Advice from Travel Canada on COVID-19 and travel insurance
- July 6, 2021
- Posted by: olinsadmin
- Categories: Critical Illness, Disability Insurance, Health Care Ontario, Life Insurance Ontario, Retirement
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada. If you have to travel abroad, verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada:
Don’t travel outside Canada without travel insurance!
COVID-19 and travel insurance
If you have to travel abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, check with your travel insurance provider (whether you have a group, an individual or a credit-card type of insurance):
- Make sure you are covered for COVID-19-related medical expenses, other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses, as well as trip interruption. While some insurance companies may offer COVID-19 related medical expenses coverage, it may not include protection for other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses.
- Find out if you are covered for quarantine costs should you become infected with COVID-19 during your trip.
- Make sure you have travel insurance coverage for your entire trip as some insurers may limit options to extend policies after departure.
- Find out if you are covered for extended stays outside Canada.
Be aware that if you need to return to Canada for medical care, your options may be limited due to decreased availability of flights.
If you plan to travel outside Canada ‒ even for a day in the United States – you should buy travel health insurance before you leave.
If you are flying, make sure you get insurance for trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement. If you are driving, make sure you have driver and vehicle coverage in case you have an accident.
Why you should buy travel health insurance
- Your Canadian health insurance may not pay your medical fees while you are outside Canada
- Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover none, or only a small part, of the costs of your medical care abroad. It will never pay your bills up front
- Foreign hospitals can be very expensive and may require immediate cash payment
- In some countries, hospitals and clinics will not treat you if you do not have enough insurance or money to pay your bills
- The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills
What travel health insurance should cover
No matter where you are travelling, there are 3 things your travel health insurance policy should always cover.
1. Medical evacuation
Make sure your policy covers medical evacuation to Canada or to the nearest place with appropriate medical care. The policy should also cover the costs of a medical escort to travel with you to your final destination.
2. Pre-existing medical conditions
Ask the company to explain the definition of, and the limitations and restrictions on, any pre-existing conditions and tests and treatments you may have had.
- Make sure you get a written agreement that your insurance covers your pre-existing medical condition, or you could find your claim “null and void” under a pre-existing condition clause.
- The agreement must also include a stability clause that says that if you are to be covered for any pre-existing medical conditions for a specific period of time (stability period):
- you must have no changes to your medical condition
- you must have no new medical conditions, symptoms or medications during the stability period before your trip.
- The agreement should include:
- a compassion clause saying that an inaccurate statement may not invalidate the entire policy, and
- a change of health clause.
3. Repatriation in case of death
Make sure that the plan covers the preparation and return of your remains to Canada.
Ask questions to know what you’re buying
Carefully research your needs. Verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada.
When assessing a travel health insurance plan, you should ask a lot of questions.
- Is there a deductible, and how much is it? Plans with 100-percent coverage are more expensive but may save money in the long run.
- Does the plan provide continuous coverage for the length of your stay abroad and after you return?
- Does the plan exclude or greatly limit coverage for certain regions or countries you may visit?
- Does it offer coverage that is renewable from abroad and for the maximum period of stay?
- Does the company have an in-house, worldwide, 24-hour/7-day emergency contact number in English and/or translation services for health care providers in your destination country?
- Does it pay for hospitalization for illness or injury and related medical costs at your destination?
- Does it pay your bills or cash advances up front, so you don’t have to pay them?
It is your responsibility to know and understand the terms of your insurance policy. Read the fine print carefully and ask for help, if you need it.
Source: Travel Canada