If you’re craving for all things Canada you’re not alone. Thousands of young Kiwis head over to world's second largest country to start their two year International Experience Canada (IEC) visa each year.
Do you wish to shoop shoop on the slopes of Whistler, work in Banff National Park, visit Niagra falls or learn French in Quebec? The possibilities are endless when you decide to do your working holiday visa in Canada. A gap year overseas is a wonderful way to work, travel and experience a new culture.
Requirements for your stay in Canada
To be eligible for the Canadian working holiday visa you must:
- prove to officials on landing that you have travel/health insurance for your trip
- be an New Zealand citizen, with a valid passport for your trip duration
- be between the ages of 18 and 35
- have no criminal convictions, including serious traffic offences
- have the equivalent of CAN$2,500 to cover your expenses
- have a round-trip ticket or the finances to buy a ticket home at the end of your stay
- not be accompanied by dependents
- be admissible to Canada
- and of course... pay the fees
Travel insurance for your Canadian gap year
In order to be granted your visa for Canada, you need to have travel insurance for your trip.
Here are some things to consider …
Two year travel insurance can be tricky
So you’re going to Canada for 24 months? Problem is, most New Zealand travel insurers only allow you to buy a policy for 12 months (or 18 months depending on the insurer). So what to do? You can potentially by a policy for a year and then extend it for additional months if you can, or buy an 'Already Overseas' policy just prior to your policy expiring. However if your visa is for 23 months, you will need to show cover for the entire period upfront.
So who offers cover then? Don't worry, we've done the legwork for you and provide details on who offers longer term cover in the table below.
Can You Extend?
max policy length
|Columbus Direct||12 months|
(excluding Americas & Africa)
|DUinsure||2 years (Canada only)|
|SCTI (Southern Cross Travel Insurance)||12 months|
|TINZ (Travel Insurance New Zealand)||12 months|
|Zoom Travel Insurance||12 months|
Attention to detail is key
One size definitely doesn’t fit all in the world of travel insurance. The type of policy you buy can vary and it’s imperative that you take the time to research these differences. Take note that a cheaper, basic travel insurance policies will generally providing medical only coverage and comprehensive policies will cover travel delays, cancellation and a host of additional benefits. Falling ill or being injured while travelling can be very unpleasant, stressful AND costly. Medical fees overseas, especially in the USA and Canada can be exorbitant. You'd be crackers not to pack at least basic medical cover for your trip.
Comprehensive cover includes cover for family emergencies
What happens if you're overseas in Canada and a familty member falls sick back home? A comprehensive policy will cover you for unforeseen cancellations for events such as natural disasters, accidents, severe sickness or injury.
Make sure you’re covered to travel outside Canada
Will you be taking a trip to the big apple or viva las vegas? If you’re planning a vacation to the USofA while you’re in Canada (well it’d be rude not to hey!) then make sure your policy covers you not just for Canada, but all destinations you intend on visiting. It probably won’t make too much difference to the cost.
Get cover for adventure activities
Planning to get your heart racing this working-holiday? If you're intending to partake in some adventure sports, take note; not every high risk activity is covered automatically. Check your chosen policy covers you for your dose of thrills before you jump out of the plane! See which activities are covered by travel insurance.
Make sure you've got personal liability cover
People love to sue. If you injure someone or are held accountable for damaged property in Canada the consequences would be less than brilliant. In such an event, your policy will cover your liability costs to a degree.
Pre-existing conditions: Medical conditions that exist before you travel are generally not covered, but it's a good idea to check. You can sometimes pay a bit extra to get some conditions covered. Check your policy wording to see what conditions are covered automatically, and which ones require a medical assessment first.
Booze can bust your cover
For some, holidays aren’t complete without a cool cocktail or two. While a mild buzz is acceptable, too much holiday spirit combined with reckless behaviour may jeopardize your cover. As a rule of thumb, if you’re too tipsy to make wise decisions, don't bank on travel insurance to save the day.
