Foreign travel guidelines for life insurance coverage

We continually monitor global events to remain current on political, economic, socioeconomic, criminal, health-care and transportation issues around the world. As events occur, we may update our foreign travel guidelines.

The Canadian government categorizes the risk of travel to foreign countries as follows:

  • Exercise normal security precautions
  • Exercise high degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Avoid all travel


Generally, individuals who travel to countries with the first two risk levels are insurable. Individuals who travel to countries/regions with the risk level of "Avoid non-essential travel" may be insurable, depending on details of travel and the reason for the risk level. Individuals who travel to countries/regions with the risk level of "Avoid all travel" are generally uninsurable. If travel is to multiple countries, the most conservative country assessment will apply.

Sun Life has classified countries as either low risk, moderate to high risk, or uninsurable.

  • For travel to low risk countries, (exercise normal security precautions) , we'll offer coverage at standard rates, provided the proposed insured's health qualifies and as long as travel is less than six months per year. We classify over 130 countries as low risk countries.
  • For travel to moderate to high risk countries, (exercise high degree of caution or avoid non-essential travel) we'll offer coverage at standard rates provided the proposed insured's health qualifies, travel is less than three months per year and as long as the proposed insured is not traveling to a region with a travel warning of "avoid all travel" on the government of Canada travel website. For travel between three and six months we'll require a flat extra premium $2.50 per $1,000 of coverage.
  • For travel to uninsurable countries or regions (avoid all travel), we will usually not be able to offer any coverage. In addition, a list of uninsurable countries is available below.

Other considerations:

  • Preferred rates and optional benefits are not available if the proposed insured is rated for foreign travel.
  • Any proposed insured residing in a foreign country for more than six months will be considered on an individual basis.

Reconsideration of rating:

Extra premiums for travel can be reconsidered after issue, provided there has been no rateable travel for at least one year, no plans to travel to a rateable country in the next 12 months, and no changes in health or other risk factors since the policy issue date.

Requirements for reconsideration will include:

The following occupations are uninsurable: government diplomats, journalists (foreign correspondents), foreign aid workers, members of an armed service group (including peacekeepers) and missionaries (in this context we are referring to full-time missionaries vs. someone who works full time and engages in a few weeks of missionary or humanitarian work annually).

Uninsurable countries

Generally speaking, proposed insureds who travel to the countries listed below or who contemplate traveling to one of these countries cannot be offered life insurance coverage, regardless of length of travel.  This list is subject to change at any time without notice. In addition to these destinations, we will usually not be able to offer coverage to individuals who travel or contemplate traveling to countries with a travel warning of "avoid all travel" on the government of Canada's website for Canadians traveling or living abroad:

  • Afghanistan
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo, Democratic Republic
  • Guinea
  • Haiti
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ivory Coast
  • Korea, North
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Palestine
  • Russia (Chechnya)
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Sudan, Republic of South
  • Syria
  • Western Sahara
  • Yemen