Did you know that in 2017, more than 20.8 million international travelers made a trip to Canada? Of this, 6.5 million were visitors not hailing from the U.S.!
It was also in the same year that Canada approved more than 5.37 million visitor travel documents. These include the Super Visas for parents and grandparents of Canadians and PRs.
Before applying for this visa though, you need to purchase medical insurance coverage. You need to apply for one before you even begin your visa application.
Don't worry if this is the first time you'll apply for travel health insurance. We've rounded up the steps you need to get the best policy for your visa application, so be sure to keep reading!
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What Makes the Super Visa “Super”
Before there was a Super Visa, there was the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). It's a program designed to provide permanent residency to parents and grandparents. From there, they would be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
When the PGP ran on January 29, 2019 though, it saw more than 100,000 hopeful applicants. Of this, only 27,000 people were able to access the application form. It took only eleven minutes for the program to reach its limit.
For those who weren't able to apply for the PGP, the Super Visa is the next best option. It may not offer permanent residency, but it allows one to stay in Canada for up to two years at a time! It's also a multi-entry visa that has a validity of up to 10 years.
With the regular visitor visa for parents and grandparents, you can only stay up to six months in Canada. As such, if you want to be with your loved ones for much longer, the Super Visa is your super choice.
Unlike the visitor visa though, you need medical insurance to apply for a Super Visa in Canada. This is one of the program's major eligibility requirements. Without a paid medical insurance policy, the IRCC may not process your application.
That said, follow this step-by-step insurance buying guide before applying for a visa!
1. Know Your Canada Super Visa Insurance Requirements
Canada requires Super Visa applicants to get medical insurance that meets the following:
- Purchased insurance is from a Canadian insurance company
- The policy is valid for no less than one year from the date of their entry to the country
- Provides coverage of at least $100,000
- Proof of payment (the government won't accept quotes)
If you’re worried about not being able to find a Canadian-based insurance provider, don’t. The Great White North is home to 133 health insurance companies. Many of them, including Manulife, offer insurance that meets the Super Visa requirements.
2. Confirm What’s Covered (and What’s Not)
Basic Super Visa health insurance covers emergency treatment costs while you're in Canada. It should provide coverage for ambulance services and emergency medical care. It should also pay for hospitalization costs up to the limits of the policy.
Most basic policies also include coverage for emergency evacuation and repatriation. This helps cover the costs of evacuation to a hospital within or outside of Canada. It also provides coverage for medically-equipped flights back to your home country.
What standard Super Visa medical policies don't provide coverage for are pre-existing conditions.
3. Factor in Pre-Existing Conditions
Did you know that more than 1.1 billion people all over the world now have hypertension (high blood pressure)? If you're one of these folks, then you know how dangerous (and expensive) a disease it is.
There's still some good news though. The best health insurance for Canada visitors offers coverage for such conditions! Common pre-existing conditions also include diabetes and epilepsy among many others.
In any case, consider your pre-existing medical conditions as you shop for insurance. Otherwise, you risk paying out-of-pocket medical costs while you're in Canada. That’s money you could use instead to enjoy your time with the family.
A Closer Look at “Stable Pre-Existing Condition”
One thing to look out for is the term "stable" as you look up pre-existing condition coverage. Insurance companies have varying definitions of "stable period of health". For some, this can be 30 days, while for others, it can be up to 356 days.
Most of them have similar definitions for the term "stable" though.
For instance, stable conditions are those that haven't had a change in or an addition to the treatment. Your medications are the same and your physician hasn't reported any new symptoms. This also means your symptoms haven't worsened or become more frequent.
You need to declare a pre-existing condition when purchasing Super Visa insurance. This will increase the cost of your policy, but it'll be much less than what you'd otherwise pay with no coverage.
4. Consider the Deductibles
You can lower your insurance costs by adding a deductible to your policy. A deductible is an out-of-pocket expense you need to shoulder when you make a claim. You need to pay this before your insurance provider will settle the rest.
Let's say you choose an insurance policy with a $500 deductible. In case you file a claim, you need to cover this entire amount first, using your own money. Your insurance provider will take care of anything beyond that, up to your policy's limits.
This may seem contradictory to saving, but it can actually cause a drop in your policy costs. Since you'll be "sharing" part of the costs with your insurer, then they'll charge you lower.
Be careful with the deductible amount you agree to, and make sure your budget can afford it.
5. Get and Compare Quotes from At Least Three Providers
Now that you know the technical side of Super Visa insurance, it's time to start shopping around! Start by requesting quotes from at least three Canadian insurance companies. Doing so will give you an idea of how much your required one-year coverage will cost you.
Luckily, insurance comparison websites can help you get instant health insurance quotes. Use a comparison site to avoid the hassles of asking for quotes from several companies. Please make sure you provide accurate details though, so you can also get accurate quotes.
6. Consider Teaming Up with an Insurer Offering Monthly Payment Options
Since you need a one-year validity for Super Visa insurance, a one-time payment can be too pricey. Some of the best insurance companies understand that not everyone can pay for this in one go. As such, they offer monthly payment options.
Consider this method to make your insurance costs easier on your wallet. Just be sure that they will issue you proof of payment, as you’ll need to submit this during your visa application.
7. Check the Refund Policies of the Super Visa Insurance Provider
As of 2017, the Canadian government has issued more than 90,000 Super Visas since the program started. As high as that number is, it's not a guarantee that everyone will secure a visa.
We hope that you do get your visa application approved, but we also want you to prepare in case it doesn't. One way to recoup your costs is to choose an insurance provider that issues refunds. They should provide a complete refund for refused super visa applications.
To receive the refund, you need to supply the insurer a copy of the official Letter of Rejection.
Partial Refund for Unused Days or Months
Be sure to ask the insurance provider about their partial refund policies too.
For example, let's say you get a visa (hurrah!) and visit your loved ones in Canada. During your visit though, something came up and you need to go back to your home country. This means you'd have to leave Canada before you get to use your one-year insurance coverage.
You may still get a refund if there's a partial refund clause in your policy for unused days or months. However, you may only be eligible for partial refunds if you didn't make a claim while you were in Canada. Your insurance company will also ask you to provide proof of departure from Canada.
Apply and Have a Stress-Free Visit to Your Loved Ones in Canada
Once you've gone through all seven steps, you can now choose the best insurance company. Don't forget to read the contract once more and make sure you know what you're signing up for. If you're 100% sure that it suits your needs, then you can go ahead and sign the policy contract.
Upon receipt of the official insurance coverage policy, you can now use it to apply for a Canada Super Visa! Gather all your visa requirements, send in your visa application, and wait for good news.
Need to get those medical insurance quotes now so you can start your visa application ASAP? Then please feel free to request your quotes from us! We’ll help you find and compare the best insurance policy for your much-deserved visit to Canada.