IEC Travel Insurance Guide

Travel insurance can provide cover for many of the unexpected situations you might experience on holiday while you are working and travelling throughout Canada. This guide covers the different benefits and exclusions to look for in a policy, and answers some frequently asked questions about travelling for taking out travel insurance for the IEC.

The IEC is a program a lot of traveller participate in because of the experience to travel and work in a foreign country. 

From the Rocky Mountains to trekking in the National Park in Jasper to skiing in Whistler, Canada has many adventures for every type of traveller. Because of the limited accepted participants each year it is advised to book early so your spot in the program is secure!

Like most destinations Canada is not without some risks. It is advised that you look into the visa requirements and work permits before purchasing a policy so you are covered for all the things needed to stay for up to two years. 

Travel insurance can provide cover for emergency situations, possible loss of luggage, potential travel delays and cancellations whilst on the IEC. 

This IEC travel insurance guide will help you to compare your travel insurance policy options for the IEC, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about travel insurance.

What is IEC travel insurance?

Travel insurance for IEC may provide cover for some of the various emergencies you might experience while travelling in Canada.

Canada is located in the northern part of North America. Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories extending to the Atlantic, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It spans over 9.98 million square kilometres! This makes Canada the second largest country by it's total area. Though Canada is sparsely populated, majority of its land is dominated by tundra and forests. The capital of Canada is Ottawa with the three major cities being Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Canada's climate ranges from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern region and four distinct seasons. Depending on the time you go will determine the clothing you will need. 

Fast Cover travel insurance can provide some cover for the unexpected costs of an emergency. We provide:

1) 24 hour emergency assistance

If you experience an emergency overseas you’ll be able to contact the 24 hour emergency assistance team to guide you.

They can help to coordinate your transport to a medical facility, organise translation assistance, fly relatives to your location if you’re seriously injured, or even arrange to transport you home to Australia if it’s required.

2) Cover for overseas emergency expenses

Travel insurance can cover the unexpected costs of an overseas emergency, for example:

  • If you’re hospitalised due to an injury. For example, after being injured in from a skiing accident or car accident.
  • Having to replace belongings after they were stolen from your hostel.
  • For a more complete list of what IEC travel insurance can provide cover for, see the list of benefits including limits and exclusions in your travel insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
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Can I get IEC travel insurance?

Travel insurance for IEC is generally available to:

  • Travellers going on short working holidays, or working holidays stretching for up to two years. The age limit for applying for the IEC is between 18 and 30.
  • Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents. See 'Can I buy a policy?' in our FAQ section for more details and check with the IEC visa requirements. 
  • Travellers do not need a medical exam to apply for the IEC but to take out a policy with you will need to be aware of some pre-existing medical conditions travel insurance companies do not cover for. Travellers with acceptable pre-existing medical conditions are eligible to be covered for their pre-existing medical conditions listed. The pre-existing medical conditions covered by travel insurance will vary between insurers, so it is advised  to check the PDS before purchasing a policy.
  • If you will be participating in adventurous activities such as motorcycling, bungee jumping or scuba diving it is a good idea to take out an Adventure Pack with your insurer. Some may have automatically included activities so be sure to check with your insurance provider. 
  • Travellers who will be participating in snow sports

You will be able to find travel insurance policies for:

  • Singles or solo travellers
  • Duo travellers including spouses, couples, friends and work mates
  • Gap year students
  • Groups
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Why should I consider buying travel insurance for IEC?

Whether you’re staying in a home or a hostel, hitting the slopes, or going on a trek to see some of the amazing sites Canada has to offer, there are some risks you’ll be exposed to when travelling for the IEC.

If are in an emergency while on your working holiday in Canada, your travel insurer's emergency assistance team may be able to direct you to local assistance, coordinate alternative transport, and act as a guarantor for overseas emergency medical expenses.

Some of the common unexpected situations you may experience in Canada for the IEC include:


Participating in Snow Sports is a common past time for travellers in the IEC.

