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Expat Insurance for Canadians Overseas

Expat Insurance for Canadians Overseas

According to the Canadian Government, there are about three million Canadian expats worldwide. That may not sound like a lot, but for a country with a relatively low population, it is a considerable number! However, along with the thrill of moving abroad comes the responsibility of safeguarding your health in a foreign land. This is where expat insurance becomes indispensable. In this article, we’ll explore some key considerations and options for insurance coverage that every Canadian expat should be aware of when moving abroad.

Understanding the basics

Before delving into the specifics, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental principles of expat insurance. This type of insurance is designed to provide comprehensive health coverage for Canadians living and working abroad. The goal is to ensure that expats have access to high-quality healthcare and enjoy peace of mind while residing in a foreign country. Along with expat health insurance, we’ll also look at some other types of insurance Canadian expats might consider.

Health insurance

Health insurance is arguably the most important type  of expat insurance for Canadians. Ensuring access to quality healthcare should be a priority when living abroad. Several options are available for expats:

  • Government coverage: Canada’s provincial healthcare plans typically provide limited coverage for Canadian citizens temporarily living abroad. However, this coverage is usually insufficient for long-term expats and may not include emergency medical services outside of Canada.
  • Private health insurance in a foreign country: Some expats opt for local private health insurance plans abroad. These policies can offer a wide range of benefits, including coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, and emergency care. It’s important to carefully review policy details though, including coverage limits and the implications of pre-existing conditions, when choosing a private health insurance plan.
  • International health insurance: Specialized international health insurance plans that are designed for expats. They provide comprehensive coverage that extends across borders and often includes options for worldwide coverage and repatriation to Canada, should it be required.

Life insurance

Life insurance provides financial protection to your loved ones in the event of your passing. There are two types of life insurance available:

  • Term Life Insurance: This policy provides coverage for a specified term, offering a death benefit to beneficiaries if you pass away during that period. It’s a cost-effective way to ensure your family’s financial security.
  • Whole Life Insurance: Whole life insurance offers permanent coverage and includes a cash value component. It can serve as both insurance and an investment, providing a payout upon your passing and accumulating cash value over time.

Disability insurance

Disability insurance is often overlooked but is worth considering for Canadian expats. It provides income replacement if you become unable to work due to a disability. Again, there are two types:

  • Short-term disability insurance: This coverage offers income replacement for a limited period, typically up to six months.
  • Long-term disability insurance: Long-term disability insurance provides income replacement for an extended duration, such as until retirement, if you’re unable to work due to a disability.

Considerations for Canadian expats purchasing expat insurance

Canadian expats should consider several factors when selecting insurance:

  • Coverage area: determine where you’ll be living and working and choose insurance that covers those regions.
  • Duration: Decide whether you need short-term or long-term insurance based on the how long you plan to be abroad for.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Be aware of how pre-existing conditions are treated by your insurance provider.
  • Policy limits: Review coverage limits, especially for health and liability insurance.
  • Emergency evacuation: Ensure that your health insurance includes emergency medical evacuation cover.
  • Repatriation: Understand the terms of repatriation, which covers the return of your remains to Canada in case of your passing.


Expat life is a rewarding and enriching experience for Canadians, but it comes with responsibilities and risks. By understanding the basics and carefully selecting appropriate insurance policies, Canadian expats can embark on their overseas journey with confidence, knowing that their health, finances, and well-being are well protected in the event of the unexpected.

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