The International Experience Canada offers the chance to live and work in Canada for up to two years. A requirement of the program is to have health insurance covering the length of your stay in Canada.
Citizens of Australia, Ireland and the UK are eligible to apply for a 24-month work permit, while New Zealanders can apply for a 23-month work permit. 23 months or more is a long time to potentially be travelling and working abroad. For this reason, there are very few travel insurance companies offering policies lasting this length of time. With this in mind, read on for the results of my research into IEC insurance options for these nationalities.
Fast Cover – Comprehensive policies with Fast Cover allow for unlimited trips home. An initial 12-month policy can be purchased and then extended for another 12 months on the departure date, totalling the 24 months needed for the full IEC working holiday participation. Purchasers can leave Australia on a one-way ticket (travel must start in Australia) and do not have to have a return ticket home in order to claim.
See also Down Under Insurance – Details below under ‘New Zealand’
True Traveller – see under ‘United Kingdom’ below for policy details. TT policies allow unlimited trips home.
Essential Travel – Available for Irish citizens who have been living in Ireland for the last six months, Essential Travel offer 24-month policies with winter sports coverage available as an add-on. Purchasers can return home once for a trip lasting 14 days in duration.
Down Under Insurance – Not advertised on their website, you’ll need to call Down Under to be able to purchase their ’24 month International Experience Canada’ policy. There are three levels of coverage – Backpacker, Explorer and Comprehensive. Winter sports coverage can be added on to the Explorer and Comprehensive policies. Policy must be started while still in New Zealand and unlimited trips home are allowed.
True Traveller – Travel insurance policies are available up to 24 months in length. The policies can be started if you’re already travelling. Unlimited visits home are allowed (cover is suspended) plus winter sports coverage is available and there are no minimum residency requirements. I’ve used True Traveller twice myself and would have continued using them if I had not become a Permanent Resident of Canada. *TT cover is also available for permanent residents of other EEA countries such as Germany, France, Czech Republic and Greece*
Alpha – Long stay travel policies from Alpha are available for trips up to 24 months in length. Two return trips home are allowed, for up to 21 days each time. Various activity packs with winter sports included are available. Policies from Alpha must be started from the UK (so you can’t already be travelling). Purchasers must not have spent more than six months away from the UK in the last year before taking out the policy.
NOTE – ‘Proof of intent to return home’ to the UK may be required to claim on an Alpha policy e.g. Return flight, Confirmation of university place, Rental agreement etc. Full details in Alpha’s FAQ section.
Also check Backpacker Travel Insurance.
For all nationalities
World Nomads– Insurance from World Nomads is available for travellers from over 140 countries. Easy to buy online, policies can be started if you’ve already started travelling. 24-month policies are not available, but it is possible to buy 2 x 1 year policies instead.
Always read the policy wording to decide which IEC insurance provider and policy is right for you. All details correct at time of writing (20th October 2016) but are subject to change. Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means if you buy IEC insurance through this click I receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
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