Guide to Credit Card Emergency Medical Insurance Coverage

Last Updated on January 14, 2022
First posted on February 19, 2013

 

In the mid-2000s Emergency Travel Medical Insurance coverage began to emerge as a new insurance benefit on premium travel rewards credit cards and now it is even being added to cash back cards. Also called Out of Province Medical Coverage this type of insurance benefits covers medical needs that should arise if you are travelling outside of your home province. Think of this insurance as something like your provincial health care plan but for outside of your province. Coverage varies by card and the primary condition set out by all of them is the age of the cardholder. Ever since this type of insurance was introduced on credit cards we started receiving and still receive requests from some of Rewards Canada's 'seasoned' readers about coverage once they hit 65 years old. We first looked into this around 2010 and at that time personally responded via email to those who asked. But somehow when 2013 hit, we started to receive so many emails asking about which credit cards provide Emergency Travel Medical Insurance coverage for people over the age of 65 that we figured it was best to summarize all the information into one post.

We have gone through all of the major Travel Rewards and Cash Back credit cards in Canada that provide this insurance benefit and summarized their age coverage in the chart below.

We do want to stress however that if you are picking a card primarily for the Travel Medical Insurance coverage be sure to read the policy before you get the card to see what is and what isn't covered, what the coverage periods are and more as each card has their own 'exclusions' and such. Here are some of the things that stood out for us:

  • Most of the plans will only cover you for pre-existing conditions (known or unknown in some cases) when those conditions are/were considered stable prior to traveling. Now the difference comes in in the time period that you have to be stable, I found most cards require 90 days prior to travel but some were as high as 180 days. Now a pre-existing condition can be different than a Medical or chronic condition which is controlled but once again during that 90 or 180 day period there usually can't be any changes or other treatment for the condition. Some will not cover routine care for a chronic condition.

  • If you are traveling 9 weeks prior to or after giving birth many of the cards will not cover you if any medical issues arise that are related to the pregnancy.

  • If you are young (or young at heart) and go party in Cancun during Spring Break, many of the cards will not cover you for medical emergencies that happen while you are intoxicated.

  • Certain dangerous or professional sports are not covered, even Scuba Diving is an exclusion unless you hold a basic designation from a certified school or licencing body.

These are only a few of the conditions and/or exclusions. Key word here in many of the cases is Emergency, so if you are getting routine care for something prior to travel there is a possibility it may not be covered. Also many of the policies require you to contact the insurer as soon as possible and get approval for the treatment except where the emergency is life threatening: This excerpt is taken from the CIBC Avenutra Visa Infinite policy:

"In the event of an emergency, you must call Global Excel before seeking treatment. If it is not reasonably possible for you to contact Global Excel before seeking treatment due to the nature of your emergency, you must have someone else call on your behalf or you must call as soon as medically possible. Failure to do so may limit the benefits payable to you."

So please, before you choose a card based solely on the medical insurance please read the policies carefully of those cards that you are considering before making your decision.

Extending coverage

Many of the cards also allow you to extend your coverage for a fee should you be travelling for a period of time that exceeds the maximum time allowed by a card.

COVID-19

You will also want to check the policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as many will not cover you if you choose to travel when there is an advisory not to travel (ie avoid all non-essential travel) or if you travel to an area that is not recommended for travel.






Emergency Travel Medical Insurance Coverage Periods by Age:

Maximum coverage by age group:

  • 54 and under: 60 days - multiple cards
  • 55 - 59: 60 days - multiple cards
  • 60 - 64: 31 days - multiple cards
  • 65 - 75: 15 days - multiple cards
  • 76+: 10 days - multiple cards
Card / Age Group up to 54 55 - 59 60 - 64 65 - 75 76+
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
American Express® Aeroplan®* Business Reserve Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Credit Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
American Express Cobalt® Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
American Express® Gold Rewards Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
ATB World Elite Mastercard® 22 Days 22 Days 22 Days No coverage No coverage
BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®* 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
BMO CashBack® World Elite®* MasterCard®* 8 Days 8 Days 8 Days No coverage No coverage
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
22 days 22 days 22 days 3 days 3 days
BMO World Elite™* MasterCard®* 21 Days 21 Days 21 Days No coverage No coverage
Brim World MasterCard 8 Days 8 Days 8 Days No coverage No coverage
Brim World Elite MasterCard 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 days 3 days
Business Platinum Card® from American Express 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 days 3 days
CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 10 days 10 days
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 days 3 days
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Privilege Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 10 days 10 days
CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days No coverage No coverage
Collabria Travel Rewards Gold Card 60 Days 60 Days 31 Days 10 Days No coverage
Collabria World Card 60 Days 60 Days 31 Days 10 Days No coverage
Collabria Visa Infinite Card 60 Days 60 Days 31 Days 10 Days No coverage
Desjardins Cash Back World Elite®Mastercard® 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days
Desjardin Odyssey® Gold Visa* 60 Days 60 Days 31 Days 15 Days No coverage
Desjardin Odyssey® World Elite® Mastercard® 60 Days 60 Days 31 Days 15 Days No coverage
Desjardin Odyssey® Visa* Infinite Privilege 60 Days 60 Days 31 Days 15 Days No coverage
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days No coverage No coverage
Laurentian Bank Visa Infinite 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 15 Days No coverage
MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® 21 Days 21 Days 21 Days No coverage No coverage
Meridian Visa Infinite* Cash Back Card 48 Days 48 Days 23 Days 15 Days No coverage
Meridian Visa Infinite* Travel Rewards Card 48 Days 48 Days 23 Days 15 Days No coverage
National Bank of Canada World Elite Mastercard 60 Days 31 Days 31 Days 15 Days No coverage
National Bank of Canada World Mastercard 60 Days 31 Days 31 Days 15 Days No coverage
National Bank of Canada Platinum Mastercard 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days No coverage
PC Financial World Elite Mastercard 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days No coverage No coverage
The Platinum Card® from American Express 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
RBC Avion Visa Infinite 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 days 3 days
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 days 3 days
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
RBC Rewards Visa Preferred 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
Rogers World Elite Mastercard 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days 3 Days No coverage
Scotia Gold American Express Card 25 Days 25 Days 25 Days 3 Days 3 Days
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card 25 Days 25 Days 25 Days 3 Days 3 Days
Scotiabank®* Platinum American Express® Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 10 days 10 days
ScotiaGold Passport® VISA* card 25 Days 25 Days 25 Days No coverage No coverage
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business card 25 Days 25 Days 25 Days 10 days 10 days
Scotia Momentum® VISA* Infinite card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
Scotiabank® GM®* VISA* Infinite Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
Servus Credit Union World Elite® Mastercard® 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage
Servus Credit Union Gold Mastercard® 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage
SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No coverage No coverage
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card 21 Days 21 Days 21 Days 4 Days 4 Days
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 4 Days 4 Days
TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card 21 Days 21 Days 21 Days 4 Days 4 Days
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days 4 Days 4 Days
Vancity enviro™ Visa Infinite Privilege* card 22 Days 22 Days 22 Days 3 days 3 days
WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 days 3 days

 

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