Traveling in the COVID World:
An Insurance Guide for Canadians
In many parts of the world, life is beginning to return to “normal”. High vaccination rates, frequent testing and workplace measures have been effective and restrictions on travel have started to be lifted.
Whether it is for business or pleasure, many Canadians rely on their group benefits plan to provide health insurance while traveling. It is important to understand that not all Group Travel plans are equal when it comes to the handling COVID claims.
Does my company’s travel benefit cover non-COVID incidents?
Most likely, yes. Any accident or injury that is not COVID related that requires medical attention is covered under your plan.
Some contracts will exclude destinations that are on the Government of Canada Travel Advisory list. Currently, there are no COVID Travel Advisories, but these can be updated at any time, including while you are already away. There are several non-COVID related reasons that a country or region may earn a Travel Advisory.
Does my company’s travel benefit cover COVID illness?
It depends. Some group plans include exclusions for pandemics or epidemics. Others may have criteria that must be met before travel. Most plans provide reimbursement for emergency medical services only.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that you contact your provider before traveling anywhere outside of Canada.
Does my plan cover COVID Testing related to travel?
No. These are seen as a cost of travel in the current environment and are generally not covered by your travel benefit.
COVID testing that is prescribed by a doctor may be eligible under other parts of your group benefits plan, however, testing for the purpose of travel is not eligible.
Does my plan cover Quarantine costs?
Maybe. If you are diagnosed while abroad and required to quarantine, your plan may or may not reimburse you for the associated costs. Some carriers base their decision on the severity of the illness and whether it constitutes a “medical emergency”
It is also important to note that your plan will have a maximum trip duration for coverage. If your quarantine forces you to be away longer than the plan’s maximum duration, your coverage could expire before you return.
Can I get Stand Alone COVID coverage?
Yes. Several providers offer stand alone COVID coverage for travelers that includes medical, quarantine and in come cases, trip interruption coverage.
Other Important Considerations:
Canada’s requirements for travel have been updated as of October 30th, 2021. These requirements will continue to change with the progression of the Virus. It is important to also consider the requirements of your destination country and any stop overs/transfer points in between.
As COVID continues to subside, the want/need to travel for both business and pleasure will continue to become more common. It is important that you protect yourself and your family.
- Make sure you meet the travel requirements of your Departure and Arrival locations as well as all points in between.
- Call your travel coverage provider before you go to ensure you are covered for medical emergencies
- If your coverage is not sufficient, consider stand alone COVID travel coverage
- Don’t book anything too far in advance to reduce the chance of cancellations
- Remember to include the cost of testing in your budget
- Don’t take a vacation from your health. Continue taking appropriate precautions
- Check this website before traveling: Travel Advice and Advisories – Travel.gc.ca