What is the best international health insurance for 2024?

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Around 1.5 million Canadians travel abroad each year and the majority of them travel with some form of travel insurance. However, it's not just missed flights and stolen credit cards that can be a problem.

Getting sick or injured when abroad can lead to very costly medical bills. Short-term travel insurance is a nice option if you'll only be away for a week, but for long-term travel and living abroad, international health insurance is the best option.

But how do you find the best international health insurance? We've got you covered. In this guide we tell you everything you need to know about international health insurance, coverage, pros, cons, and more. You can also compare policies and get free quotes from the best international health insurances using our comparator.

Top 3 International Health Insurance from Canada

  1. Cigna international health insurance: Extensive coverage
  2. IMG international health insurance: Affordable care
  3. Allianz Care international health insurance: Zero-deductible options

Top 2024 Best International Health Insurances

Cigna international health insurance: Extensive coverage

Cigna Healthcare offers international health insurance that caters to the needs of a variety of consumers. It has plans tailor-made for global professionals like expats, families, retirees, and international student health insurance.

It primarily provides three broad plans to protect you while you're traveling overseas - Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Cigna's plans provide essential medical care, including hospital stays and treatments, while offering flexibility to match your budget and needs.

You'll also have priority access to Cigna's medical support, comprehensive whole health care resources, a secure digital portal for storing important documents, and multi-lingual support. They are currently running a 10% discount on family plans only until the end of August.

Pros of Cigna

  • Access to vast network of hospitals, healthcare professionals worldwide
  • Customisable plans to suit specific healthcare needs, budget
  • Priority access to support from Cigna doctors and nurses
  • Plans can be bought online in under 10 minutes

Cons of Cigna

  • Customer reviews claim inefficient claims process
  • Consumer complaints on bad service

You can now get a personalised quote for Cigna plans based on your unique preferences and budget in just a few seconds.

IMG international health insurance: Affordable care

IMG is a renowned company recognised for its excellence in offering worldwide benefits and assistance services. Its array of services includes travel medical, international health, and travel insurance plans.

IMG's International Health Insurance plans offer medical protection to individuals and families residing overseas (or distant from their home nation). This ensures Canadians traveling for no matter what reason are protected with preventive care, regular health examinations, and medical treatment for both illnesses and injuries.

It offers plan tailor-made for unique needs like International student health insurance, Patriot International Platinum (extensive coverage), Patriot International Lite (for a budget package), and more. The packages also include mental health and sports coverage for students.

Pros of IMG

  • Wide range of plans to fit every budget and need
  • Expansive global network of health professionals
  • Available in 190+ countries
  • Assistance in over 18 languages

Cons of IMG

  • Some customer reviews say long "claims process"
  • Certain reviews say long waiting times for response

You can now get a personalised quote for IMG plans based on your unique preferences and budget in just a few seconds.

Allianz Care international health insurance: Zero-deductible options

Allianz Care offers a range of health and medical insurance plans designed for individuals, families, and businesses with global operations. Formerly known as Allianz Worldwide Care, the company rebranded as Allianz Care to focus on providing comprehensive healthcare solutions to people living and working in different countries.

Allianz Care's international health insurance plans are tailored to the needs of expatriates, international travellers, and globally mobile individuals. For Canadians, these plans typically offer coverage for a wide range of medical services, including hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription medications, and emergency medical treatment.

The company also provides additional services such as medical evacuation, repatriation, and access to a network of healthcare providers around the world.

Pros of Allianz Care

  • Zero-deductible options
  • Digital check-up apps for mental health
  • 24*7 global assistance in 6 languages
  • Provides second medical opinion services

Cons of Allianz Care

  • Expensive plans compared to others in the market

What is international health insurance?

International health insurance is also known as international private medical insurance (IPMI) or expat insurance. IPMI is a type of travel insurance which covers any medical needs you might have while travelling outside of Canada. Some countries may require you to have international health insurance in order to enter the country. Buying international health insurance can be a mandatory part of the visa application process.

When you buy international private medical insurance you will agree to an amount you pay monthly. In return, your medical expenses will be covered, minus a deductible. The amount of your health insurance for international travel policy's deductible will be agreed upon at the time of purchase. Take a look at the comparison tool at the top of this page to see what levels of deductible are available.

While international health insurance for Canadians is different from traditional health insurance policies that typically have a network of providers within the country, some health and dental insurance policies might provide limited coverage for medical emergencies or urgent care when you are outside of Canada.

If you would like to compare Canada's best health insurances that also cover international health needs, you could simply use our comparator below and get quick quotes in no time:

Compare The Best Health Insurance Plans in Seconds


Do you need international health insurance?

You should always have some form of medical insurance while abroad. The cost of healthcare, especially for non-residents, can vary wildly in other countries. While your Canadian public provincial plan may give you some protection it may well be inadequate.

Provincial plans may cover only the cost of treatment in Canada rather than the local rates. In the best-case scenario, you will still likely have to pay upfront and chase a reimbursement later.

Two-thirds of Canadian travellers visit the United States. Did you know that an average overnight in an American hospital can cost as much as $14,000? This is a potentially life-changing amount to have to pay.

It has sadly led to some people not seeking the appropriate medical help they need. Many older Canadian travellers protect themselves when they spend a long time in the United States or the Caribbean with snowbird insurance policies.

Watch out!

Health providers in some countries may require upfront payment or insurance details even for emergency services.

Who should buy international health insurance?

All Canadians travelling abroad should have some form of travel insurance. Canadians living or working abroad, or just those travelling for extended periods should consider having a longer-term form of international health insurance.

Are you a digital nomad moving from cafe to cafe across Europe? A trance-loving festival hopper or a retiree who spends half the year in Italy? Maybe you are an international businesswoman who has to do a lot of meetings in person across the Arabian peninsula.

