claims worldwide?

If you have any specific questions about Alberta/Travel insurance - let me know!


  1. Another tip when buying insurance, there are some companies which automatically include your airfare, so you don't need to add that into the amount of insurance you're buying.

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  27. If you have proper cancellation cover on your policy, you may be able to claim back the money so you can travel another time. What if something happened at home while you were travelling and you needed to get back urgently? Insurance may seem like a boring way to spend your money but if you’re faced with a serious problem while you’re travelling it might be the best decision you ever made.
    Source: Why backpacker insurance is important?


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