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*Canadian* Travel insurance for (potentially) 1 year in Europe

My boyfriend and I are looking into travel insurance for our potentially 6 months to 1 year stay in the Schengen zone of the EU. One part of a successful application for a Youth Mobility Visa (a work/holiday type visa for people under 35) is "proof of travel health insurance" (and in the case of us Canadians getting our visas through Germany for example, it must be "valid for the entire stay in Germany with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR (approx. 50,000 CAD), including the following details: name of insured person, length of coverage, insurance sum"). For 364 days of insurance, I'm getting quotes of $750-1,200 per person...
I know that an emergency health-related expense overseas can be way way worse (and by American standards that's 'cheap'), but does anyone have suggestions of insurance providers for Canadians that can help us for less than that amount?

Also, this is all assuming we can actually get a visa and will be able to continue traveling/living there past the 90-day Schengen rule. Since we don't exactly know how long we will be away for, is it worth buying say, 4-6months worth of insurance and then just adding on more days to our plan, later? (Once we or the border officials decide we can stay for longer?)

Gulp! For someone who hasn't bought insurance for a trip of longer than 3 months, this is an unexpectedly large sum of money to hand over right before a trip.

Posted by
15573 posts

I'm getting quotes of $750-1,200 per person!

FYI, that's what we pay per month in the good old US of A.
And that is USD.

Posted by
14 posts

Oh man, don't envy you there! We pay nothing quite close to that per month in BC, but still... anybody else know of a good insurance company that can offer better?

Posted by
1705 posts

It really seems like 750CAD for a year of insurance is a reasonable price. That's 561 US and works out to 46US per month. If someone is offering me coverage for 46 US for a month a health insurance I would take it. What kind of coverage does that include?

Posted by
11677 posts

You need advice from a Canadian, since insurance laws and coverage vary from country to country. (Here in the US they vary from state to state). Hopefully one of the many Canadians who post here will notice your question. Maybe revise your title to attract their attention?

Posted by
30932 posts

jessie,

I almost missed this thread as I rarely check this section of the forum. Thanks to one of the other forum members for bringing it to my attention.

To begin with, to clarify one point.....

"I know that an emergency health-related expense overseas can be way way worse"

That's not always the case, depending on country. I'm not sure how things of that type are handled in Germany, but costs can be quite reasonable in some countries. It's also important to remember that travel health expenses can be "way way worse" even when travelling from province-to-province within Canada, so travel medical insurance is important even travelling at home.

It would help to have more information on where you're getting insurance quotes? Just to confirm, you live in B.C.?

My initial impression is that quotes of $750-1200 PP for a one year travel policy are reasonable, especially since emergency repatriation is compulsory. Does that amount also include the compulsory Personal Liability Insurance? I doubt that you're going to find anything cheaper than that.

Were you planning to apply for the Visa in person at the Embassy in Toronto or by mail? I'm sure you saw this on the website....

"Please note: When applied for by mail, the Youth Mobility visa can only be issued by the Consulate for a maximum period of 90 days. As soon as you arrive in Germany, you must contact the aliens authority in the same city that you indicated as your first housing in your application to apply for an extension of your Youth Mobility visa. An additional fee of 100.00 EUR will be charged by the aliens authority."

Posted by
14 posts

Hi Ken! Thanks for your reply! (Indeed, I once had to visit the hospital for an emergency in Estonia and the bill came out to only 35 euro! 4 hours in the hospital, 20mins waiting time, 3 IVs and that was it! Very pleasant experience, as far as hospital visits go).

The insurance companies I was searching through yesterday (yes, from my BC-based home), that offered the "best" deals.... for one year in Europe...

BCAA - $898.80 CAN (Standard plan - no deductible)
World Nomads - $771.70 CAN (Standard plan - but am awaiting an email reply from them re: their deductible and other info).

The others were over $1000...
eg. Travel Guard - $1756

Others, like Pacific Blue Cross, couldn't offer any plan exceeding 182 days

Also yes... Re: the visas, how one can come into receiving one are all different, process-wise, depending on the country. In Estonia, for instance, the consulate here in Canada tells me that we will be able to just apply for visas in person at the border & police office, rather than mail anything in (it's also a matter of getting finger prints from the applicant too). She says that one should give at least 2 weeks to make sure everything has time to be processed before one's 90 days is up. In regard to the German one though... At this time, we are wanting to spend more time in this country and would like to work in Berlin, hence why I'm investing a lot of time right now into researching the process for applying for a German youth mobility visa. But yes, it seems as if we'll be applying through mail. I've directed a long email of questions to them but nobody has gotten back to me...

Posted by
150 posts

Hi Jessie,
My daughter went through the YMA German visa process two years ago (to live in Berlin in fact), so I will share what I can of her experience. As I recall, she paid around $600 for insurance for a year, and purchased it through a travel agency in Ottawa, I can't remember any more details. I believe Germany requires that the insurance be in effect for the entire duration of the visa, so you will likely need to buy it for the year. Although the German Embassy is here in Ottawa, they don't process the YMA applications- she had to go to the consulate in Toronto to submit the application, get finger printed, etc. It looks like there is a consulate in Vancouver, at the World Trade Centre, that handles applications in western Canada. Regardless of whether you do the paperwork before you leave or by mail, you still have to check in with your local authorities when you arrive, in order to register. If you go through the process by mail, there is still the finger printing, identification validation etc., so there is an additional charge at that end.

