Answering the Top Travel Insurance Questions on Everyone's Mind Right Now

Will Covid-19 affect my travel insurance? We answer that question and many more.

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Most people have heard of travel insurance. But many don’t know exactly what it covers and how situations, like the coronavirus outbreak, can affect policies. That’s why we’ve answered 10 of your most-asked travel insurance questions.

1. Can a travel advisory for something like the coronavirus affect my insurance?

Yes. A travel advisory issued by the Canadian government could affect what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. For example, some insurance companies will cover COVID-19 as long as there is no government-issued travel advisory related to the virus, while some insurance providers have stopped covering travellers completely.

2. Can I still purchase travel medical insurance and/or trip cancellation and interruption for future trips?

Yes, you can purchase travel insurance for future travel. But be aware that if there is a Government of Canada-issued travel advisory that relates to the coronavirus at the time that you purchase your travel insurance policy, any Covid-19 related claims will not be eligible for coverage. If there is no government-issued travel advisory for the coronavirus, then any related emergency medical issues from Covid-19 will be eligible for coverage.

3. When should I purchase my travel insurance if I’m planning on travelling in 2021?

We recommend that when you're planning to book your trip, you first check to see first if there are any travel advisories posted by the Government of Canada. If there are no advisories for your destination, then it is best to purchase your travel insurance right after booking your trip. There are a few travel insurance options available, from emergency medical to comprehensive coverage, including lost baggage and trip cancellation and interruptions.

4. What does travel-related medical insurance cover?

Many policies, like those from CAA, cover emergency medical care if you get sick or injured while  outside your home province, as well as emergency dental work, transportation back to your home country and medical tests, like X-rays.1 Each plan is different, so it’s best to contact your insurance provider for policy details.

5. Do I need medical insurance while travelling in other parts of Canada?

Yes. OHIP does offer a measure of coverage if you travel to another province. But it may only pay the costs of emergency treatment at rates established in Ontario and with the restrictions that exist in Ontario, leaving you on the hook for any overruns. If you don’t have private insurance, some hospitals may also make you pay upfront, which is an expensive proposition, then you would have to apply to OHIP for reimbursement. Finally, many insurers, like CAA, will cover ambulance costs. That’s important because OHIP will not pay for emergency transport if you’re outside Ontario. For more details on what’s covered and what isn’t when you leave the province, visit the OHIP website.

6. Do I have to show proof of medical insurance when entering another country?

Sometimes. A growing number of countries are requiring visitors to provide proof that they have medical insurance.  Confirm the requirements for your destination country prior to departure on the Government of Canada’s travel advice website.

7. Do I need paper copies of my insurance policy?

Not usually. Digital copies of your policy, which you can present on a phone or tablet, are considered valid proof of insurance in many countries. (Just make sure your device is charged.) To see if you can go paperless, check the requirements of your destination country.

8. Aside from medical coverage, should I be looking at other types of travel insurance?

Yes. Chances are your vacation isn’t cheap, so you should safeguard that investment with additional coverage. Trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you for non-refundable expenses, like flights and hotel stays, if you’re forced to cancel a trip because you or a loved one has fallen ill. Trip interruption insurance can foot the bill for mid-trip mishaps, like a missed connection due to bad weather. It can also provide coverage if you need to return home because of an emergency.

9. I’m interested in staying at an Airbnb. Will my trip cancellation insurance cover that?

Yes—some travel insurance providers include coverage for Airbnb and other shared accommodation platforms.

10. Do short trips, like a weekend to the U.S., require travel medical insurance?

Yes. On January 1, 2020, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) stopped covering any portion of out-of-country medical expenses. So, even if you’re just heading across the border to, say, Buffalo—once the border opens for non-essential travel—the Ontario government recommends that you have private insurance.

Learn more

Click here to read about the benefits of virtual emergency medical assistance. Plus, visit caasco.com/insurance/travel for details on all the different travel insurance plans that we offer.

Terms and Conditions

CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. A medical questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older.

1 Policy conditions and limitations apply. Subject to change without notice. See full policy for all terms and conditions at caasco.com/policy.

®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association.

Image credit: iStock.com/Prostock-Studio

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