16 Nov Traveling in times of Covid
If government and public health recommendations allow it and you plan to travel soon, make sure to add special “COVID-19” coverage to the travel insurance you normally use when travelling. Unless, of course this insurance already covers COVID-19-related expenses.
Here are some important points to check with your travel insurer:
Coverage amount for emergency medical care expenses
Verify that the basic coverage amount will cover any expenses for emergency medical care that you and your family members may need.
Normally, insurance products for emergency medical care abroad provide a coverage amount that varies between $3 million and $5 million (Canadian dollars).
Next, it is important to check if the coverage includes COVID-19. If it doesn’t, special COVID-19 coverage can be offered to you by a tour operator, airline or directly by an insurer.
Generally, the maximum coverage available under COVID-19 travel insurance ranges from $100,000 to $300,000 (Canadian dollars), which can represent relatively limited coverage.
When you are offered specific COVID-19 coverage, make sure you are eligible. You need to consider:
- your age
- chosen destination
Ask for confirmation that you are, in fact, covered.
Limit or aggregate maximum payable
Check if your insurance contract has a limit or aggregate maximum payable for all the persons covered by the insurer.
For example, for a pandemic, natural disaster or armed conflict, the insurer may set a maximum payable for all covered persons for such an event, thereby reducing your maximum amount of coverage.
Check the exclusions
Review the coverage eligibility criteria with your insurer.
Most insurance contracts may not cover you if, for example, you receive a positive COVID-19 test result within 30 days of your departure, or if you show symptoms in the days preceding your departure.
Duration of your insurance coverage
Check the duration of the coverage offered and whether you will be able to extend it after starting your trip. For example, would you be covered if you had to delay your return due to a quarantine?
If you contract COVID-19 while travelling or have symptoms such as a fever on your return date, you may not be allowed to board the flight and may be asked to quarantine yourself.
- Would you be covered for the extra days spent in quarantine outside Québec?
- Would you be covered for the amount charged to change your return flight?
- You might also be responsible for finding accommodation for your quarantine period.
All these costs, even without hospitalization, can really add up.
Potentially limited access to emergency medical care abroad
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be more difficult to access emergency medical care abroad. Even if your insurance covers the necessary emergency care, you may not be able to get the kind of access to it that you would like. This is something else to think about before you leave.
- Also, it is imperative to contact your insurer immediately if you need care or to be hospitalized during your stay outside Québec. You should make sure that any expenses you incur for medical care are covered by your insurance. Insurers usually provide emergency telephone access, so you get this information.
- They usually ask that you contact them even before you go to the hospital so that they can assist you with the process.
Trip cancellation insurance
Ask your insurer what conditions would have to exist for you to be reimbursed for your travel expenses if you had to cancel your trip due to COVID-19.
Given the current situation and the known risk that COVID-19 represents, it is highly unlikely that the reimbursement of cancellation fees would be covered.
Jackie Beaudoin, Leclerc Insurance and Financial Services
Source : L’Autorité des marchés financiers