What travel insurance covers COVID-19?
Since COVID-19 went from being an “epidemic” to a “pandemic”, and especially following the travel warnings issued by the Government of Canada, most insurance companies have indicated that they no longer cover situations resulting from COVID-19.
Generally, it was from March 12, 2020 that insurance companies began to consider the COVID-19 pandemic as a known and uninsurable cause.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic is now a common knowledge situation. For insurance to come into play, however, the situation must be unknown, as Blue Cross explains:
Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance covers you only if you have to interrupt your trip for a reason beyond your control and will, and which was unknown at the time your insurance contract took effect.
Except that when it comes to travel insurance, there are several components:
- trip cancellation or interruption insurance
- medical insurance
And it is on this second aspect that insurance companies have decided to be more flexible.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
To the best of my knowledge, no insurance company currently offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance due to COVID-19. Not even the credit cards offering the best travel insurance on the market.
Therefore, if your trip must be cancelled (before departure) or interrupted (after departure) due to COVID-19, you will not be insured.
Medical care insurance
In terms of medical care insurance, a few insurance companies have decided to stand out by offering coverage related to COVID-19:
- Blue Cross (Quebec and Ontario)
- Caisse des Français de l’Étranger
So if you have to travel, I strongly advise you to turn to one of these companies. That’s what I did for my travel to France.
Here is what Quebec Bluc Cross told TVA:
Travellers are encouraged to follow the government’s advice to avoid non-essential travel abroad, but some people have no choice but to fly for family or business reasons. We simply ask them to be aware of the risks.Josiane Cousineau, responsable des relations publiques - Croix Bleue du Québec
On their website, Quebec Blue Cross offers several types of insurance:
- Annual Emergency Medical Care (medical care for one year with maximum travel times)
- Emergency Medical Care À la carte (medical care for the exact duration of your trip)
- All inclusive without cancellation (including luggage and public transport accident insurance)
All of these solutions offer hospitalization, medical and paramedical insurance up to $5 million. Out-of-country emergency medical care related to COVID-19 is covered, as long as you have not shown symptoms of the illness before your departure.
In less than 30 seconds, you can get a quote for your situation:
- Departure date
- Return date
- Your age
- Marital status
- Cost of travel
Annual Emergency Medical Care is the most interesting for me as a traveler. It covers you for one year, for an unlimited number of trips. The price difference depends on the maximum duration of each of your trips: 4, 8, 17, 31, 60, 90, 120, 150 or 180 days.
But you can also choose the À la carte version if you plan to travel only once in the next year.
Here are some simulations carried out for each of these situations:
- a single person,
- aged 35,
- traveling from Québec,
- with a $0 deductible.
|Duration in days||Annual||À la Carte||All inclusive without cancellation|
Personally, I decided to purchase the annual insurance covering trips of up to 31 days at a cost of $158.50. My stays abroad are generally from 2 to 3 weeks: with 31 days, I keep a safety margin.
Medipac is an insurance company that has decided to cover COVID-19. This company is very popular with the Snowbirds.
Here is what Medipac told TVA:
It is believed that Canadian travelers, especially Snowbirds, will overwhelmingly respect physical distance and protective measures (…) They won’t join the crowds on the beaches or in theme parks, but will stay quietly at home or go to the supermarket, which they already do anyway. Medipac does not consider COVID to be a significant risk.Christopher Davidge, porte-parole de Medipac Assurance Voyage
And this is what Medipac is posting on its home page to confirm that COVID-19 is covered:
After filling out some information, you will receive a Medipac travel insurance quote.
Here is an example, using the same situation of a 35 year old singleperson, travelling from Quebec, with a $0 deductible for a 30-day trip – non-smoker (criterion requested by Medipac):
- Premium Plus: $110.77
- Annual option (23 days): $182.27
However, the process is longer and more complicated than the Blue Cross one. In addition, the initial coverage is $2 million (compared to $5 million for Blue Cross). To upgrade to equivalent coverage, Medipac offers MedipacPlus for an additional $59.
Caisse des Francais de l'Étranger
Here is a last solution that will undoubtedly interest the French, many of whom read milesopedia.
The Caisse des Français de l’Étranger offers a COVID-19 ExpatSanté insurance.
Covid.19Expat Santé exclusively covers healthcare costs (according to the Table of Benefits) incurred abroad, related to the COVID-19 virus, for expatriates and their dependents.
This offer is for you:
- if you reside abroad;
- if you do not have a valid health contract at the CFE;
- if your medical expenses are related to Covid-19.
Membership is semi-annually and can be for a single person or a family.
In the case of a person aged 35, this cover amounts to 38 euros per month (or 228 euros per half year).
However, there are two important caveats:
- This insurance only covers COVID-19. Nothing else.
- This insurance covers you worldwide, but not in France.
If you live outside Quebec, World Nomads can offer you an interesting insurance, in partnership with milesopedia:
Chances are that over the coming weeks and months, other travel insurance companies will be offering COVID-19 coverage.
More and more airlines or tour operators will offer this type of insurance in order to reassure their customers. For example, we’ve seen Air Canada Vacations offer this for some of their southern vacation packages.
In the meantime, travel insurance options for COVID-19 are limited, but they do exist!