Insurance equals peace of mind

You’ve found a job (congrats!), a place to live and even a car. You’re finally ready to make the move to Montréal! All that’s left is to sort out your insurance. Make sure that your home, your car and, above all, yourself and your family are properly insured to enjoy your new life. 
Essentials for health insurance Because health is the most precious commodity you have, health insurance is a must. In Québec, public plans cover the vast majority of services. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about obtaining health insurance and medication coverage as a newcomer to Canada. 
Before you can start working in Québec, you’ll need to obtain your health insurance card by registering with the RAMQ (the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec). This card gives you free access to the Québec health network and the public prescription drug insurance plan, so you can enjoy the various services offered by the government when it comes to all things health. 

When you register for the RAMQ for the first time, you’re automatically enrolled in the prescription drug insurance plan as it’s mandatory. You’ll still be required to pay for prescriptions at the pharmacy (up to $100 a month), but the rest of your expenses will be covered by your insurance. 

It can take up to three months to process your file once you register for your health card. Make sure you apply as soon as you arrive to speed up the eligibility process.
Thanks to social security agreements between Québec and certain European countries, you may not have to wait for approval. Check out the list of participating countries to see if it applies to you.

For more details on the eligibility criteria for the health insurance plan for foreign workers, visit the dedicated page on the RAMQ website.
Since you may only be eligible for public health insurance after the waiting period, you’ll need to get temporary insurance to make sure you’re covered in the meantime. Any healthcare you receive before your RAMQ membership is confirmed will not be reimbursed, with some exceptions. 

To cover any health-related expenses, we recommend that you sign up for temporary private insurance within five days of your arrival. Several institutions, like Desjardins, offer customized Visitor to Canada insurance for your first few months in the country. 

Healthcare coverage - what to expect
Your health insurance card gives you free access to most medical services and medications. The plan covers visits to a GP or specialist, as well as any medical exams, treatments and procedures you may need. 

Wondering where to find the healthcare you need? Check out our article on the Québec healthcare system.
Dental and optometric care (eye exams, prescriptions, glasses, etc.) are not covered by the Québec healthcare system. To help offset costs, you may want to consider taking out private health insurance to complement your RAMQ coverage, if you’re not already covered by a group insurance plan at work. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask! 

Note: basic dental care is free of charge for children under 10, while vision care is free for people under 18 and over 65.
Eligibility for private health insurance
Some employers offer group insurance for their employees, which covers certain healthcare costs that aren’t covered by the RAMQ. Some of the services that may be covered or partially reimbursed include dental and optometric care, therapy, massages and acupuncture. Since group plans can differ greatly, be sure to ask your employer what types of care are covered and to which extent. 

You’ll typically need to wait three to six months after starting your new job to access your private group insurance plan. Once you’re approved, contact the RAMQ to unsubscribe from the public system, as health insurance and medications will now be covered by your private plan. 

Note: in the event that you lose your private group insurance coverage at work, be sure to re-subscribe to the RAMQ plan as healthcare coverage is mandatory.
If you’re looking for personal private insurance, start by contacting the various banking institutions in Québec. Be sure to compare rates by applying for various plans to find the one that’s right for you. 

Need help finding private insurance? Visit the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance website.
Protect your nest with home insurance Whether you own your home or rent, it’s important to protect the place you call home. Good blanket insurance will cover theft, fire and water damage so you can sleep with a peace of mind. 

Brokers and private insurance companies offer a range of insurance options covering theft, fire and civil liability. Shop around to find the best rates as prices can vary dramatically from one company to another. 

The Insurance Bureau of Canada's Information Centre, which represents Canada's private home, car and business insurance companies, will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Stay safe on the road with car insurance
Without car insurance, you won’t get further than your garage! Car insurance is mandatory for all vehicle owners, with coverage offered by a range of companies in Québec. Since a lot of insurance companies will take your driving history into account to offer you cheaper rates, make sure you have your insurance record from your home country on hand. Some companies also offer discounted rates if you take out both home and car insurance with them. 

When it comes to insurance, you can make your life easier by going with the same company for your health, home and car insurance. At Desjardins, you can find all the coverage you need in one place. Simple!
The most reputable cooperative financial group in Québec