As the conditions are gradually being put in place for Canadians to start travelling again, one question remains. What would happen if we tested positive before boarding the plane back to Canada?
Insured and vaccinated
We have overcome several obstacles in recent months. Masked, disinfected, vaccinated and insured against COVID-19, we dare to look at our passport again.
Because if it is true that:
- Some insurers still only cover COVID-19 for essential travel,
- and others choose not to cover us because of government advisories – we are talking about level 3 (avoid all non-essential travel) or level 4 (avoid all travel),
… the fact remains that most insurers now cover COVID-19 abroad .
This is provided that travellers meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, being symptom-free 14 days before departure. And for more and more companies, to have followed the vaccination plan established by the province. Some companies do not require it and offer a policy for non-vaccinated people but the premium is proportional to the risk.
Be sure in all cases that you are insured for a substantial amount. $300,000 is not enough.
And check with the company that your travel destination and stopovers are indeed covered. You know, all those little clauses in the wording of an insurance policy. Syria and Afghanistan spring to mind, but I assure you, sometimes the United States is also part of the exemptions.
Oops! A positive test
In spite of all these precautions and efforts, a final question creeps in among the equations that we thought were settled:
What if one of us tested positive for COVID-19 before the return flight?
Yes, the same one that was happy in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, or under the palm tree with their feet in the sand.
Questions to ask yourself before leaving
Will our travel insurance coverage be automatically extended during the quarantine period? What would happen if you developed symptoms that required treatment? A hospitalization during these fourteen days?
Would we have to pay for living expenses during the quarantine? Accommodation and food? Are we covered if we stay at the same hotel or do we have to change location?
What will happen to the new air tickets to be purchased afterwards? This damn positive test!
Being insured for our quarantine and return
We have to conclude that in addition to being insured for COVID-19 for our trip, we must be insured for a possible quarantine.
Furthermore, we hope to be reimbursed for our living expenses during this transition. Preferably with amounts that are as close as possible to actual expenditures.
Unless, of course, you can stay with family or friends. But you know, not many of us can boast of having them in the Canary Islands.
After researching, we found only four private companies from which one can purchase the “quarantine service”. They are intended to protect us in case of a positive result.
Other group or pension insurances such as La Capitale or SSQ will pay for the purchase of a new return ticket in the same case but nothing for living expenses. Desjardins would offer, for a fee, an additional policy to its group insurance. “Emergency Health Care and Cancellation Coverage”. It would provide very good coverage. So, first check what you have in hand.
Finally, you will need to contact the insurance companies listed below for advice as each situation has its own subtleties that will either increase or decrease the premium. And as one of our members recently pointed out, “the devil is in the details”.
In addition to its COVID-19 insurance which covers up to $5 million for those vaccinated,
covers the cost of a 14-day quarantine following a positive test but only if your trip is longer than 31 days. EDIT: Manulife has changed the 31-day condition with the release of its new contract as of October 2021.
The expense allowance is $150 per day for a single policy and $300 for a family policy. This will pay for at least part of your accommodation and food. A maximum of $500 is added for the purchase of a new airline ticket.
The Quarantine policy from TuGo is available to you if you have first purchased emergency medical insurance with the company and are fully vaccinated. A second offer exists for non-vaccinated people.
Insurance rates and products differ depending on whether you:
- go to the United States or not,
- are non-vaccinated but entitled to be,
- have received the vaccines approved by Health Canada. This insurance also covers those who are not yet vaccinated, this time due to their age.
It is offered on a single trip basis.
Quarantine benefits are $150 per day for a maximum of 14 days. They are used to cover accommodation and food. Please note, however, that a $350 US deductible applies, regardless of where you are in the around the world.
Finally, there is no provision for the purchase of a new airline ticket unless the government’s opinion changes and requires an immediate return to the country. In this case, you would get $500.
One of our members told us that the premiums differed for the same benefit among the three insurers that serve TuGo. Shop around!
Goose offers around the world pandemic coverage that includes quarantine. The policy is for $500,000.
This is an annual coverage specifically for COVID-19. You can take as many trips as you like, but they cannot exceed 30 days at a time. Premiums are based on the age of the individual and whether or not they are smokers.
On the quarantine side, this COVID-19 insurance provides $200 per day for a maximum of $2,800. This is to cover living expenses during a quarantine following your positive test.
In addition, the company reserves $2,500 per individual – $10,000 maximum per family per trip. This time, for the need to purchase a new airline ticket following the interruption or cancellation of the trip due to COVID-19.
Additional policies can be purchased to cover trips up to 180 days and to extend emergency medical coverage beyond COVID.
Also note that this may be provided by your group insurance or other.
Safety Wing is a company that caters more to nomadic workers and work teams deployed abroad.
Their quarantine coverage does not cover the return airfare. It provides $50 per day for accommodation costs only, for a maximum of 10 days.
In order to benefit from this coverage, the beneficiary must have previously taken out at least 28 days of insurance with the company. He must also prove, with a medical certificate, that he is required to do this quarantine.
You might as well learn to live with the virus that has invited itself in the long run. We know the health measures that need to be taken, which I agree apply differently in different countries. Which brings us back to our good judgment.
Then there are the insurances. First for COVID-19 and now for the quarantine outside our country. These offers are still quite shy, but the Goose company seems to us to be the best… if you are young.
We should also check with our credit cards insurance companies. They may not offer today what they will tomorrow. We certainly hope they change their mind in case of a positive test on return from travel.
Let’s hope that this type of service also takes off as we want it to. The only thing left to do is to allow children who are not vaccinated but whose parents are, not to have to limit their contacts when they return from a trip. But that’s another story.