Travel expert urges Canadians to check their insurance policies before travelling

Coverages are different today compared to earlier in the pandemic, he says

Travel expert urges Canadians to check their insurance policies before travelling

Insurance News

By Mark Rosanes

With the coronavirus’s Omicron variant spurring border restrictions and new travel bans leading to the holiday season, a travel expert is advising Canadians to carefully check the fine print of their travel insurance policies before setting off overseas.

The government announced on Tuesday travel bans for 10 countries, adding that fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from international destinations other than the US would be required to take a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine while awaiting the results.

Given this new set of rules, Richard Vanderlubbe, president of and a member of the board of directors for the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), noted that there are certain things that travellers should be aware of when it comes to their insurance policies.

The first one, according to Vanderlubbe, is that since that blanket advisory against non-essential travel was lifted in October, travel medical insurance policies generally cover COVID-19-related medical claims.

“There was a time when the advisory was out that the insurance plans did not generally cover it,” he told CTV News. “And you had to buy separate insurance.”

Vanderlubbe added that unlike earlier in the pandemic when airlines struggled to issue refunds for flights the airlines themselves cancelled, cancellation insurance now typically covers “any sort of involuntary cancellation where the airline decides not to operate the flight.”

“There’s not a lot of risk now for consumers in booking something and then the government comes and let’s say in the future slaps on a restriction on a certain destination and they cancel all the flights — you won’t lose your money,” he said.

Voluntary cancellations, in which a person decides that they no longer wish to travel, however, are often not covered but Vanderlubbe says wary travellers have another option.

“Considering the shifting landscape right now, a traveller who is concerned that they may want to back out later — due to fears of COVID-19, due to falling ill themselves before the flight, or due to other unforeseen complications — may want to consider a waiver or other type of insurance that could aid them if they want to cancel a flight voluntarily,” he told CTV News.

“If you change your mind, at least you don’t lose all your money, you can rebook it as a credit,” Vanderlubbe added.

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