There was a fair bit of paperwork and running around to do, but once that was out of the way after the first week, she had nothing more to tend to. She loved her year in Berlin, and traveled all over Europe from there.

Posted by
16759 posts

This Youth Mobility Visa sounds very nice. Where's my Retiree Mobility Visa application?

Posted by
30932 posts

jessie,

BCAA is usually a safe bet for good, reliable insurance. If you're a BCAA member, you may get a discount. In the same situation, I'd verify that their insurance covers repatriation. Another point to ask about is whether you'll have to pay up-front for any medical expenses, and then get reimbursement from the insurance company.

You might check with general insurance companies too, as they usually offer travel policies. Travel agents may also have some policies that cover your situation.

I'm surprised that Travel Guard is so high. They don't seem to be interested in being competitive.

Unfortunately if applying by mail, you'll have to budget for the extra €100 PP to get an extension beyond 90 days.

Posted by
607 posts

Here is a website which may help your research on Canadian travel insurance: http://www.travelinsurancereview.ca/
This site says there is no deductible for World Nomad.

This site will provide you with Canadian quotes: https://www.kanetix.ca/travel-insurance
When I requested a sample quote for one year travel medical coverage in Europe, Kanetix provided quotes ranging from $800 to $1000.

I have found BCAA to have the best rates for topping up my travel insurance coverage above my credit card coverage. However, i have not purchased any travel medical coverage more than a month.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks funpig! I'll check those out.
And thank you ottawanderer & Ken! I spent the week reading over and over the "checklist" for the YMV for Germany, contacted both embassies in Toronto and Vancouver, and unfortunately neither of them can offer advice or information regarding my Visa-related questions (most pressing question was "once approved, can the passport and issued visa within that passport be returned before May 28th, our departure date") over the phone. All is done through email, which hasn't been successful. I received one reply (after 3 attempts) and their reply was "Please refer to the check list, and write back if you still have questions". Well, needless to say, I did still have those exact questions (when sending money and spending hours and hours putting an application together, one would want to make sure they have all their ducks in line, and that they understand everything perfectly), and they have not replied. That was a week ago. I should have been looking into this German visa 6 months ago. Not 6 WEEKS before departure day!

So I've put my frustrations aside, and have decided to try for an Estonian visa (their process is much easier and straightforward - and is done in person, when you arrive in the country). Although the problem with this is that you can't legally work anywhere else other than Estonia, and you have a limit of 90 days within the 365, that you can be in other EU countries/"outside" of Estonia. My boyfriend and I will cross that bridge when we get there though... Estonia is NOT Germany, but I love it there and we'll make something work. And we'll be saving money, since the cost of living there is much less than other EU countries.

First thing is getting that insurance though! haha. Thanks for all your help! I'll post again once I found the right deal! :)

Posted by
1 posts

I've also been looking into the health insurance for the Youth Mobility German Visa. Most insurance companies will cover up to 6 months provided you are COVERED by your home province in Canada. Once you've been away for longer than 183 days you are no longer COVERED by your home province. (In Quebec-other provinces may be 7 months) It is possible to apply for a one year exemption every 7 yrs to remained covered for 365 days. The visa check list indicates that insurance must be valid for entire time of the visa . One company with good rates that I've found is World Escapade but you need to supply proof that you have provincial coverage for 1 year vs 6 months.

Posted by
14 posts

UPDATE!

I went into BCAA in person this afternoon, after doing MUCH research online, for days and days (thank you everyone for your suggestions!), and ended up paying almost $100 less than the online quote, because the agent was able to talk it through with me and understand exactly what I needed and (and didn't need). Turns out it's an average cost of $2.50 per day...

Breakdown of my bill (in Canadian $):

Single trip - Emergency medical excluding USA (but is STILL covered if you are transferring flights in the US), for $10,000,000 is $773.80
OC7-Additional Air Travel Related Expenses is $5.00 (eg, in case baggage gets lost on the way there, I will be reimbursed for most expenses, including clothes I have to buy until my luggage appears at my accommodation's doorstep.)
OC3- TravelGold Accident is $15.70 (in case I loose a limb, eye/eyesight or die in an accident while abroad I, (or my dependent, in the case of death?) will be granted something like $25,000 as well as being already covered for medical/hospital expenses in existing "Single trip..." plan).
OC11- $0 Deductable - $125.00 (so I won't have to pay anything out of pocket when needing medical attention

= $919.50 for 365 days of international travel insurance for a 30-year old Canadian.

Obviously read the fine print of your own plan before purchasing, but this is what I personally needed and therefor paid for. It was the "cheapest" and most relevant plan for what I, an already insured citizen of British Columbia needed (365 days of travel insurance) for her international bike trip.

OH! Also, the agent told me that in case I don't actually need a full year of coverage (I.e if we decide to return to Canada before the year is up) we can get some of our money back for the remaining year of insurance, if you pay them a fee of something like $25. BONUS!