International Student Insurance

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Studying in Canada from abroad: Getting student medical insurance

What you need to know about health insurance in Canada as an international student

International Student Insurance

If you’re planning to study in Canada from abroad, you’re not alone.

In 2015, the Canadian Bureau for International Education estimated that more than 350,000 international students came to Canada for schooling. Also, making Canada one of the world’s most popular destinations for international study. In fact, a recent survey found that Canada is the most popular destination for students looking to study abroad.

Many international students find that they need supplementary health insurance coverage designed specifically with international students in mind. So, this type of insurance helps to ensure you’re fully protected should anything happen to you while you’re studying in Canada. 

First of all, Read on to learn more about international student medical insurance and how to find the policy that’s right for you.

The Student Secure plan provides international student health insurance to both international and study abroad students. Who is studying outside of their home country either in the USA or around the world? This student health insurance plan offers coverage on a monthly basis that will meet many schools and government requirements. Also, for those students on the J1 and F1 visa (even those on OPT) you are automatically eligible for coverage.

Frequently asked questions about international student medical insurance (FAQs)

Each policy varies, so it’s important that you read over the policy booklet carefully. However, typically the coverage includes:

  • Emergency hospital accommodation and medical services
  • Emergency transportation (e.g. road or air ambulances)
  • Emergency dental work
  • Prescriptions needed as a result of a covered emergency
  • Diagnostic services including x-rays

Additionally, and specifically for student health insurance plans, coverage can also include:

  • Tutorial services if, because of a covered emergency or accident, you’re in the hospital or confined to your home to recoup for more than 30 school days.
  • An eye exam or check-up with the doctor if you purchase an annual policy.

Policies for supplementary health insurance for international students may vary, so take your time to review each policy before you buy. At you can review each policy online before having to commit.

Standard policies typically cover emergency services, while enhanced policies provide additional benefit levels. Also, that may include higher coverage amounts for certain benefits and/or additional benefits not included in a standard package. Such as accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. Enhanced packages may also provide less out-of-pocket expenses in the event of claims. Such as preventing you from having to pay for something up front and then waiting to be reimbursed by the insurance company. 

Which one is right for me?

The amount of time you spend studying for in Canada may influence the type of insurance policy you buy. For example, if you’re staying for less than six months, emergency coverage may be sufficient, but if you’ll be living here for a while you may want something that takes into consideration benefits such as regular dental and eye exams. 

Again, each policy is different so ensure you read them fully and carefully to determine which plan is best for you.

Yes it is, but some companies refer to it as medical insurance and some refer to it as travel insurance. Regardless of the title, both are health insurance policies

A deductible is the amount of money you would have to pay in the event of a claim. For most international student medical coverage plans in Canada the deductible is $0. 

Some universities and colleges have mandatory health insurance plans that international students must buy into. An example is the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) in Ontario, which is a requirement of participating schools. The cost of this plan is incorporated into your tuition as an international student. 

However, many students opt for additional coverage to supplement gaps and increase overall health benefits while they’re studying in Canada. Other students choose their own international students insurance policy and then apply to be exempt from the mandatory university plans. It is up to you to decide what type of coverage is best for you. It should be noted that not all institutions provide mandatory health insurance to international students. In these cases, securing your own insurance is your best option. 


Yes. Remember to look for “extras” like toll free numbers you can call 24-7 in case of an emergency, and for things like additional travel coverage for side trips you may take (like travelling to the United States) while you’re studying in Canada.

Pay attention to the limits of how much you’re covered for each benefit, as the amount may vary from one provider to the next.

Also, ensure you understand what’s excluded from your coverage. This is equally as important and will help you determine if you need additional supplementary coverage for certain things.