Updated August 13, 2020 - On March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada issued a formal High-Level Warning (Level 3) to Canadians to Avoid Non-Essential International Travel. On March 14, they encouraged Canadians to return home as quickly as possible.
The following Questions and Answers will be updated regularly as events unfold. Please monitor frequently for updates and changes.
Questions and Answers
Visitors to Canada Insurance
Q1 - I have Visitor to Canada Emergency Medical Insurance with 21st Century. How has COVID-19 affected my coverage since the Canadian Government’s advisory against all international travel and the closing of other international borders?
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 Travel Advisory issued before you travel to that destination.
Emergency Medical Insurance
Q1 - I have Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Insurance with 21st Century. Am I covered if I get sick or am quarantined due to COVID-19?
A1 - If you exited Canada on an insured trip PRIOR to March 9, 2020 (cruise) or March 13, 2020 (other travel), Emergency Medical expenses related to COVID-19 ARE covered as per the terms and conditions of the policy, provided your travel is NOT to a country or region that was already under a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory PRIOR to then. For later departures, our policies will no longer cover COVID-19 until the travel advisory to your destination ends. Truckers and other workers deemed essential are exempted from this exclusion while working in the USA.
Please note that for Canadians who left Canada prior to the COVID-19 travel advisory we are no longer able to extend coverage for a trip in progress. However, Manulife has created a special product with a $500,000 coverage limit. If you are still stuck outside of Canada, call us or send an email to email@example.com. We can connect you with Manulife to see if you are eligible for this special insurance product.
Q2 - Can I extend my out-of-country coverage if I am on a trip and need to stay longer than planned?
A2 - If your insurance was purchased after March 9, 2020 (cruise) or March 13, 2020 (other travel), contact 21st Century to discuss the terms of an extension to your policy. Your policy does not include coverage for COVID-19 and neither will your extension. For Canadians who left Canada PRIOR TO the COVID-19 travel advisory, we are no longer able to extend coverage if you have not been able to return to Canada. However, Manulife has created a special product with a $500,000 coverage limit. If you are still stuck outside of Canada, call us or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can connect you with Manulife to see if you are eligible for this special insurance product. This option ENDS on August 31, 2020.
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, 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. Please also note that if you receive a credit note or voucher from your travel supplier for 100% (or more) of the amount you paid, then you currently do not have a loss under your insurance policy. However, we recommend that you keep your insurance in place as it may still respond to uncertainties with these credits down the road. You can change the dates on your insurance policy to a future trip date once you are able to re-book your travel. Only in situations where you have received a 100% cash refund should you consider requesting that we cancel your insurance policy. A premium refund may be possible depending on your circumstances. (See "Special Rules" in the next section for more details).
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.
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 ("FTC's") 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 (to March 2021) and claims may still be considered beyond that date depending on the 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 the 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.
21st Century is confident that most people who are issued FTC’s will be able to successfully use them before they expire. There will be exceptions and we will have to deal with them. Refusing FTC’s and/or cancelling your insurance could be detrimental to you, not to mention that it could jeopardize the recovery of the travel industry and the ability of us all to enjoy travel in the future. Often the credits are for more than the amount you paid and they are usually very flexible offers. We support the acceptance of FTC’s and we strongly recommend that you keep your insurance intact. In other words, keep your options open. When you are ready to use your FTC and rebook, contact us and we will change the dates on your insurance policy to match your new travel dates.
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
QUESTION - I booked in Feb 2020 for travel in December 2020. I am afraid to fly because of COVID-19 so on Jun 1, 2020 I called my travel supplier and cancelled my flights. They offered me a full FTC valid for 24 months instead of a refund. Should I still file my claim now? If I don’t register my claim now because I have no loss, then what happens if I try to cash in my FTC in January 2021 for travel in March 2021 but the airline fails or does not honour my FTC in the meantime? Do I still have a valid COVID-19 claim because a travel advisory was in effect when I first cancelled?
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.
QUESTION - I booked in Jan 2020 and paid in full ($2,000) for a trip to depart in August 2020. On March 13 when the travel advisory came out, the non-refundable amount on this trip was $300. The travel supplier has offered me a FTC for 24 months. I decide I want my money back. I cancel the credit and file a trip cancellation claim. What will I be able to claim?
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
Trip Cancellation and All-Inclusive (Package) policy premiums are non-refundable. An exception is being made during the COVID-19 pandemic for Single Trip policies purchased prior to March 5, 2020 and we are considering premium refunds only in the following circumstances:
- 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, you will not be able to claim a premium refund at that time.