Group Medical Services (GMS) is one of Canada’s biggest travel insurance companies, and offers insurance to both individuals and groups in Canada. GMS is based in Saskatchewan.

Advantages

  • Easy to get an online quote and determine all insurance premiums
  • A wide range of travel insurance options
  • Dependents under the age of 16 are covered for free when traveling with paying adults.
  • Fast, easy online quote system.

Disadvantages

  • Travel insurance policy documents are dense with legal jargon
  • Like most travel insurance policies, GMS’ plans have a proportional increase in price with age, and can be expensive for older people
  • GMS TravelStar® medical travel insurance does not cover sporting activities like bungee jumping, parachuting, mountaineering, skydiving or hang gliding. If you’re going to be doing a lot of sporting and adventure activities on your trip, check out World Nomads travel insurance as an alternative.
  • Pre-existing conditions must be stable for 180 days
  • You must fill out a medical questionnaire if you’re 60 years or older

Overview

The company offers travel insurance under the TravelStar® emergency medical insurance plans. The travel insurance plans offered are:

  • Emergency Medical Multi-Trip Annual Plan
  • Single Trip Emergency Medical Plan
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption
  • Baggage, Loss, Damage & Delay Plan

GMS also offers immigrants and visitors to Canada insurance and a student travel insurance plan.

Policies and coverage can change at any time, without warning. This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.

GMS TravelStar® Emergency Medical Insurance Plans

GMS offers two types of TravelStar® emergency medical insurance plans:

  • Single-Trip Emergency Medical Plan
  • Multi-Trip Annual Emergency Medical Plan

These plans offer $5 million in emergency medical benefits. Plans have up to 24 benefits including ambulance, hospital, physician, health practitioners and private duty nursing expenses.

TravelStar® Single Trip Emergency Medical Plan

This plan provides coverage for a single trip. You can choose between a $0, $250, $500 and $1,000 deductible, and travel for up to 183 days. You can purchase extensions on your policy after you’ve left on your trip.

TravelStar® Annual (Multi-Trip) Emergency Medical Plan

This plan, well suited for people who travel more than once a year, provides coverage for unlimited trips within the year. You can choose a plan for 15 or 30 days of travel, with  with an option of extending it with a single trip plan.

TravelStar® Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage

TravelStar® Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage plan provides cover for non-refundable airfare, cancellation penalties and any prepaid travel arrangements incurred.

If your trip is interrupted you leave on your trip, this plan covers out-of-pocket costs such as taxi fare, telephone calls, accommodation of up to $500 per day and meals and transportation cost required to rejoin a tour group. Some of the acceptable reasons for cancellation include pregnancy, emergency medical conditions, death of a close relation, employment & occupation and government advisories.

For single trip plans, trip cancellation coverage is based on your trip value. For multi-trip plans, you can choose between $1,500, $2,500 or $5,000 in coverage. Trip interruption is a maximum of $10,000 for both single trip and multi-trip plans.

TravelStar® Baggage Loss, Damage and Delay Coverage

You can buy additional Baggage Loss, Damage and Delay coverage when you have purchased the Trip Cancellation and Interruption plan or Emergency Medical coverage. This insurance includes a maximum of $1,500 in coverage per person, per trip, including:

  • $100 to replace currency lost due to robbery or theft
  • $100 to replace essential documents including driver’s license and passport
  • $400 to replace personal items in case baggage has been delayed for at least 12 hours
  • $500 to replace an item or given set of items

You can buy additional coverage for sporting goods, computer equipment, or specific items to be used by you during your trip.

Like most baggage loss, damage and delay policies, TravelStars® coverage has many exclusions for coverage. Coverage does not cover theft of glasses or contact leanses, jewelry, bicycles (except when checked as baggage), theft of handheld electronic devices, and theft of unaccompanied baggage or personal effects.

Immigrants & Visitors to Canada Insurance

This is a great plan for Super Visa applicants, visitors with extended stays and regular visitors to Canada. No medical questions are asked for anybody under 55 years of age. This plan gives 365 days of uninterrupted coverage for emergency medical expenses. There are no waiting periods when you apply before arriving in Canada.

Coverage in the USA and Mexico is included if you’re visiting from outside North America. You can also return to your country of origin as many times as you’d like, without needing to re-apply for coverage when you come back to Canada.

You choose:

  • deductibles of $0, $100, $500 or $1,000
  • coverage amounts  of $25,000, $50,000 $100,000 or $150,000 are available

Student Plan

The Student Plan is available for students under the age of 55 who want to study outside their province of residence.  It provides cover for up to $2 million in emergency medical coverage along with 17 other comprehensive benefits including the cost of hospital rooms, ambulance services, in-hospital drugs and diagnostic tests.

Comparison of GMS TravelStar® Insurance Plans

PlanMedical Insurance CoverageDeductibleTrip Cancellation and InterruptionBaggageMaximum Age
TravelStar® Single Trip Emergency Medical PlanUp to 5 million
variableNo age limit
TravelStar® Annual (Multi-Trip) Emergency Medical PlanUp to 5 million
variableBelow age 79
TravelStar® Trip Cancellation and InterruptionvariableMulti-trip choose between $1,500, $2,500 or $5,000 trip cancellation. Single trip (trip value). 10,000 trip interruption.No age limit
TravelStar® Baggage, Loss Damage & Delayvariable$1,500 per person, per tripNo age limit

Tips for Saving with GMS TravelStar® Travel Insurance

  • When you bundle the Trip Cancellation & Interruption coverage plan with the Emergency Medical coverage plan (and vice versa), you can save 10 percent
  • Children under the age of 16 are covered for free when they travel with a paying adult

You Need to Know

  • Pre-existing medical exclusions are available for medical conditions and symptoms that existed before your trip.
  • You must contact GMS when possible before you get medical treatment. If you fail to do so, your benefits may be limited to $50,000 or 70% of reasonable and customary expenses, whichever is less.
  • Policies and coverage can change at any time, without warning. This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.
  • You must purchase your travel insurance before you leave on your trip. World Nomads is one of the only insurers we’ve found that offer insurance if you’ve already left on your trip.

Refunds and Cancellations

For the Single Trip Plan: You can get a full refund if you cancel before the effective date. You can get a partial, pro-rated, refund if no claim has been made, you make the request in writing within 30 days after returning to your province and the refund request is for over $5.

For the Multi-trip Plan: You can get a full refund if you cancel before the effective date. However, partial, pro-rated refunds are only allowed in the case of your death, and if no claim has been made, a request is made in writing 90 days from your date of death, and the refund request is for over $5.

How to Buy

You can get a quote online with GMS, or call them at 1 800 667 3699.

Want to Compare GMS Rates?

The easiest way to compare Canadian travel insurance rates is to use a comparison website.

Comparison websites, like Kanetix.ca, let you compare quotes for travel insurance from several different companies at once. Type in a few details about your trip, and compare policy coverage and prices to help narrow down your choice. Check out our review of Kanetix.ca.

*As always, the information in this post is from one Canadian traveller to another and please remember, we are not travel insurance agents. We have just spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry. If you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, insurance plans can and do change all the time so always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.