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.kvr tunnel walk naramata bc

Australia

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’

Ireland

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.

New Zealand

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.

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United Kingdom

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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Gemma
Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Gemma is happiest with a paddle in her hand, on the trail or planning the next big adventure.

6 Comments

  1. Hi Gemma, I am Australian, currently doing a 2 year working holiday visa in the UK, but traveling to Canada for an IEC. Do you know nay policies I would be able to sign up for?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Melinda

      The only insurance company I am aware of that will cover Australians starting a policy away from Australia is World Nomads

  2. Hi Gemma, I have been granted an IEC visa, I want it to be valid for the two years but I don’t want to necessary stay there for two years. The idea is I go for 3/4 months say, before returning home. However, I would like to keep
    my options open and be able to return to Canada in the two year period. I also don’t want to be paying for insurance for the full two years if I am not there. I assume It’s possible to enter and leave Canada as many times as I like during the two year period?

    I applied on my U.K. Passport but I have been living in Australia as a resident, and have become an Australian citizen since being granted my IEC Visa so will be travelling from oz(my Australian address and residency was on my IEC application). So another option I am looking at is if it’s possible to reapply on an Australian passport now I can obtain one, even thought I have been granted the IEC on my uk passport. The reason being is I have to enter Canada by end of June 2017, however I am still in two minds financially as paying off debts and it would be more suitable for me to leave at a later date(I was granted my IEC a lot quicker then anticipated). I will be 31 in November 17 so would have to apply by then with Australian passport.

    Otherwise 3rd option is to go on a holiday before end of June to validate and get the two years granted and then return later(rather then quitting my job and going for 3/4 months as per option one), but again that will go back to my intial question on insurance options to get a visa for two years to come and go as I please, and also if it’s possible to enter and re-enter during the two years.

    Thanks for any input or advice. Sorry it’s long winded but wanted to include all the facts. You run a great site and I have been finding your ebook on whv in Canada most helpful.
    🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hey Lucy,

      Wow, a lot of questions! OK, let’s see if I don’t miss anything. You can enter and re-enter Canada with the IEC subject to normal entry requirements (i.e. it is not technically a visa and as such does not guarantee entry). The usual problem with entering and leaving is with insurance. Most insurance policies do not allow you to return to your home country for 10 or more days. Some do not even allow you to return at all without invalidating the policy. To receive the full 2 year work permit on arrival it is necessary to have 2 years insurance – if you do not, then you risk being given a work permit to the length of your insurance (or no permit at all if you don’t have any insurance).

      Australian insurance by the way (as in, coverage for Australians) is VERY expensive, much more expensive than insurance for UK residents/citizens. Be aware though that you may not be eligible for many UK insurance policies as you have not been resident there for a while.

      It seems like you have two options –

      Go to Canada before your POE expires, activate your work permit with two years insurance. If you need to go home directly afterwards, that is OK, provided your insurance provider allows it (as mentioned, not many do and only for a short time). True Traveller allows you to return home for an indefinite time period without invalidating your policy is True Traveller. With your living situation, they are also one of the few UK insurers that you may be eligible to get a policy with.

      Second option is to apply for the Australian quota. I would do this before September as the pools closed in early autumn last year. You must receive an invite before your 31st birthday to be eligible.

  3. Hi Gemma
    I am going to Canada from New Zealand and looking for travel insurance options…and a bit lost. The link for ‘Down Under Insurance’ under New Zealand doesn’t seem to work, even when I searched it on Google. Would you please be able to recommend a travel insurance company / companies for someone going from New Zealand for the full 23 month period?
    Thank you 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      The link to Down Under insurance goes directly to the booking page. As mentioned in the description on my page, you will need to call them to purchase the 23/24 month IEC policy. Alternatively, you could also book 2 x 1 year policies with World Nomads who are also linked on this page.

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