COVID-19 (coronavirus) Pandemic
On March 13, 2020 the Government of Canada issued a global Level 3 travel advisory warning Canadians to “avoid non-essential travel” relating to the threat of COVID-19. Since then, the travel advisories have changed many times. At present, the only remaining high level warning relating to COVID-19 is the “avoid non-essential travel” advisory for those who have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. Note that these advisories can change at any time, so before travelling, check travel.gc.ca to see if an advisory regarding COVID-19 is in effect for you or for your destination on the date you leave Canada. If the advisory says "Avoid All Travel" (Level 4) or "Avoid Non-Essential Travel" (Level 3), then the policy exclusion dealing with travel advisories will apply to you or your trip. How do you know if you should add a COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider to your insurance purchase? Read on…
COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider Still Required if NOT fully vaccinated*
If a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory is posted prior to the date you leave Canada the COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider can be added to a regular 21st Century policy that includes Emergency Medical benefits. Coverage up to the full Emergency Medical limit of the regular plan is available to a fully vaccinated traveller with the addition of the Rider. Unvaccinated travellers are still subject to the “avoid non-essential travel” advisory and will need to purchase the Rider to be covered for COVID-19 but it is important to note that our Rider does NOT cover unvaccinated travellers on a cruise. Kids under age 5 who are travelling with vaccinated parents or guardians, not yet eligible for the vaccine or not yet reasonably able to become fully vaccinated will be covered for $1,000,000 with the Rider.
Travel advisories are subject to change at any time. COVID-19 cases ebb and flow and new variants are in the news every day. Go to travel.gc.ca before you leave Canada. The COVID-19 Rider can be purchased any time prior to departure.
*The COVID-19 Rider defines what we mean by “vaccinated” as follows:
Vaccine means a full course of immunization for Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is authorized by Health Canada. It must be taken in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation before your effective date. You must also wait the applicable period of time for it to become fully effective based on the manufacturer's recommendation, or as dictated by the applicable health authority, before your departure date. “Children 11 years old or younger who are not eligible to receive the vaccine” means not yet eligible or not yet reasonably able to receive the vaccine; and when travelling on the same cruise booking as a parent or guardian who has received the vaccine, coverage will be provided up to a maximum of $1 million CAD for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and related complications.
Do I need the COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider?
Try our interactive form to find out if you have (or can obtain) Emergency Medical coverage for COVID-19.
On March 13, 2020 the Government of Canada issued a global Level 3 travel advisory warning Canadians to “avoid non-essential travel” relating to the threat of COVID-19. Since then, the travel advisories have changed many times. At present, the only remaining high level warning relating to COVID-19 is the “avoid non-essential travel” advisory for those who have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. Note that these advisories can change at any time, so before travelling, check travel.gc.ca to see if an advisory regarding COVID-19 is in effect for you or for your destination on the date you leave Canada. If the advisory says "Avoid All Travel" (Level 4) or "Avoid Non-Essential Travel" (Level 3), then the policy exclusion dealing with travel advisories will apply to you or your trip. The following Questions and Answers will be updated regularly as events unfold. Please monitor frequently for updates and changes.
Visitor to Canada Insurance
Q1 – I have Visitor to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance with 21st Century. How is my coverage affected by a travel advisory if the advisory was issued due to COVID-19?
A1 – Any Visitor to Canada policy, regardless of when issued, will cover COVID-19 for expenses incurred within Canada, subject to the regular terms and conditions of the policy. Exclusion #20 in the policy will apply to any medical expenses relating to COVID-19 that occur while on a Side Trip in any destination outside of Canada that is subject to a government of Canada “Avoid All Travel” or “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” when you travel to that destination. In short, if there is a Level 3 or 4 advisory relating to COVID-19 in effect for your Side Trip destination, you are not covered for COVID-19 on an insured Side Trip. While there is still an “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” advisory in place for unvaccinated travellers, those who have not been fully vaccinate are not covered for COVID-19 while on a Side Trip. No Rider is available for the Visitor to Canada Plan.
Emergency Medical Insurance (Canadians Travelling Abroad)
Q1 – I have Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Insurance with 21st Century. Am I covered for Emergency Medical expenses if I get sick due to COVID-19?
A1 – Check the travel advisories at travel.gc.ca for your destination(s) prior to your departure. If there is no Level 3 or 4 advisory in effect for you or your destination on your departure date, you are covered for COVID-19 just as you would be for any other medical emergency. You even have some quarantine coverage if you must quarantine following a positive COVID test or diagnosis. The COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider will be needed if the destination has a level 3 or 4 advisory relating to COVID-19 risk. It is important to note that a Level 3 advisory still applies to you if you are unvaccinated on the date of departure.
