For people with diabetes, planning a holiday includes buying travel insurance.

Although your Québec Medicare covers some of the costs of a medical emergency, it could cost you a great deal more. If you don’t have group health insurance through work or your spouse’s coverage, you should buy supplementary health insurance before your departure. Be sure to deal with a travel-insurance specialist.

We know how difficult and costly it is for people with a chronic disease to get emergency medical insurance, not to mention the numerous restrictions that limit the coverage.

The majority of travel insurance companies adequately protect people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but there are a few things to be aware of before you leave home. Contact your own insurer to learn more about their specific terms and conditions.

General terms

To avoid unpleasant surprises when making a claim, you must be transparent when you describe the current state of your health to your insurer.

In some cases, you may be required to provide the value of your glycated hemoglobin (A1C) in order to verify how well your diabetes is being controlled. Premiums can vary based on this value.

Exclusions due to pre-existing conditions

  • Any illness, injury or health condition, or any related medical condition, occurring 3 months prior to each trip.
  • Any illness, injury or health condition, or any related medical condition, for which the insured person was hospitalized in the 3 months prior to the effective date of the insurance or departure.


Many insurance companies will not pay for any emergency medical expenses unless your treatment has been stable for the previous 3 to 6 months. (“Stable” means that there has been no change in the number of insulin units, type of insulin or number of daily injections, etc.). This is one of the reasons why so many diabetics take the risk of travelling without any emergency medical insurance.

Beware: some countries require proof of travel insurance on arrival. Be sure to find out before leaving home!

Updates and adaptation: Diabetes Québec team of health care professionals

Adapted from: Bouillon, P. (Fall 1997), “Vacances de rêve ! Mais votre assurance voyage est-elle adéquate ?” Plein Soleil, Diabetes Québec, p. 9.

November 2014 (updated on July 2018)