Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated November 22, 2021 - The global level 3 travel advisory, in place since March 13, 2020, which advised Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel, was quietly lifted on the afternoon of October 21, 2021. The global advisory is being replaced by a destination-specific advisory. It is important to note that the Level 3 advisory still applies to anyone not yet fully vaccinated; they are still being advised to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. Also, the Level 4 advisory against cruise travel is still in effect. This now means that, more than ever, travellers leaving Canada must check travel.gc.ca before they travel to determine the current level of advisory for their destination(s) and vaccination status. The COVID-19 Rider will only be needed if a Level 3 or 4 advisory applies to them or to their destination on the date of departure. The following Questions and Answers will be updated regularly as events unfold. Please monitor frequently for updates and changes.
21st Century Travel Insurance COVID-19 Emergency Medical Rider. Click Here for details.
THIA COVID-19 FAQ
THIA (Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada) has created a FAQ document to answer your most common questions about travelling and travel insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit THIA's website or download the FAQ.
New rules for international flights, COVID-19 testing and quarantine
News and updates are coming daily. We recommend that you visit COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and border regularly to stay on top of these new rules and explore the Government's page entitled: COVID-19: Travel, quarantine and borders.
Coverage Questions and Answers
Visitors to Canada Insurance
Emergency Medical Insurance
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 – Yes, for trips commencing on or after October 21, 2021, if there is no Level 3 or 4 advisory for you or your destination, this would now be considered a medical emergency and our regular insurance plans provide some limited reimbursement for hotel and meal expenses and may also provide reimbursement of extra expenses associated with a change in your return flights following the medical emergency. If you need our COVID-19 Rider to be covered for COVID-19, the Rider will also extend you the same benefits subject to the coverage limits and terms provided by the Rider
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 was 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. Therefore, if you bought TCII insurance before March 5, 2020, any new Level 3 or 4 advisory relating to COVID-19 issued by the Government AFTER you purchased your policy is a valid reason to cancel your trip and claim TCII benefits as per the terms and conditions of your policy. Policies purchased on or after March 5, 2020 will not respond to cancellation or interruption claims that relate to COVID-19. NEW – if you booked a trip/bought insurance after October 21, 2021, cancellation and interruption claims that arise from your positive COVID-19 test or due to your sickness caused by COVID-19 that prevents you from travelling as planned may be considered eligible for reimbursement. Contact the assistance company for details regarding your specific circumstances if you have this type of claim.
Q2 – On March 9th, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a High-Level Warning to Canadians to Avoid All Cruise 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.
Our emergency assistance partner, ACM ("Active Care Management"), is currently experiencing a very high volume of calls due to the Coronavirus. If you are having difficulty reaching the claims centre by telephone, you may use one of the following alternative options to submit your claim:
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance - Facts about Future Travel Credits vs. Cash Refunds
Q1 – I’m confused about Future Travel Credits vs Cash Refunds and how they work with my insurance. Can you help explain my options?
A1 – The following information relates to Trip Cancellation Insurance (TCII) purchased PRIOR TO March 5, 2020 for travel dates after March 9 (cruises) and March 13 (all other travel).
- When you are offered FTC’s, we strongly recommend that you accept them and not decline them because you have more options available to you with the FTC (and with our insurance) than without it.
- If you have a 100% FTC on a trip that was cancelled due to COVID-19 you have no loss today, but you may very well have a deferred loss that may be considered down the road AS LONG AS YOUR INSURANCE IS NOT CANCELLED NOW. Our liability, should we have one down the road, is equal to the amount of the loss that would have been in effect on the date the travel advisory was issued. It’s important to note that this may NOT be 100%. It might be a lesser percentage. For this reason, if you have not paid 100% for the trip, you should not make any more deposits on your trip until you are confident the trip will proceed as planned.
- While there is a Gov’t of Canada advisory in place for your destination, you do have a valid reason to claim – regardless of how far in the future you are scheduled to travel. Once the advisory is lifted for your destination, the advisory can still be considered a valid reason to claim – even if you cancel after that date - subject to #2 above in terms of the amount of the loss.