IEC travel insurance can provide assistance if you are injured whilst participating in not only Snow Sports but other injuries that are medically related. 

If you end up with a broken bone or become injured while travelling while participating in activities that we cover for including surfing, scuba diving or hiking you have a team of expert medical assistance that is able to aid you in the event of an emergency. 

You are able to claim back on medical expenses as long as the activities you will be participating in are covered by your insurance provider. 

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Emergency medical repatriation

If you are injured or sick when you are travelling Fast Cover have a 24/7 emergency medical assistance team that will be able to organise repatriation if they deem necessary for you to return home to Australia for treatment. 

The emergency medical assistance team is able to organise transport to your home and to be accompanied by a registered and approved nurse.


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Your belongings being lost, stolen or damaged

If your bag is lost, stolen or damaged we are able to assist under the Luggage and Personal Effects benefit. If someone grabs your bag while you are travelling or tries to rip your possessions out of your hands there may be provision to claim under your insurance policy. Remember that there are thieves that target tourists around local shopping centres or upmarket areas. Be wary!

If you will be staying at a hostel or accommodation where there is not much security your belongings may be stolen from your room.  

In many cases travel insurance may be able to provide cover for your losses. You will need to obtain a police report within 24 hours of the theft to submit with your claim. 

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Experiencing complications with pre-existing medical condition

If your insurer covers you for a pre-existing medical condition that you have, and your condition leads you to further complications while travelling, your insurer may be able to assist you. 

Pre-existing medical conditions that can be covered vary from insurer to insurer. Conditions may include diabetes, food intolerances, high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as asthma for under 60 year olds. 

Always check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the full terms and conditions of a policy.

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Personal liability

Your travel insurance policy may also include Personal Liability Insurance

This is a benefit in your policy that can work should a claim be made against you for the death or injury of a person, or the physical loss or damage to property. Travel insurance may be able to assist in the payment of compensation and legal expenses whilst on your working holiday. 

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Which travel insurance benefits should I consider?

The travel insurance benefits you can receive for your IEC trip will vary between insurers and the level of cover you select. Always read the insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement for full policy benefits and conditions.

Generally, you may wish to keep an eye out for these key benefits:

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24 Hour Emergency Assistance

When overseas you will have access to your 24/7 emergency medical assistance team. If they are unable to assist whether you have an emergency or you're just not sure about something while overseas, you’ll have 24 hour access to the emergency assistance team.

They’re available to assist whether you have an emergency or you’re just not sure about something. If you’re sick and not sure where to find a doctor, or your luggage has been stolen and you’re not sure what to do, the emergency assistance team will be able to help.

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Overseas Emergency Medical & Hospital Expenses

This benefit provides cover for unexpected overseas medical expenses such as doctor’s consultations, prescribed medications such as antibiotics, the cost of staying in hospital and medical treatment such as surgeries. In serious cases, you may also be repatriated home to Australia if necessary.

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Pre-existing Medical Conditions

If you have a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you will find various insurers that can provide cover for it.

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Cover for Unexpected Cancellations

Cancellations can occur during any trip. Having cancellation as a benefit covers you for rescheduling fees and lost deposits you cannot recover in any other way such as a tour or guided group that you have prepaid for.  

The cancellation benefit can also provide cover should you, your travelling companion, or your relative, become unexpectedly sick or injured before you leave for the IEC and you’re no longer able to travel.

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Luggage & Personal Effects Cover

It would be devastating to lose your GoPro, camera equipment, laptop or phone while on holiday for the IEC.

This benefit allows you to make a claim if your luggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged while you are away for two years or more.

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Travel Delays

If you will be travelling to other countries while overseas for the IEC like to Asia or Europe is you have travel delays as a benefit you can be covered for the unexpected that could occur. 

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Additional Expenses

If your holiday is disrupted because you, your travelling companion or a family member back home is sick or injured, a natural disaster occurs or your travel documents have been stolen, you may be able to claim for any additional accommodation, travel or travel document replacement costs.

