A little more than a year ago, when Canada was first plunged into the pandemic, many in the insurance industry were wondering if COVID travel insurance would become a reality. Today, it seems like a perfectly reasonable – and very smart – option for those who must leave the country. COVID travel insurance is now readily available in Canada, and a Global News article from earlier this month states that more and more countries are requiring that travellers be thoroughly covered in the case that they contract the virus when visiting. In addition, several countries are also considering “COVID passports,” which will indicate if the holder has been vaccinated. Some may refuse entry to those who have not.
COVID travel insurance explained
Because we are insurance brokers at Lane’s, we have access to a number of different policies from a number of different agencies. That means we can provide you with more options. When we begin to shop around for your COVID travel insurance, it’s very important that you are completely transparent regarding your destination, duration of stay, reason for travelling, and current health status.
A COVID travel insurance policy is usually purchasable along with a regular medical travel insurance policy or on its own. Benefits generally cover treatment up to $100,000, and should specifically provide for COVID-19-related emergency medical expenses as well as any associated quarantine costs. If you have purchased any kind of COVID travel insurance, ensure you are very clear on the terms of agreement.
Travel advisories may factor in, also. Some COVID travel insurance policies become invalid if there is a level 4 advisory in effect. Currently in Canada the travel advisory is at level 3, which advises against non-essential travel. Trip interruption insurance should be included, just in case the government changes the travel advisory level to four, when all travel must be avoided. In that case, you would be compensated for having to make arrangements to end your trip early.
Some policies extend coverage regardless of what kind of travel advisory is in place.
Other enhancements to a good COVID travel insurance policy are ambulance services, emergency air transportation, the return of your travelling companion, the return of any dependent children, and repatriation.
Travel insurance isn’t just about COVID, too, of course. In addition to your COVID medical coverage, we recommend policies with the option of additional coverage for accidental death, baggage and personal effects, document replacement, and rental car damage.
COVID testing and quarantine requirements for those who are travelling
The Public Health Agency of Canada is still advising extra caution for those who must travel. The number of variants is still rising, and it remains unclear what the impact will be. The government is asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of the country.
As of Feb. 22, all travellers (air and land) aged five and over are required to provide proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken no less than 72 hours before departure. Upon arrival in Canada, travellers must again take a molecular COVID-19 test, and then submit to a three-day stay at a government-approved hotel. You must stay at the hotel until your second COVID-19 test comes back negative, which is normally about three days.
Make sure to pre-book your stay at the government-approved hotel before you leave to guarantee you have somewhere to go. If you don’t, you will be sent to an authorized hotel anyway, and it may not be to your standards. Expect that your stay will be more expensive than usual, as well, as you will be responsible to pay for food, security, transportation, and infection control measures.
Reminder of insurance assistance available due to the pandemic
Insurance companies are all handling the assistance they are providing to their customers because of COVID-19 differently, with most indicating they will work on a case-by-case basis. If you feel you may be unable to pay your premiums due to loss of employment, be sure to give your broker or provider a call. Providers have indicated they will work with clients by offering:
- Payment deferrals of up to four months
- No penalties for non-sufficient funds
- No cancellation of policies for non-payment
- Assistance and insurance small business
Talk to us about your travel insurance needs
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage providing a comprehensive range of competitively priced insurance products. If you are headed out of the country for essential travel, contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and Alberta offices today to talk about your COVID travel insurance options.