Choosing a 2 year IEC Travel Insurance Policy

The IEC working holiday visa for Canada is 24 months for most countries, which means you need a 2 year IEC travel insurance policy. In this article, we’ll tell you what to look out for, the essential requirements of travel insurance, questions to ask, and at the very end, we list and link to the companies which offer 24-month travel insurance policies.

Essential Requirements

  • The policy must cover the entire length of your stay. The immigration officer who issues your work permit on arrival will only issue a visa for the length of your travel insurance policy. So, if you’re trying to save money and only opt for a 1-year policy, be aware that you will only be issued a 1-year work permit, and it can’t be extended once it’s issued.
  • Your IEC travel insurance policy must cover medical care, hospitalization and repatriation to your home country.
  • Comprehensive winter sports cover is essential for all Winter Sports Company clients. We recommend taking a high level of winter sports cover, especially if you expect to ski or snowboard in the back-country or snow park.
  • You are looking for a ‘long-stay’ or a ‘single trip’ policy. A multi-trip policy is standard travel insurance for holidays but usually, it only insures you for trips 30 days or less and is not suitable for IEC travel insurance.
  • The added extras – consider everything! This insurance may save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Choosing the Right Insurer

Insurance companies all have different terms and conditions – before you commit to a policy, read the fine print. For example, some policies may include a clause of proof of intent to return to your home country at the end of your visa. If you can’t prove this, any claims you make may be rejected.

Trips home and further travelling – some companies have a condition written into their policies that you can only travel outside of Canada once or twice (this includes trips home). If you are planning further travel or may extend your stay after your visa expires, look for an IEC travel insurance policy with ‘extensions possible’.

Pre-existing medical conditions will need to be declared and checked to see if they are covered in your policy. If you need medical attention during travel, paying more for insurance to cover pre-existing conditions will be worthwhile.

Don’t forget, Travel Insurance companies are smart – and they will investigate. This can include checking your travel records and medical records to refuse pay-outs if you break the terms of your insurance.

Questions to Ask

What is the level of cover before I travel? 

It is a good idea to opt for a policy with cancellation cover from the date you purchase insurance until the day you travel – most policies will include this as standard.

How are claims handled?

Some insurance companies require you to pay for things upfront and then claim reimbursement. Others deal with claims directly – be clear on this policy. It will cause you less stress if you have an unexpected trip to the hospital and you know what proof you need to make a claim.

Where can I view my documents? 

You need a printed proof of insurance for IEC to enter the country. Most insurance companies offer digital proof of insurance – so save it to your computer.

Does the policy have financial failure protection? 

This means you can claim if a company that is providing you with part of your trip goes into liquidation.

Is there a free-phone claims line, and what is the number for calling outside the country?

Put this number in your phone – then you have quick access to it in emergencies.

Am I covered for trips outside of Canada?

If you think you’ll take impromptu trips south of the border to the USA, or holidays further afield, make sure your insurance covers these.

What is your policy on trips home?

Some insurers do not allow trips home, others only allow a couple, and some allow unlimited trips back and forth. Be wise and realistic; returning to your home country may seem unlikely. However, you don’t want to void your insurance if you need to make a trip home for a family emergency.

Are luggage and personal items covered?

This includes ski and snowboard equipment – if you’ve got a lot of expensive stuff, find out if it’s covered and how much for.

Can I make changes to my policy?

Do you think you might extend your trip or want to add an extra level of cover at a later date? If so, check if this is possible – some insurance policies are iron clad after the initial cooling off period.

What is your policy on pre-existing medical conditions?

If you need cover for existing conditions, ask as many questions as possible about it, and get something in writing before you commit to the policy.

Is there an excess waiver, and how much is it?

Insurance companies usually offer an excess waiver which means if you need to claim, you don’t have to pay anything towards your claim.

Is this the best price you can do?

This is always worth an ask! Travel insurance can be expensive, but never be afraid to phone up. Ask if there is an active discount code or if you can have a discount for booking insurance well in advance.

24 Month Travel Insurance Providers

Links to Insurers:

True Traveller
BigCat Travel insurance
Fast Cover Travel Insurance

For short term travel and winter sports cover, check out our insurance page.



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