On Dec. 21, Canada once again enacted an international travel advisory in the face of the advance of the ultra-transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. That led approximately 31% of those getting ready to pack up and fly out to cancel their plans, according to a survey published by RedFlagDeals.com. From Dec. 15 to 20 the company asked 1,157 individuals how their travel plans had changed because of Omicron, and although 31% chose to stay home, 69% decided to continue with their trip.
Canadians were asked to avoid “non-essential travel,” a term that is open to interpretation. Travel is not banned in any way, however the federal government simply asks that you reconsider your reasons for doing so. In a CTV News article published early in 2021, Global Affairs Canada pointed to its own website for the definition of “non-essential travel.” It states, “It is up to you to decide what “non-essential travel” means, based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with a country, territory or region, and other factors.”
That means it’s up to you to determine whether face-to-face contact with remote clients is “essential,” as well as a well-earned vacation to save yourself from complete burnout. Both are completely valid. The only thing to recognize is that if you decide to move forward with plan as made, there may be added risks and costs associated with choosing to travel at this time.
Why travellers need travel insurance more than ever
Travel insurance is essential whether you have chosen to cancel your flight and stay home or pack your bags and take off. In both cases, travel insurance can help mitigate costs associated with changing your plans early or changing your plans later on in the trip. Travellers who may be undecided about purchasing travel insurance should remember that the cost is relatively low and it is more essential than ever during a pandemic.
A strong travel insurance policy such as those were provide at Lane’s will include trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance will reimburse you for a certain percentage of your costs if you have to cancel, delay, or cut your trip short at the last minute.
COVID-19-specific travel insurance
Yes, it is possible to purchase travel insurance with COVID-specific language and specifications. Sometimes offered as an addition to regular trip cancellation and interruption insurance, or as a complete pandemic travel insurance plan, COVID-19 travel insurance provides emergency coverage for COVID-19 complications, often up to $1,000,000 CAD. Recently some travel insurance companies have begun offering more ― up to $5,000,000 CAD ― to those who are fully immunized for medical expenses related to COVID-19.
A COVID-19 travel plan can also include trip interruption benefits in the case quarantining is required. This provides a daily individual or family stipend to cover for the additional cost of hotels and meals over the required period of time.
If you have purchased any kind of COVID travel insurance, ensure you are very clear on the terms of agreement. Call us at Lane’s if you have any questions about travel insurance and the scope of coverage it provides.
Other medical travel insurance coverage
Travel insurance will also provide for a wide range of non-COVID-19-related medical services that provincial insurance plans will not when you are out of Canada. Provincial health care plans cap out at $100 per day of coverage for a hospitalization, and only provide for $50 a day for outpatient services. If you were to get sick while on holiday, or be injured or in an accident, the medical insurance aspect of your travel insurance is available for all ages, and covers for additional costs plus a wide range of services including:
- Doctor’s services
- Ambulance services
- Diagnostic and lab tests
- Prescription medication
- Medical supplies
- Emergency dental services
- Hospital allowances
- Emergency air transportation
What to expect at the borders
The federal government requires everyone entering the country to be fully vaccinated, and 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 returning to Canada. This includes travellers who are returning after being away for less than 72 hours, who had previously been exempted before Dec. 21. It is mandatory to follow the steps outlined by ArriveCAN and provide your complete travel plans before and after entering Canada. If you do not submit your information to ArriveCAN it’s possible you could be delayed at the border or even denied entry into Canada.
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 travel insurance options.