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Special Event Transport Expenses

If you plan to be back in Australia for a wedding and your planned transport is delayed or cancelled, special event transport expenses cover can reimburse you for the cost of another mode of transport to ensure you get to your event or destination on time.

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Cover for Adventure Activities

Will you be going on tours down the mountains in Canada? Or do you plan to go on a hike, go bungee jumping or hire a moped? In these cases you may find travel insurance doesn’t provide cover automatically. You may need to add on an additional Adventure Pack so that you’ll have cover should you become sick or injured while doing the activity.

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Hospital Cash Allowance

Your policy may be able to provide you with some extra cash if you are hospitalised for more than a certain period to cover any daily hospital expenses.

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Luggage and Personal Effects Delay Expenses

If your luggage is lost or misdirected, you may end up needing to buy extra clothing, toiletries, or supplies. You can make a claim for these expenses if you have this policy benefit included.

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Rental Vehicle Excess

If you’re planning to rent a car while in on your IEC, you might find that there’s a significant excess that applies should you damage the rental vehicle. This travel insurance benefit will allow you to claim for the excess you would pay if your rental car is damaged in an accident.

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Theft of Cash

Travellers are advised to take particular care of their wallet when they travel on the IEC. If someone does steal your money or belongings, you can make a claim and be reimbursed if this benefit is included in your policy.

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Travel Documents

It can be frustrating having to replace a lost or stolen passport. At least with cover for travel documents, you know you’ll be able to claim for the extra cost involved in replacing it.

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Loss of Income

If you become disabled while travelling for the IEC after suffering an injury, such as from a motorcycling accident, then you may be entitled to a weekly benefit from your travel insurer.

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Accidental Death

A death benefit can be paid to your estate if you become injured during your IEC holiday and die within 12 months, or if you’re travelling and your transport sinks, crashes or disappears and you’re presumed dead and your body isn’t found within 12 months.

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Personal Liability

Every so often, a traveller can become involved in a legal case regarding someone’s death or injury or damage to property. The personal liability benefit may provide cover for settling or defending a claim against you, or the payment of compensation.

Frequently asked questions about IEC travel insurance

Many Australian travellers headed to Canada on a holiday ask questions about travel insurance and what it covers.

Questions about cover for popular activities like motorcycle and moped riding, adventure sports, health and safety risks, and pre-existing medical conditions are among the top most frequently asked questions. Many travellers are also unsure about the best time to purchase a travel insurance policy.

Find answers to these FAQs about IEC travel insurance below.


When should I consider purchasing travel insurance?

You can purchase travel insurance for your trip to Canada up until you board the plane or cruise ship taking you to the islands. If you’re overseas and remember you don’t have travel insurance, there are a few insurers who will still be able to provide you with a policy.

However, the earlier you purchase travel insurance the earlier your cancellation cover will be in place.

This means that should you become sick or injured before your trip and you’re no longer able to travel, or there’s a natural disaster while travelling to Canada and your flights have been cancelled, you can claim for:

  • The costs of accommodation you’ve already paid
  • The cost of any tours you’ve already booked
  • The cost of your flights (or the frequent flyer points used on your flights)
  • The deposit made towards your cruise
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Can I buy cover for riding motorcycles while on the IEC?

Some travel insurance policies provide automatic cover for motorcycling, others may require you to purchase an additional premium to ‘add-on’ cover, while other travel insurers will exclude motorcycling altogether.

To be sure, check your travel insurer’s PDS.

General exclusions to motorcycle riding:

Various insurers will not honour your claim, even if they do provide cover for motorcycling, if:

  • You were riding without a motorcycling license (you will need an International Motorcycling Licence).
  • If you’re breaking the law. In Canada it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
  • If you’re intoxicated while riding a motorcycle, or have taken illicit drugs.
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Does travel insurance cover natural disasters?