Out of sight, out of pocket
While your luggage and personal items may be covered for theft, damage and loss, it’s your responsibility to keep them protected as best you can. Your claim may be rejected for instance, if your belongings were ‘unattended’ or ‘unsupervised.’ Although each case will be closely examined, usually belongings left behind in taxis, restrooms and even conveyer belts wouldn’t be covered.
Pack peace of mind
It's perfectly understandable that some people pose the question "Why should I bother with travel insurance - nothing will happen to me?!". Put quite simply, unexpected events do occur...And could happen to anyone. Travel insurance gives you the freedom to focus on your holiday and provides loved ones back home the peace of mind that should anything happen, you're covered. Regardless of whether your planning a gap year in Canada or elsewhere, the unexpected can happen and being on the end of exposed risk could see your trip end in financial ruin.
International Experience Canada (IEC) PolicyIf you're heading to Canada for more two years and don't want the hassle of having to extend your policy or buy another policy from overseas, there are some speciality International Experience Canada policies out there. As per the visa requirements, a purpose designed policy covers the full 23 months and provides comprehensive cover for emergency assistance, emergency medical expenses, lost or damaged luggage and personal effects, cancellation fees and many other benefits.
So if you're looking for a comprehensive policy designed specifically for New Zealanders heading to Canada for a 2 year working holiday, look no further than DUInsure.co.nz.
To be eligible to buy this particular policy, you must:
- Be approved by the Canadian government to participate in International Experience Canada program
- Be a New Zealand resident
- Be aged between 18 and 35 years
- Start and end your journey in New Zealand
- Purchase your policy before your journey commences
save on travel insurance for Canada
Combine policies - If travelling with your family or a companion, a joint policy is often cheaper than purchasing separately.
Increase your excess - Most insurers allow you to lower your premium by opting to pay higher excess in the instance that you need to make a claim.
Shop around - You'll be amazed at how much travel insurance quotes can vary. Offers by travel agents or airlines usually have commissions added on. In fact, you can save up to 50% by shopping around, so it pays to buy your travel insurance travel insurance direct. Doing your comparison online will allow you to compare loads of travel insurance quotes in seconds. Yippee!
Benefits Of A Gap YearThere’s no denying that a year out of your ‘normal’ life can be somewhat daunting as you wave goodbye to your daily routine and let go of everything familiar. However, a gap year can have huge benefits for recent school or university leavers, or those wanting a mid-career sabbatical. Apart from experiencing a different culture, you may also pick up a new language or life skills, discover a hidden passion or even boost your career prospects.
The following are just some of the incredible benefits of a gap year:
- It looks great on a resume: Exploring the world, participating in voluntary programs and taking part in new and unfamiliar cultures are all proof of your ability to take on new challenges beyond your comfort zone. Employers highly value such skills.
- Your world will expand: By engaging in projects and backpacking around the world you'll meet people from all walks of life who you would never have otherwise. Interacting with those from other destinations and cultural backgrounds can vastly expand your horizons and give you an entirely fresh perspective.
- You'll grow up: When you're in your regular routine very often it's easy to rely on parents and friends to help you out in a sticky situation. Sorting out your life in a new and unfamiliar setting can be daunting but very rewarding too. A long break overseas can cement your ability to stand up on your own two feet and establish some valuable life skills.
- You'll get a much deserved break: It's easy to fall into a monotonous pattern of studying for the next exam or working towards the next pay cheque without really questioning whether you're really following your goals or dreams. Taking a break from it all can help you gain more perspective and discover what really makes you 'tick.'
Ready to find your perfect canada travel insurance policy?
Stuff going wrong on holiday shouldn’t be your foremost concern. After all you’ve got rockies to see and exciting places to be! But like it or lump it, without safeguarding your travels, your entire trip could go belly up!
Compare Canada travel insurance policies to save time, worry and loads of money. You’ll be on your way to a fun, worry-free working-holiday in no time.