Understanding your medical insurance options for travel outside Canada with COVID 19

Posted on 11/30/2020

Understanding Your Medical Insurance Options for Travel with COVID 19

At this time, the Government of Canada continues to advise against non-essential international travel. This is due to the risk posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic and concerns that destinations that are currently open to tourists may impose restrictions suddenly. Recognizing that some Canadians intend to travel outside Canada despite the travel advisories or for essential reasons, some insurers have decided to cover COVID-19 under their individual or group travel plans, while others are making coverage options specific to COVID-19 available for you to purchase. Here are some important things Canadians need to consider before deciding to travel outside the country:

Should I go?

  • In an effort to limit exposure for their citizens, many countries around the world have implemented new restrictions for entry, therefore it is important to research current entry requirements for your destination (e.g. passport, visa, quarantine upon arrival, proof of insurance).
  • The COVID pandemic remains unstable, and it is possible that governments around the world could change or impose new restrictions about travelling within their borders – meaning your travel plans could be impacted.
  • If governments implement lockdowns while you’re travelling, your options for accessing return flights or to return as scheduled may be limited.
  • If you have a health emergency at destination, access to healthcare may be reduced or unavailable.
  • Canada has indicated that they will not repatriate Canadians who choose to travel.

Emergency medical coverage for COVID related illnesses while travelling

  • The cost of emergency medical treatment in foreign countries varies widely, and your Provincial/Territorial health insurance is almost certainly insufficient to cover medical fees to treat COVID-19 outside Canada.

With respect to coverage for COVID related illnesses while travelling, it is important to understand:

- Does your travel insurance cover COVID-19 related illnesses?

- Is your destination excluded from COVID-19 coverage?

- Is the level of coverage sufficient to cover the treatment of COVID-19 in a foreign hospital?

- Are you financially able and prepared to cover any expenses above what is covered by your insurance as well as additional living expenses if your travel is impacted?

- Does your travel insurance cover COVID-19 and all other health emergencies?

Other considerations:

If you intend to travel, please refer to the Canadian Life and Health Insurers (CLHIA) July 2020 advisory for additional relevant guidance.

Should you have issues or need to use your insurance coverage while travelling contact your insure as soon as possible. Most companies have toll free numbers or will accept collect calls. Many also allow you to access through a website. Be sure to take this contact information with you when you travel.

Also when leaving the country register your trip with the federal government at Register of Canadians Abroad: travel.gc.ca/register so the Canadian government can keep you informed while abroad

Prepared by:

Gordon Mackey

Trent Travel