Coronavirus and Travel Insurance in Canada

Does Travel Insurance Cover Coronavirus??

Yes, travel medical insurance is designed to cover “unexpected medical costs”. From a travel medical insurance perspective, contracting the coronavirus would be similar to contracting any other disease. The insurance would cover required medical and hospital costs.

What is “Cancel For Any Reason” Coverage?

This is a form of trip cancellation & interruption insurance (non-medical travel insurance). Normally, you must have experienced an “insured risk” in order to make a claim under trip cancellation insurance. Common examples of “insured risks” include hospitalization or a weather event that makes travel impossible. With “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage, you do not need an “insured risk” to make a claim under trip cancellation insurance. You can cancel simply because you decide that you do not want to take the trip. However, this kind of insurance comes with extra costs and restrictions. It also will normally only reimburse a portion of your trip costs, whereas regular trip cancellation insurance reimburses 100% of the funds you lose.

What About Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Coverage?

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance will only cover the coronavirus if it is an “insured risk”. Basically, this means that if the Canadian government publishes a travel advisory warning you not to travel to a certain location due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus, you can then make a claim on your trip cancellation policy. Likewise, if you are in the middle of a trip when a travel advisory is posted about your destination, you can then make a claim under trip interruption insurance. However, note that some insurance companies consider the coronavirus to be a “known risk”. This means that they will not cover trip cancellation and interruption claims for the coronavirus, because a “known risk” is not insurable. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is designed to cover travellers for unexpected events affecting only a few people, not for common problems affecting many people.

What Are Some Other Travel Insurance Coverage Types?

In addition to trip cancellation & interruption, non-medical travel insurance can also cover other risks. Common examples include baggage insurance, trip delay insurance, flight accident insurance and accidental death & dismemberment insurance. Combining medical and non-medical travel insurance under one policy results in an “all-inclusive travel insurance policy”.

What If I Miss My Flight Because of Coronavirus Screenings at the Airport?

This would not be an “insured risk”. Basically, it is up to travellers to leave enough time to reach an airport and check-in before their flight leaves.

What If I Want to Postpone My Trip?

Non-medical travel insurance is designed for a specific trip, and can normally not be used for a different trip if you wish to postpone your travel dates. In most cases, you would simply lose the premium you have paid. However, it is normally possible to delay travel medical insurance, if you have not yet left on your trip.

What If I Want to Cancel My Cruise?

In most cases, if you simply decide that you do not want to take a cruise, this would not be an insurable risk, and you could not make a claim. However, if the Canadian government issues a warning about travelling on a cruise ship, or travelling to your intended destination, you would normally be able to make a claim under trip cancellation insurance. This assumes that you purchase the insurance policy before the travel warning is issued.

What If the Coronavirus Outbreak Gets Worse and I Don’t Want to Travel?

Unless the Canadian government issues a travel advisory regarding your intended destination, you would not be able to make a cancellation claim if you decided not to travel due to the coronavirus outbreak.

What If I Contract the Coronavirus While Traveling?

As long as you are not travelling in a county or region where the Canadian government has issued a travel advisory, with most travel medical policies, you would be able to make a medical claim to cover expenses associated with contracting the coronavirus.

Can I Get a Refund For My Travel Insurance Policy?

If you cancel a travel medical insurance policy prior to departure, most insurance companies will reimburse the premium you paid. On the other hand, non-medical insurance premiums are normally not reimbursable.