Medical Insurance

Exchange/Study Abroad Students

Medical insurance is mandatory for all international students throughout the duration of your studies at BCIT. At a minimum you must have insurance starting from orientation until your last class though we strongly recommend you have insurance for the entire time you are in Canada.

As an exchange/study abroad student, you have two options available to you:

  1. Purchase medical insurance from your home country before departure. Be sure it has extended coverage and will cover you as a student in Canada
    • Email a copy of your insurance policy (in English) showing the start and end date of your coverage to

  2. Purchase Guard Me private insurance through the BCIT International Student Centre (ISC). We recommend purchasing insurance before arrival in Canada so that you are covered from the start. If you plan to stay in Canada more than 2 weeks before/after your studies please email us

    • 1 term exchange: we recommend you purchase insurance matching your flight arrival and departure dates

    • 2 term exchange: If you will live in British Columbia (BC) for longer than six months, you are required by law to enroll in the BC government-run Medical Services Plan (MSP). There is a 3 month waiting period to be eligible for MSP. During the wait period you must purchase 3 months of Guard Me private insurance then apply for MSP when you arrive in BC

1 Term Exchange (Guard Me)

2 Term Exchange (Guard Me + MSP)

Insurance providers

Temporary basic coverage from a private medical insurance company called Guard Me

Basic coverage administered by the BC government called the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). Mandatory for all residents living in BC for six months or longer

How do I apply?
  1. Buy Guard Me
    • Online (before arrival): fill out the form[PDF] with the start and end date of coverage and calculate $2 per day, then email it to
      • To pay by credit card: call 604-432-8816 to pay over the phone. Our business hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am-4:30pm Pacific Standard Time. If calling outside of those hours you can leave a voicemail with your name, BCIT student ID number, credit card number and expiry date then we will process it the next day
      • To pay by wire transfer: you can send a payment for Guard Me only or along with payment of other fees such as on-campus housing. You must notify after you have sent your payment in order to be registered
    • In person: come to the ISC Burnaby or Downtown Campuses, or the Aerospace campus, to fill out the form and pay (credit/debit/cash). Please note you must have insurance starting before orientation
  2. About one week later, your Guard Me card will be ready for pick up at ISC Burnaby
  1. Purchase 3 months of Guard me private insurance (see left side)
  2. Apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. Fill out the online MSP application form. You will need to upload a copy of your study permit. When you have submitted your application, you must take a screenshot (photo) of your confirmation code and email it to
    • If you need assistance, bring your original study permit to the ISC and we can help you apply by paper
  3. Your MSP card will be sent to your home address with the dates of your coverage, which will usually match the dates of your study permit. When you receive it, email photos to or bring it in in-person.
What does it cover?

Guard Me covers you in case you become sick or injured after you buy insurance. You will not be covered for an illness or sickness you already had before you bought insurance, if you know that you will need to see a doctor when you buy insurance, or for routine doctor's visits or treatments. For more information on coverage, visit the Guard Me website

MSP covers medically required services, including visits to doctors, hospital services, and diagnostic medical testing. It does not cover dental or vision care, prescription drugs or travel. For more information on coverage, visit the MSP website

How do I use it?

If you need medical services you will likely need to pay, then submit a claim with your receipt for a refund. If you have a major emergency contact Guard Me. If you want to see a doctor, you can go to Student Health Services at the Burnaby campus and certain clinics with your Guard Me card without needing to pay and submit a claim for a refund.

For most medically required services you can present your MSP card and do not need to pay upfront. 

How much does it cost?

$2 per day ($180 for three months)

Register and pay through the International Student Centre

CAD$37.50 per month for an adult. If you are under 19 years old there is no fee.

You will be sent a bill in the mail each month and payments are made directly to MSP