Getting travel insurance

We were planning to travel to be out of Ontario for most of our trip (five months in the U.S. and five more in Canada) so travel insurance was a necessity. Here’s the hitch: travel insurance piggy-backs on top of your Ontario health insurance and if you lose your Ontario health insurance, the insurance provided by the travel insurance company become a lot less generous.

To maintain Ontario health insurance coverage (OHIP), you have to remain a resident of Ontario for at least five months of the year. We wanted to leave for ten months, so that meant getting a three-month OHIP extension before we could book our travel insurance.

How do you get an OHIP extension? There are provisions for learning and working abroad, but according to the Ontario government’s website, anyone can apply for one by visiting a ServiceOntario location. So, off we went to the nearest ServiceOntario where we stood in line for half an hour … only to learn that this service is only offered by a select few ServiceOntario locations. Nothing like a nice brisk walk downtown Toronto.

We got ourselves to a ServiceOntario location that processed OHIP travel extensions… only to learn that there are three very specific pieces of ID you need (also not something identified on the government’s website). We had passports and credit cards (2/3) but not something they considered proof of residency. For that, they needed a Driver’s licence with our current address. Problem was, we hadn’t received those yet. But surely, since this was the same organization that had processed our address change that would appear on our new driver’s licence they had everything they needed on record. Nope. How about the paper licences they had issued themselves? Nope. They needed the final, plastic licences that hadn’t even been mailed yet, never mind received. We would have to wait.

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