Expert advice

All these people would benefit from an international health insurance policy that ensures they will be protected while working or playing abroad. Similarly, full-time expatriates who do not have healthcare rights in their country of residence would benefit from a Canadian international health insurance plan.

What health insurance for Canadian international students?

Health insurance for international students is crucial when studying abroad as your Canadian provincial healthcare does not typically apply in foreign countries. Many countries and educational institutions require students to have coverage for medical expenses and emergencies.

Specialised insurance plans are available to meet these needs, offering services like medical treatment, emergency services, evacuation, and repatriation. Follow these steps while buying international student health insurance:

  1. Research international student health insurance options specific to your study destination. For example, international students studying in France are typically covered by the public healthcare system.
  2. Check if your university mandates a certain plan as there are several institutions offering policies at subsidised rates.
  3. Compare plans based on coverage, cost, duration, and additional services.
  4. Purchase insurance before departure to ensure immediate coverage upon arrival.
  5. Understand the policy's coverage details, deductibles, claims process, and keep all documentation easily accessible.

What health insurance for international students in Canada?

Some provinces in Canada offer provincial coverage to international students. However, this coverage varies by province and is not available in all provinces. In provinces where coverage is available, it may be limited and might not cover all medical expenses. Many universities in Canada also offer plans specifically designed for international students.

Students applying for a study permit in Canada are required to show proof of a valid health insurance plan that provides coverage for at least one year. The cheapest health insurance for international students in Canada are typically offered by the universities they are enrolled in.

You can now get quotes on Canada's best health insurances and compare their coverage for international student insurance or any other specific needs you may have. All you need to do is use our free comparator below and get personalised quotes in no time:

Compare The Best Health Insurance Plans in Seconds


What does international health insurance cover?

International travel health insurance is designed who help you cover costs in a medical emergency. This might mean paying for the cost of seeing a doctor, to visiting the hospital after a skiing accident. It could also mean paying for a relative to fly out and stay nearby so they look after you.

In the worst-case scenario, international health insurance for travel can also pay the cost to have an individual flown back to Canada in case of an unfortunate death. The following should be covered in most private international medical insurance policies:

  • Emergency care
  • Repatriation
  • Outpatient care
  • Compassionate visits
  • Chiropracty
  • Infertility treatments
  • Acupuncture
  • Mental health care
  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Radiology
  • Cancer screening

Watch out!

Always remember to read the terms and conditions while paying particular attention to exclusions.

Providers will typically have upper limits on the amount they will pay out for a specific medical procedure or for expenses adjacent to a medical emergency. Let's take a look at what international health insurance will typically cover and how much they will pay out, for a single trip:

CoverUpper limit of payout
Emergency medical coverage
  • Ambulance
  • Doctor's bills
  • Diagnosis
  • Hospital fees
  • Medical equipment
  • Repatriation
$5 million
Private nurse
Beside Companion coverage
Economy round-trip ticket paid plus $1,500 for meals and accommodation
Repatriation of a dead body
Canada international health insurance

Does international health insurance cover cruises?

International traveller's health insurance is more suited for Canadians spending extended amounts of time travelling or working abroad. There are several travel insurance companies, however, that offer specific cruise-focused insurance policies. Similarly, many insurance providers have policies that specifically cater to those who enjoy extreme sports and you will be best served by buying a sports travel insurance policy.

How much does health insurance for international travel cost?

Costs can vary widely based on individual factors such as age, coverage level, duration, and the specific provider. So it's best to seek a personalised quote using our comparator at the top of the page.

However, to give you an idea of what the prices are typically like and the associated coverage, we've got you some quotes. The following are quotes from Cigna International health insurance for a 30-year-old Canadian resident who will be traveling to France:

Plan TypeCore Benefits RegionOverall Annual BenefitCoverageMonthly Cost
  • Inpatient & Day patient: Paid in full (private)
  • Cancer Care: Paid in full
  • Mental health: Up to $5,000
  • Maternity:
  • Inpatient & Day patient: Paid in full (private)
  • Cancer Care: Paid in full
  • Mental health: Up to $10,000
  • Maternity: UP to $7,000
  • Inpatient & Day patient: Paid in full (private)
  • Cancer Care: Paid in full
  • Mental health: Paid in full
  • Maternity: UP to $14,000
Close Care
Canada & France$500,000
  • Inpatient & Day patient: Semi-private room
  • Cancer Care: Full care
  • Mental health:
  • Maternity:
international health insurance cost

Watch out!

Please note that the figures provided are indicative monthly costs and can vary based on specific factors and your provider. Make sure to verify the details and costs directly with the insurance company before making any decisions.

5 tips to buy the cheapest international health insurance

Here are five tips to help you find affordable coverage:

  1. Compare Multiple Providers: Obtain quotes from several insurance providers. Use online comparison tools to compare premiums, coverage, and benefits offered by different companies.
  2. Opt for Essential Coverage: Determine your essential healthcare needs and choose a plan that covers those services. Avoid unnecessary extras that can drive up costs.
  3. Consider Deductibles and Limits: Plans with higher deductibles and lower coverage limits often come with lower premiums. Assess your ability to cover out-of-pocket costs before choosing this option.
  4. Explore Group Plans: Some group plans, such as those offered by universities, employers, or student associations, can provide discounted rates due to the collective enrollment.
  5. Research Region-Specific Plans: Look for insurance plans tailored to specific regions or countries. These plans might be designed to meet the healthcare standards and cost structures of your destination.

While this may seem time-consuming we've made it easy for you. You could simply use our HelloSafe comparator at the top of this page to compare plans, coverage, and get free quotes on the best international travel health insurance packages for Canadians.

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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.