International SOS is a different take on standard travel insurance. While some of their plans do offer travel medical insurance, International SOS’s key benefit is emergency medical evacuation. International SOS will repatriate you to your home country or the nearest medical center of excellence in a medical emergency.
- World class medical evacuation insurance trusted by some of the biggest companies in the world
- Invaluable in a medical emergency when you need to be evacuated from a remote area
- International SOS is NOT travel health insurance (though some of their plans offer optional travel health insurance)
If you choose International SOS coverage, you should also have separate, comprehensive health insurance coverage (or sign up for International SOS’ optional health insurance).
About the Company
International SOS was founded in 1985, and now has 10,000 employees working in 70 countries, with Canadian offices in Calgary and Toronto. It’s a big company, used by non-profits, governments, and individuals around the world. In 2009, International SOS performed more than 16,000 missions, averaging about 45 per day.
International SOS employees speak over 90 languages and dialects. The International SOS network providers comprise over 60,000 accredited doctors, hospitals, ambulances and medical facilities around the world.
Who Would Benefit most from International SOS?
- Students and teachers abroad
- Cruise ship passengers. Many travel insurance policies do not cover emergency medical evacuation by helicopter from cruise ships.
- Travellers concerned about medical evacuation insurance
- Companies with employees stationed overseas, or employees that travel often
Do They Offer Standard Medical Health Insurance for Travellers?
International SOS memberships do not include medical travel health insurance. However, International SOS does offer optional travel medical insurance through their Global Traveler, Scholastic Traveler, and Visitor USA memberships.
An International SOS annual membership provides:
- 24/7 connection to worldwide infrastructure and resources, including logistics coordinators, doctors, security professionals and network providers like hospitals, physicians, ambulances and aviation resources
- No deductible
- Emergency evacuation and repatriation to $1,000,000 per incident
- Transportation to join a hospitalized member $2,500 per incident
- Accommodation while visiting a hospitalized member $2,500 per incident
- Return of a minor child $2,500 per incident
- Return of a traveling companion $2,500 per incident
- Travel arrangement after medical evacuation $2,500 per incident
- Pre-trip information on vaccinations and medical conditions for the countries you plan to visit
How to Get a Quote
You can get a quote online, directly from International SOS.
The Fine Print
If you’re interested in an International SOS membership, you need to know:
- You must apply for an International SOS membership at least one day before your trip starts.
- Accidents or injury resulting from sporting activities are not covered. These activities include martial arts, parachuting, ballooning and hang gliding, among others. Scuba diving is covered as long as you aren’t using a hard helmet with air hose attachments.
- War risks are covered if you are an innocent bystander, but active service is not covered, and you won’t be covered if you actively participate in war activities (including riots).
- Pregnancy is not covered (though there are some very specific exceptions for the first 24 weeks of pregnancy).
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered.
- Group discounts are available for groups of six or more for trips less than 90 days in length.
- Refunds are generally available by written request before the policy’s effective date.
International SOS covers 87% of the Fortune Global 100 and 65% of the Fortune Global 500 companies. Many Canadian companies, like Petro Canada, use International SOS for their overseas oil and gas operations. Over 7,000 companies around the world are clients.
Organizations use International SOS for:
- A security membership, which gives organizations with access to security information and analysis, 24/7 expert advice and assistance, and evacuation and repatriation services.
- A project membership, which provides medical support and customized evacuation for anyone working on a project site.
- A medical membership provides medical advice, assistance, and evacuation assistance for traveling employees.
- Corporate Comprehensive membership, which combines the medical and security memberships.
Quick Guide to Plans from International SOS
This video gives a quick overview of International SOS. You may want to turn off the sound, as the music’s pretty cheesy.
Canadian Office Information
#100, 111-5th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3Y6
Admin Tel: +1 (403) 517 2005
Admin Fax: +1 (403) 237 5899
80 Tiverton Court
Markham, Toronto, Ontario, Canada L3R 0G4
Admin Tel: +1 (905) 940 2444
Admin Fax: +1 (905) 940 3551
Where Can I Buy International SOS Insurance?
You can buy insurance directly from the International SOS website.
Want to Compare International SOS Insurance 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.
Still looking? Check out our reviews of Tugo travel insurance, BMO travel insurance, and Blue Cross travel insurance, and our helpful post that answers the question what type of travel insurance do I need?
As always, the information in this post is from one traveller to another and please remember, we are not travel insurance agents. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry, however, if you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing.
*As always, the information on this page is from one Canadian traveller to another. We have spent years abroad and have gotten to know the ins and outs of the industry however we are not travel insurance agents. If you have any travel insurance questions, please talk to a qualified travel insurance agent or broker. Finally, policies and plans can and do change all the time, without warning, so always consult your insurance policy since that is the legal document to which you are agreeing to.
*This article is only intended as general advice. Please check your own policy carefully.