- If you take your own action to cancel your travel (before the supplier decides), you may still be offered a FTC instead of a refund. Or you may be told all or part is non-refundable. What you are offered will define whether or not you have a loss.
- If your travel has already been cancelled by the supplier due to COVID, there is no rush to file your claim; you have up to a year and claims may be considered beyond that date depending on your circumstances.
- If you have only received FTC’s on one component of your trip (e.g. a cruise credit but no air credits), then you should submit a partial claim now. If the FTC then becomes unusable, you can appeal later on the claim to have those expenses considered too.
- Whether or not your policy includes Travel Supplier Default, if a supplier issues FTC’s and then does not honour them or if you are otherwise not able to use the credits, you can still file a claim later and appeal to have that loss considered (backdated to the date of loss which would be March 2020). This would be a claim under the “travel advisory” insured benefit of the policy.
- It is important to remember that we are last payor. If there is a default, the Receiver of the supplier would be first payor, then the credit card, then TICO or any other compensation fund and then the travel insurance. A default will be messy but there are many potential avenues for compensation, especially if you do not cancel your insurance policy.
Most of the above applies equally to our Multi-trip All-Inclusive Plans (except we cannot change dates on Multi-trip Plans). If there is a valid loss on a policy that was triggered by COVID-19, then if a FTC is issued which later becomes unusable, that could also be a deferred loss that can be filed up to a year later even though the All-Inclusive policy may be long-since-expired.
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance - Questions & Answers
ANSWER – Yes. In this scenario, the loss could be submitted for consideration (after all other potential sources such as the Receiver, credit card, TICO or other compensation) with a date of loss equal to the date the advisory was first issued and the cancellation penalties in effect on that date.
QUESTION – I booked in Feb 2020 for travel in November 2020. The tickets are fully non-refundable and I paid 100%. I have decided to ride out the storm and wait until sometime closer to my November travel dates to get a read on things. If Canada lifts the travel advisory later this summer, but I’m still very concerned about travelling to my destination because there is still what I consider to be a high risk of infection in that destination, can I decide to cancel my trip in October 2020? Will my insurance respond? If it won’t, then I have no choice but to cancel now.
ANSWER – Yes, your insurance will respond. The loss will be adjudicated with a date of loss equal to the date the advisory was first issued and the cancellation penalties in effect on that date.
ANSWER – Your insurance will only refund the amount that was non-refundable on the day of the travel advisory (March 13) which was $300. The travel supplier may not refund anything if you decline the FTC, so in this case you could be out of pocket to the tune of $1,700. This is why taking the FTC and keeping your insurance coverage for the re-booking is often the better option.
Special Rules for Refunding Trip Cancellation Premiums and All-Inclusive Premiums
- If your trip is cancelled due to COVID-19 and you receive a 100% cash refund from the travel supplier, we will refund your premium upon request. We must receive your premium refund request within 60 days of you receiving the cash refund from the travel supplier. Proof of the refund will be required.
- If you receive a Future Travel Credit (FTC) of 100% or more, you can choose to cancel your policy and request a premium refund, in which case we must receive your request within 60 days of the FTC being issued by the travel supplier. Proof of the FTC will be required.
If you received a FTC, you can also choose to leave your policy on hold with us until you re-book your trip with the FTC. We would encourage this because it provides you with the most flexibility. Contact us to let us know you want us to hold your policy and then notify us again to ask us to change the travel dates on your policy once you utilize the FTC to re-book your travel with your travel supplier. You will need to provide proof that the re-booking is using a FTC from the trip that was insured under the original policy. A new Policy Confirmation will be issued at that time to confirm the new dates.
Please note that if you choose to leave your policy on hold with us and your FTC is later converted to a cash refund by your travel supplier, on a case-by-case basis, you may be able to claim a premium refund at that time.