Please note that Canadians who leave Canada when a COVID-19 related Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisory is in effect are not covered for COVID-19 on our regular outbound Emergency Medical insurance products and they need additional protection. The COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider will provide full coverage for the vaccinated and $1,000,000 of coverage for the unvaccinated (except on cruises where the Rider does not provide coverage for the unvaccinated). With the purchase of the Rider, kids under 5 can be covered for up to $1,000,000 of COVID-19 Emergency Medical benefits while they are still ineligible to receive the vaccine or, once they are eligible, during the transition period while they book appointments, get their two doses, and wait the 14 days after the second dose as required.
Q2 – Does the Emergency Medical coverage in my policy provide any protection if I need to quarantine at my destination due to a positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 sickness?
A2 – If there is no Level 3 or 4 advisory for you or your destination on your departure date, this would be considered a medical emergency and our regular insurance plans provide some limited reimbursement for hotel and meal expenses following the medical emergency. If a Level 3 or Level 4 advisory is in place relating to COVID-19 on your departure date, you will need to add our COVID-19 Rider to be covered for COVID-19 and the Rider will then include the same benefits in a quarantine situation subject to the coverage limits and terms provided by the Rider. Please note that our Rider does NOT provide coverage to unvaccinated travellers on a cruise.
Q3 – If I test positive or become ill due to COVID-19 while on my insured trip, will my insurance coverage be automatically extended?
A3 – Coverage for COVID-19 depends on many things, including; when you bought your insurance, when you travel, what the travel advisory is when you depart on your trip, etc. If your COVID-related medical emergency is covered under the terms of your insurance, then Automatic Extension of all benefits in your insurance will also apply for the full length of any required quarantine period plus 5 days. If a return flight cannot be secured within the 5-day window, you will need to purchase additional coverage for these extra days.
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
Q1 – Is a COVID-19 travel advisory a valid reason to claim Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance (TCII) benefits?
A1 – Manulife determined that COVID-19 was a “known event” as at March 5th, 2020 and on that date, they announced that any new policies purchased on or after March 5, 2020 would no longer cover this event under TCII insurance. Policies purchased on or after March 5, 2020 will not respond to cancellation or interruption claims that relate to COVID-19. NEW – For departures on or after February 28, 2022 (if you are fully vaccinated and not cruising), Trip Cancellation claims will now be considered if they arise from a positive COVID-19 test or if you get sick from COVID-19 and are prevented from completing your travel as planned. For departures on or after February 28, 2022, Trip Interruption claims will now be considered eligible for reimbursement if they arise from a positive COVID-19 test or if you get sick from COVID-19 and are prevented from travelling as planned. For Trip Interruption claims, if you, your destination, or any part of your itinerary are the subject of a Level 3 or 4, COVID-related travel advisory on the date you leave Canada, the COVID-19 benefits described above would NOT apply.
Q2 – On March 9th, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a High-Level Warning to Canadians to Avoid All Cruise Line Travel. How does this affect my insurance coverage?
A2 – If you bought your insurance for cruise travel prior to March 5, 2020 you can file a claim as per the terms and conditions of the policy. If you bought insurance after March 5, COVID-19 was a “known event” when you made your purchase and you cannot claim under the policy. If you are now fully vaccinated and booking a cruise, please review our COVID-19 Rider to see what Emergency Medical coverage is available.
Q3 – How was Trip Cancellation Insurance impacted when the Level 3 Travel Advisory relating to COVID-19 was dropped to Level 2 by the Canadian Government?
A3 – Trip Cancellation Insurance was not impacted. Until further notice, Manulife still considers COVID-19 a known event. EXCEPTIONS: The following events are not considered known events and are therefore covered if they occur after the purchase of your Trip Cancellation insurance:
Your sickness (accompanied by a medical certificate) due to contracting COVID-19 that prevents you from travelling as planned.
A positive COVID-19 test result (accompanied by a medical certificate) within 72 hours before your departure from home which prevents you from travelling as planned.
NOTE: For Trip Interruption claims, if you, your destination, or any part of your itinerary are the subject of a Level 3 or 4, COVID-related travel advisory on the date you leave Canada, the COVID-19 benefits described above would NOT apply.
Special Rules for Refunding of Trip Cancellation Premiums & All-Inclusive Premiums
Trip Cancellation and All-Inclusive (Package) policy premiums are non-refundable. Some exceptions are being made for travel disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Speak with your agent or contact head office for details.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Emergency Assistance phone lines at ACM (Active Care Management) have been very busy, sometimes resulting in long wait times to report claims
While frustrating, we ask for your patience and understanding while waiting to connect with assistance staff. As an alternative to the traditional telephone contact to ACM, we would remind everyone of the “TravelAid” app that can be downloaded to personal devices to report claims electronically. The TravelAid app is available for use with all 21st Century Travel products, both outbound travel policies & Visitor to Canada plans.
To download the app, visit: http://www.active-care.ca/en/travelaid/ or use one of the links below:
Desktop Computer Users
You can submit your claim online by using ACM's Claims Portal.
Mobile Device Users
Important Links & Documents
Note: This situation is very fluid. Travel Advisories and their impact on insurance can change at any time. Please monitor travel.gc.ca for the most up-to-date information regarding you and your destination(s).
Last Modified: November 16, 2022