CLHIA Member Centre

Login | Register

Advisory: How does the federal travel advisory affect your travel insurance?


News Release

Release Date: 12/15/2021
Staff Reference: Kevin Dorse

UPDATED as of December 23, 2021

On December 15, the federal government advised Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada due to the risk posed by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. This constitutes a global Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel advisory.

If you were or still are planning to travel, travel insurers want you to understand how this announcement may affect your trip cancelation and travel medical coverage.

Trip cancelation insurance

    • Most trip cancellation insurance policies have a travel advisory clause.
    • Check with your insurer. This global Level 3 travel advisory may allow you a refund for eligible expenses for any reason.
    • You will be required to first seek refunds from your service provider, such as an airline before filing a claim with an insurer. If you have a credit from previously cancelled travel set to expire on December 31, 2021, your airline or other carrier may have already extended the expiry. Please contact them to confirm.
    • Note that insurers are unlikely to issue new trip cancellation or interruption policies for a destination under a Level 3 travel advisory.
    • Federal officials have stated that this global travel advisory will be re-evaluated in four weeks. If your travel is after that time, your trip may not be eligible to cancel without penalty today.

Travel medical insurance

Travelers currently at destination with a Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel advisory should make arrangements to return to Canada as your travel benefits may be limited.

If you must travel outside Canada, it is important to understand that:
    • Now that the federal government has issued a global Level 3 travel advisory, not all travel medical insurance plans are able to provide coverage.
    • Before travelling, ask your insurer if your travel medical insurance:
      • includes health coverage for your destination
      • includes treatment related to COVID-19 outside Canada
      • offers coverage sufficient to cover the treatment of COVID-19 in a foreign hospital
      • has a specific exclusion for your destination for COVID-19 coverage
    • You may be expected to cover any expenses above what is covered by your insurance as well as additional living expenses if your travel is impacted.

Please expect longer than usual customer centre wait times.

The government’s advisory has resulted in a very significant increase in calls to insurers. Insurers appreciate your patience. Please use alternative methods to get in touch, such as email.

Be sure to follow the guidance in the Government of Canada’s advisory at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/226 and check https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories for additional updates.