Following are some key questions to ask your insurance provider BEFORE you purchase your health insurance.

What does the plan cover? What does it provide that my provincial health-care plan doesn't?
What does it not cover?
Can I choose from among a variety of different coverages?
What limitations or conditions apply?
Does it cover drugs for a pre-existing condition?
Do I need a medical examination?
Is there a deductible? If so, how much?
How much will my premiums go up for the same coverage as I get older?

When you have a claim . . .

How do I make a claim?
Can my health care provider bill the insurance company directly? If not, how long does it take for me to be reimbursed?

The preceding questions are intended as a guideline only, and are not meant to be exhaustive.

[ Excerpted from The Insurance Book: What Canadians really need to know before buying insurance]