Last updated March 2, 2022 (Call 1-888-888-0510 for the latest information).

Canadian travel insurance amidst COVID-19

COVID-19 has had an immeasurable impact on the travel insurance industry. Along the way, some insurance companies announced a sudden withdrawal of coverage giving policyholders short notice that coverage would cease in only a few days, causing a mad rush back to Canada for some travellers; claims for trip cancellations and interruptions caused months-long backlogs in the claims department of a couple insurance providers; and for a while, coverage that included covid-related expenses was not easy to find as some companies stopped issuing insurance entirely. However, after a few months, several companies started to offer COVID medical coverage. There have been some changes along the way, but now that the most recent travel advisory has been lifted, most companies offer medical coverage for vaccinated travellers. Some also cover unvaccinated travellers and cruises.

We have had an inside seat on the changing landscape of Canadian travel insurance because this is our specialty (we deal with more than a dozen insurance companies in order to help our clients, and occasionally issue our own coverage as a Lloyd's of London coverholder). We have done our best to adapt to the changes and provide our clients with the most up-to-date information and best coverage options during the last two years, and continue to be here to answer questions and provide the best advice we can for all our travel insurance customers.

If your current travel insurance provider has allowed you to continue to be covered, but WITHOUT covid coverage, then please take a look at our recent announcement about COVID Only travel insurance. You might decide to get a COVID booster (for your existing insurance!).

For Visitors to Canada: 

The changes to coverage over the last two years have been minimal. One insurance company now imposes a longer waiting period for COVID-19-related illness if purchased after arriving in Canada; others exclude coverage for COVID-19 outside of Canada for unvaccinated travellers; a couple of providers left the industry, a couple of new ones stepped in; but coverage for covid-related expenses has always been easy to find. The majority of Visitor-to-Canada insurance and Super Visa insurance policies that we quote continue to cover COVID-19 like any other illness. 

For Canadian travellers:

Honestly, right now is not a good time to try to purchase travel insurance on your own without some help from a specialist. Here's why: As the governments update their travel restrictions and advisories, each travel insurance company reacts by updating their coverage details - and when it comes to insurance contracts, 'the details count'. Are you reading the newest version of the policy wording? Are you making assumptions about what is and isn't going to be covered? Not all travel insurance companies offer the same coverage (or even similar coverage) at the same price. That's why our quote engine adds value to your purchase decision.  But that is even more so the case these days. Don't assume that the company that sold you a policy two years ago is offering you exactly the same coverage as before. Or, that the policy they sold in August is the same one they are selling today. Consider this:

  • Most of our insurers do offer some form of medical coverage for COVID-19 related expenses now that the Canadian government has reversed its decision on non-essential travel. However, different travel insurance policies may or may not include coverage related to quarantine costs if a person is required to quarantine due to test results or contact tracing while travelling or at their destination - this is super important because of current testing requirements at the airports and borders (and quarantine costs are not that cheap!);
  • There is still no coverage for travel to countries with level 4 travel advisories (see the Government of Canada website for up-dated travel advisory details); and many multi-trip (annual) policies (i.e., from group benefit providers or credit cards) will no longer cover covid-related expenses while a level 3 travel advisory is in place;
  • Trip cancellation & interruption coverage for COVID-19 is still greatly limited. If a flight is delayed or postponed due to COVID-19 (this sort of travel delay is now to be expected), it will not be covered by any Canadian company's trip cancellation/interruption/delay benefits. If you become sick before you travel due to COVID-19 and need to cancel your trip, we do quote a few options that will cover you, but some trip cancellation/interruption policies out there won't (be careful when buying and ask questions first!);
  • Cruise ship travel (medical expenses incurred on a trip that includes a cruise) is not included in most policies, but (of course) BestQuote does have a few options that can work. Anytime that we are limited to only a few providers though (instead of our usual selection of more than a dozen), prices tend to become higher;
  • Travel insurance costs in general have increased slightly over last year's premiums, but Canadian travellers can still visit their favourite travel spots with the knowledge that they are covered for COVID-19,
  • Note that COVID-19 coverage continues to be available for in-Canada travel. Students and expatriates can also obtain Coronavirus coverage for travel outside of Canada.

For medical coverage outside of Canada, we currently suggest one of the following policies with a QUARANTINE BENEFIT: 

a) IA Hospital Medical Care (Standard policy with questionnaire and No Pre-Ex policy with no questionnaire);

b) Manulife Pandemic;
c) Allianz with COVID rider; or
d) TuGo with Interruption Rider (call for this option).

Canadians who have purchased private health insurance coverage directly through Best Doctors Global Medical Care will be covered for COVID-19 related expenses, both at onset and for any ongoing complications, whether inside or outside Canada. At this time, Best Doctors Insurance has become even more compelling as a way to ensure high quality medical diagnosis, timely treatment without a Canadian-style waitlist, and access to leading-edge global health care solutions (now and in the future when solutions are discovered for treating long-covid medical complications) available outside of Canada. However, it does take 2-4 weeks to get individually underwritten by Best Doctors after applying for coverage (depending on your health conditions). Travel protection is only one reason to justify the higher premium of Best Doctors coverage. Please call us at 1-888-888-0510 for further details on COVID-19 coverage.