What CAA Members need to know about COVID-19.
As we navigate through the continually changing travel restrictions, it is important for travellers to understand how the border requirements and regulations can impact their travel insurance policy. As a reminder, travel advisories are issued for many reasons and coverage restrictions apply based on the travel advisory. It is important for travellers to always monitor Global Affairs Canada as a trusted source of travel advice by visiting travel.gc.ca.
Protecting the safety of CAA travellers.
Travellers need to be mindful of the risks of travelling internationally. It is important to research the destination’s COVID-19 situation before booking to understand the type, timing and costs of COVID-19 tests that may be required. Confirm your ticket’s change, cancellation, or refund policies in case of a disruption on your trip.
CAA Travel Insurance emergency medical plans include coverage for COVID-19 when a Level 3 advisory related to COVID is issued. CAA Travel Insurance emergency medical plans will continue to include coverage up to $2.5 million CAD if partially vaccinated, or up to $5 million CAD if fully vaccinated, for COVID-19 related illnesses that may occur when travelling. You will have to meet certain COVID-19 vaccination conditions to be eligible. Please click here to read the policy endorsement to make sure you meet the requirements before you travel.
Due to the continuously changing circumstances, it’s also recommended to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance when travelling. Having this coverage in case you do run into a problem can provide you more peace of mind.
CAA has identified key considerations that potential travellers may not be aware of.
Anyone who is considering travel should make sure they have looked into the following and remember that travel requirements and regulations are continually changing.
- Confirm the COVID-19 situation at destination prior to booking. Understand the risk level associated with travel to a particular destination by checking the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories website. It is important that Canadians understand the ongoing uncertainty associated with international travel, whether that be related to the continued community transmission of COVID-19, or state of health care systems at destinations hit hard by the pandemic.
- Understand the type, timing, cost and accessibility of required COVID testing. Every country has different requirements when it comes to the COVID tests that are needed prior to travel, and every country has different testing capacities once you are there. There are also requirements in order to return to Canada. Make sure you understand the difference between molecular PCR and rapid antigen tests, in what time period tests must be taken, the associated costs and locations where these tests are available.
- Confirm change and cancellation flexibility with your travel service provider. Many airlines and hotels are providing more flexibility when it comes to refunds and changes to bookings. Make sure you understand any key dates related to cancellation and changes and whether you are entitled to a refund or a future travel voucher or credit at the time of booking.
- Buy travel insurance and understand what is covered. Make sure you have adequate coverage for emergency medical situations and that illness related to COVID-19 is included. Understand your entitlements for things like denied border entry in the event of a positive test and coverage related to isolation expenses, if you were to test positive while travelling and need to quarantine.
- Prepare required travel documentation and the format it must be presented in, for both Canada and your destination. Each destination has varying requirements. Make sure you fully understand what information you need to have ready and in what format.
- Take note of local public health rules prior to departure. Many destinations have measures in place such as curfews and quarantine requirements. You should also understand what the regulations are if you happen to test positive for COVID-19 in the country you are visiting.
- Be aware of changes between booking and departure. Make sure you reconfirm all the details that were researched prior to booking, to ensure they are still accurate prior to departure. What was true when a trip was booked may not be the case by the time you are ready to travel.
- Double check all research with the appropriate embassy or consulate. Travel at this time is complex and many factors can change quickly, so ensuring you have the most up to date and accurate information is essential.
- Plan for extra time. From disembarkment and customs to retrieving luggage and exiting the airport, most things on the travel journey are taking longer than expected during pre-COVID travel times. Also note the check-in and baggage drop off deadline for your flight as it may require you to arrive earlier than anticipated.
- Stay connected. Fully unplugging while travelling is likely a thing of the past. It is important to have access to trusted, up-to-date information while travelling so you can monitor changing conditions and requirements and adapt accordingly. Bookmark the Global Affairs Canada website prior to departure and check it regularly while abroad. It is also a good idea to sign up for Registration of Canadians Abroad.
Important information to consider:
- If a destination experiences a significant increase in COVID cases, local governments can prioritize citizens over tourists, should health services become strained, leaving Canadian travellers without the necessary support in a time of need regardless of one’s insurance coverage.
- Concerns around the availability of care at a destination applies to any ailment, including but not limited to COVID-19.
- Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines.
- The Canadian government advises that if you choose to travel, you should be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departing. Be aware that although you are better protected against serious illness if you are vaccinated, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. If you’re unvaccinated, you remain at increased risk of being infected with and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 when travelling internationally.