Travel insurance may provide cover for expenses related to natural disasters, depending on your policy and level of cover. For example:

  • Injuries sustained during a natural disaster, or emergency repatriation for medical emergencies.
  • Lost deposits for unused flights, accommodation or tour bookings.
  • The cost of damaged or lost personal belongings, travel documents and luggage.
  • The cost of extra nights of accommodation and meals.
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Does travel insurance cover terrorism?

Various insurers exclude cover for terrorism. You would likely have cover for any medical costs associated with becoming injured as a result of a terrorist attack. However, you wouldn’t have cover for the costs of cancelling your holiday because you’re worried about a potential terrorist attack.

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Would I have cover for elective dental or medical procedures?

You may be able to find cheaper elective medical surgery while travelling abroad, including breast enlargements, liposuction and botox, however this is generally excluded from travel insurance. So if you experience a complication as a result of the surgery, either while you’re in Canada or after you return home, you won’t be covered by travel insurance.

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What generally isn't covered by travel insurance?

There are a number of instances that travel insurance will generally not provide you with cover.

These may include:

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If you are breaking the law

If you become injured while breaking the law, you will generally not have your hospital and medical expenses covered by travel insurance. This includes riding a motorcycle without the required helmet, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

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If you are intoxicated or have taken illicit drugs

It’s not illegal to have a drink while in Canada, but if you’ve drunk alcohol excessively, your travel insurance will be void. That means if you’re under the influence of alcohol and you stumble and hurt yourself, you won’t have cover for medical expenses. 

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If you do an activity that isn’t covered by your policy

If you’re riding a moped and it’s not covered by your travel insurance policy, you’ll be responsible for paying your medical and hospital expenses. Ensure you have cover for the activities you plan to do in Canada.

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Unsupervised belongings

If something of yours is stolen while unattended, your insurer is unlikely to reimburse you. If you leave your bag with your wallet and passport inside it on the beach while you go for a swim, this will be considered leaving your belongings ‘unattended’ or ‘unsupervised’. So make sure you keep your belongings with you at all times or keep them in a secure location.

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Sexually transmitted infections

Travel insurance generally excludes cover for medical expenses related to sexually transmitted infections or diseases.

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Regular medical check-ups

Because regular check-ups or filling regular prescriptions are not considered medical emergencies, travel insurance generally excludes cover for these expenses. If you require regular medication, bring enough of what you’ll need for your holiday before you leave.

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Ignoring official warnings

Should the Australian Government release a warning on Smartraveller that certain areas are no longer safe to travel to and you choose to travel there anyway, your travel insurance may be void.

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Disappointing holidays

Perhaps the weather was bad or your accommodation didn’t live up to the pictures online. Whatever the reason you’re unhappy with how your holiday has shaped up, your travel insurance generally won’t compensate you because you didn’t enjoy your time there.

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What can IEC travel insurance do for me?

Travel insurance is your resource to better deal with many of the unexpected situations you might experience while travelling on the IEC.

Depending on your travel insurance policy and the level of cover, your insurer may be able to provide advice and direction in an emergency, as well as lessen the financial burden if you experience out-of-pocket expenses as a result of an emergency.

Your insurer may be able to:

  • Organise emergency repatriation home
  • Act as a guarantor for hospital bills
  • Manage your medical treatment in Canada
  • Provide advice and direction during an emergency at any time
  • Organise your flights home or accommodation in an emergency
  • Communicate with your family or employer
  • Liaise with the nearest embassy or consulate
  • Access interpreters in non-English speaking hospitals

With Fast Cover travel insurance for the IEC, you can travel with the peace of mind that the emergency assistance team is available 24/7 should you need them.

What do I do in an emergency?

In the event of an emergency:

  1. Seek assistance immediately. If the emergency requires medical assistance go to a doctor or a hospital. You should report theft or lost belongings as soon as possible to your airline, hotel or hostel management and the police.
  2. Contact your travel insurer as soon as possible. They can assist you, manage your case and organise help.
  3. If required, contact the Australian Embassy.
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