What COVID-19-related cover do Canada's top travel insurers provide?

Find out what is changing as the country eases restrictions

What COVID-19-related cover do Canada's top travel insurers provide?

Insurance News

By Mark Rosanes

Following a steady decline of COVID-19 infections, along with high vaccination rates, across the country, the federal government has recently begun a new phase of easing border restrictions, which includes lifting of travel advisory that warned Canadians against international travel.

However, with the expected surge of travel-thirsty citizens heading overseas, the government is also urging travellers to take the necessary measures to stay safe. 

“The government of Canada will adjust its travel health notice from a Level 3 to a Level 2. This means that the government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes,” the Public Health Agency of Canada announced on its website, with the rule changes taking effect last February 28.

“Travellers should understand the risks that are still associated with international travel given the high incidence of Omicron, and take necessary precautions,” the agency added.

Industry experts are also advising outbound tourists to take out travel insurance, arguing that having adequate coverage is as important as carrying their passports, especially during the pandemic when health conditions and travel restrictions can change in an instant.

“It is important to work with a professional travel agent to make your travel arrangements and to ensure that you have the coverage that is right for you, as what is and isn’t covered differs with each insurance provider, especially in the time of COVID-19,” Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, told CTV News.

What does travel insurance cover?

Most travel insurance policies in Canada are designed to cover costs incurred from health-related emergencies and disruptions to the travel itinerary. Coverage options typically include:

  • Baggage loss: Reimburses the cost of personal items up to the specified coverage amount if the baggage is lost, delayed, or damaged during the trip.
  • Emergency medical insurance: Pays out for emergency medical care during the trip, including hospital and doctor fees, and treatment costs. Some policies also provide coverage for repatriation and quarantine expenses.
  • Flight delay: Pays out for accommodation and meal expenses when a flight is delayed for more than a specified time.
  • Trip cancellation: Covers non-refundable or transferable expenses if a trip does not push through because of a covered event. Some policies also foot the bill for unplanned accommodations, meals, and rebooking flights.

Does travel insurance cover COVID-19-related events?

The good news for Canadian travellers is that unlike at the onset of the pandemic when COVID-19 coverage was rare, travel insurance providers have since stepped up their game and have started offering protection against disruptions related to the coronavirus.

Tourists, however, also need to consider a few points before buying travel policies, according to insurance comparison site HelloSafe. These are:

  • Coverage may be “explicitly excluded” if the destination countries are under an “avoid non-essential travel” (Level 3) or “avoid all travel” (Level 4) advisory at the time of purchase.
  • COVID-19 vaccination status may also affect coverage – those unvaccinated by choice may have their claims declared ineligible by their insurers.

Read more: Travel expert urges Canadians to check their insurance policies before travelling

All told, here’s what the top travel insurance companies in Canada are providing in terms of COVID-19 protection. The list is arranged alphabetically. All details are correct as of March 2022.

1. 21st Century

21st Century offers a COVID-19 emergency medical rider for its travel insurance policies that provides coverage to destinations with Level 3 travel advisory and cruises even with Level 4 advisory. Children under 12 who are not yet fully vaccinated can be covered up to a $1 million limit subject to certain conditions, while unvaccinated individuals can be covered up to the same amount for all destinations, even those under Level 3 advisory but not for cruises while Level 4 still applies.

2. Allianz

Allianz Global Assistance covers emergency hospital and medical expenses if a policyholder contracts COVID-19 while travelling abroad and requires medical treatment. Coverage includes the cost of a positive COVID-19 test. These benefits are available as long as no Level 3 or 4 travel advisory is in place for the destination country on the effective date of their policy.

For policies with trip cancellation or interruption benefits purchased beginning March 11, 2020, however, claims related to previous or future government travel advisories connected to COVID-19 will continue to not be payable unless the policyholder gets infected in Canada before their departure and needs to cancel their trip, or the policyholder becomes ill while travelling and needs to shorten their trip. Allianz also does not provide cancellation and interruption coverage for trips with departure dates between October 21, 2021 and February 27, 2022.

3. AMA

AMA’s travel insurance policies pay for COVID-19-related emergencies, with fully vaccinated policyholders eligible for up to $5 million in coverage and partially vaccinated individuals qualified for up $2.5 million in pay outs. Cruise passengers and visitors to destinations under Level 4 advisory are not covered, neither are trip cancellations. 


BCAA’s travel emergency medical insurance policies provide up to $10 million in coverage for COVID-19-related medical costs for fully vaccinated individuals and up to $1 million for their partially vaccinated counterparts. Children under the age of 18 are also covered regardless of their vaccination status. Coverage applies to both international and domestic travel.

5. CAA Insurance

CAA has updated its travel insurance policies by offering Level 3 travel advisory COVID-19 endorsement, which provides fully vaccinated policyholders up to $5 million and partially vaccinated individuals up to $2.5 million in coverage for coronavirus-related emergencies.

6. CARP Insurance

Fully vaccinated CARP members are eligible for up to $10 million in emergency medical care if they contract COVID-19 while travelling as long as the destinations are not under Level 3 or 4 travel advisory. Exclusions are also in place for trip cancellation and interruption for destinations “where COVID-19 is a factor.” Policyholders, however, can purchase a rider for coronavirus-related expenses such as emergency air transport when they need to return home due to infection. Unvaccinated individuals, meanwhile, can avail of up $1 million in medical coverage. 

7. GMS

GMS’s TravelStar insurance plans provide up to $500,000 in coverage for emergency medical expenses related to COVID-19. This covers essentials, including ambulance services and hospital care.

8. Goose Insurance

Goose Insurance offers COVID-19 coverage of up $500,000 for unlimited trips not exceeding 30 days. Cover includes ambulance, hospitalization, and physician services, and repatriation. Policyholders also have access to 24-hour emergency assistance.

9. Johnson Insurance

Johnson’s MEDOC travel insurance offers coverage for COVID-19 medical emergencies even where travel advisories are in effect. Some policies also provide medical coverage for reactions to the vaccine. Cancelled, shortened, or delayed trips because of the virus, however, are not covered.

10. Manulife

Manulife offers the CoverMe COVID-19 pandemic travel plan, which provides up to $5 million in emergency medical expenses for fully vaccinated individuals and $1 million for unvaccinated policyholders. This is on top of the up to $5 million in coverage for non-COVID-19-related medical emergencies. Policies also pay out for trip interruption for those who are required to go into quarantine, with a limit of up to $200 per insured person each day for hotel and meal expenses to a maximum of $2,800 or up to $400 per insured family each day to a maximum of $5,600.

11. Medipac

Medipac’s travel insurance provides up to $2 million in emergency medical coverage, including COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals can also avail of a 5% discount on annual premiums. Policyholders can increase the benefit to $5 million if they choose to upgrade to the MedipacMax plan.

12. Pacific Blue Cross

Regardless of their vaccination status, policyholders will be covered for up to $10 million of all eligible benefits if they contract COVID-19 during their trip under Pacific Blue Cross’s travel medical plan. These include medical expenses and subsistence costs for unexpected quarantine.

13. TD Insurance

For domestic travellers, TD Insurance provides COVID-19 emergency medical coverage for claims not covered under the policyholder’s provincial health insurance. For international travel, policies cover coronavirus-related medical claims if the destination is not under Level 3 or 4 advisory before the departure date. 

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