Photo: Colin Dacre
If you’re thinking of leaving Canada without travel insurance during a pandemic, be prepared to make a large claim if you’re infected with a coronavirus abroad, without having to go to the hospital.
If you have symptoms of the virus, you will not only be denied boarding your return flight, but you will have to pay for your stay until you recover. In other words, you will have to pay for new flights, accommodation, meals and other expenses until your return is safe.
Travel insurance is something that many people skip. They may have a false sense of security if they have never been in the situation where it was needed. If you do, a vacation security blanket.
But don’t let your rosy vacation sunglasses obscure you from reality.
Even when there is no pandemic, travel insurance is needed to prevent holidays from turning into financial nightmares for travelers in unforeseen circumstances.
“Travel is not yet for the weak”
Will McAleer, Secretary-General of the Canadian Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA), said in a telephone interview that Vancouver is great, but Canadians can now expect better compensation from travel insurance companies. Pandemic stage.
“We’ve seen travel insurance policies evolved significantly beyond the pandemic,” he said. “I’ve never seen an escalation like a government recommendation.
During the pandemic, Canadians were advised to avoid all trips abroad. This is an unprecedented decision by the federal government. Until 2020, due to conflicts and natural disasters, non-essential recommendations were reserved for certain countries and regions, McAleer explains.
Canada has dropped its travel advisory from level 3 to level 2, so travelers are protected if they get sick with COVID-19.
However, not all travel insurance policies are created in the same way.
Personal responsibility and risk factors
McAleer emphasizes the importance of understanding personal responsibilities and the risks associated with a particular itinerary. For example, individuals with existing conditions will want to make sure they are covered for them. Many policies do not cover individuals with possible medical problems, including known health problems.
In addition, travelers need to make sure that the policy they are investigating covers emergency care and that they are not running out of money. It may seem incomprehensible that dealing with medical problems can cost millions of dollars, but in some situations, especially emergencies can be easily added up. In some cases, helicopters may need to take people out of instability or take them to a more well-equipped hospital.
“It’s really important for Canadians to ask questions,” he emphasizes. “You may need to be hospitalized or perhaps admitted [intensive care].. And they can be very expensive. ”
Travelers also need to ask the insurance company what happens if the government returns the travel advisory to level 3.
“That’s probably the number one question.”
Know your trip
When does hiking turn into mountaineering?
The type of trip you are making may determine the type of policy you need to purchase, McAleer explains. Some plans do not cover extreme sports or other high-risk activities. If you are only planning to relax by the pool, these plans may serve your purpose. It really comes down to thinking about your trip and understanding the risks.
“These are some of the questions that anyone who buys that policy can answer right away. [companies] Some cover high-risk activities, some incur additional charges for it, and others do not. ”
When it comes to COVID-19 insurance policies, many of them are brand new. The virus has been around for over two years, but it continues to evolve.
Some policies have quarantine tolerances, but “you’ll have to shop a bit,” McAleer advised, adding that some plans offer up to $ 200 to $ 300 per day. I am.
There is also a policy for people who are infected with the virus before traveling and cannot travel. Similarly, travelers can find coverage for travel interruptions when they get sick abroad.
Know your rights
Travelers may come back with a series of invoices, and some of them may not be paid — and they have the right to appeal those decisions, McAleer says. ..
However, you are also responsible for tracking important information. Track receipts and other important documents that insurance companies may request for claims.
When you come back
If the COVID-19 test is positive, you should keep a negative PCR test record while traveling. Canada withdrew its pre-arrival test requirements on April 1st, but will be subject to random testing upon arrival at the airport. The test is positive and as a result should be quarantined.
Unfortunately, there is currently no insurance company that covers the quarantine requirements when people return home. In addition, the Government of Canada requires 14 days of quarantine if the test is positive on arrival, but BC requires only 5 days (federal requirements invalidate state requirements).