Travel Insurance in Canada and COVID-19: What You Should Know

Do you get the urge to travel all summer long? Worldwide travel to the US or other countries remains off limits to visitors and adventure seekers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is still much to explore and enjoy in your home district or in Canada.

In March, Canada’s federal government issued an “avoid all non-essential travel” warning outside Canada, which is essentially staying in place for now because of the coronavirus. It also recommends Canadians avoid shipping cruises until further notice. Travel to Canada from overseas is also restricted until further notice. If you decide to travel globally despite advice from the federal government, you may not be allowed to return to Canada. In addition, the Canada-US border remains close to all non-essential travel until August 21, and the closure may be extended.

If you’re traveling in Canada, it’s still a wise move to purchase travel insurance before leaving. Why? Provincial health and wellness insurance covers some – but not all – incidental clinical costs incurred outside your district. Various other costs, which consist of non-medical costs, need to be covered with additional coverage. In the event that you terminate or experience an interruption to your travel plans unrelated to COVID-19, or if your baggage is lost or collected, a plan with travel termination or interruption coverage and baggage protection can help recover some of your costs.

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Get a Travel Estimate Canada’s provinces and territories have joint contracts that allow them to charge each other for solutions offered to Canadian travelers outside their home provinces. For example, the Ontario Health and Wellness Insurance Plan (OHIP) will provide coverage for walk-in center visits or emergency therapy at medical facilities in other provinces when you present a valid Ontario health and wellness card, but there are restrictions. Expenses consisting of rescue solutions, prescription drugs issued outside a medical facility, home care solutions, analytical and lab solutions outside public medical facilities, fees billed by private medical facilities or centers, plastic surgery and assistive devices are not covered.

On the other hand, the Alberta Health and Wellness Treatment Insurance Plan (AHCIP), provides coverage for insurance solutions for doctors and medical facilities in various other provinces. In most situations, if you present a valid Alberta health and wellness card to a clinical or medical facility provider and receive a guaranteed solution, Alberta residents are free of charge. But there is a limit to what clinical costs are covered.

The only outlier is the Quebec district. Quebec does not have reciprocal contracts with other provinces and territories. That means if you’re visiting Quebec and need a clinical solution to an emergency situation or need to see a doctor, you may be asked to pay upfront if you don’t have travel insurance coverage. The same applies to Quebeckers visiting other provinces or regions. Some solutions are replaceable, while others are not.

Without travel insurance, you may need to pay for some of the clinical therapies you receive in other parts of Canada.

Can I Travel from One District to Another?

While many Canadian provinces still have emergency declaration specifications and travel restrictions in place, it is possible to travel from one district to another depending on the area you wish to visit.

Several airlines are starting to offer travel within Canada or overseas. But if you’re reluctant to get on a plane during a pandemic, traveling may be more interesting. So keep in mind that traveling in Canada with an education offers the opportunity to see the countryside wherever you go. No problem, taking a trip close to home for the near future is probably the best way to go.

The following are the details of travel restrictions for each province since July 21, 2020:

  • Alberta. Albertans are free to travel within the district and are required to follow physical distancing standards, as well as to use the province’s ABTraceTogether contact mapping mobile app when traveling. Site visitors from outside Alberta are allowed in from other districts, but are discouraged. Site visitors from outside Canada are required to self-isolate for 2 weeks, and you must complete a seclusion questionnaire.
  • British Columbia. SM continues to bar non-essential travel to or from various other provinces and areas, but site visitors are allowed to enter and are required to follow physical distancing health and fitness procedures. Travelers from outside Canada arriving by plane are required to wear a non-medical mask, self-isolate for 2 weeks, and complete and submit a Self-Isolation Plan form to the provincial federal government.
  • Manitoba. Site visitors from Western Canada, northern regions and northeastern Ontario are allowed to enter Manitoba without self-isolating. Travelers from elsewhere may be asked to self-isolate for up to 2 weeks.
  • New Brunswick. The Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Royal Prince Edward Island) freed inter-provincial travel in early July in the region to produce what is referred to as the “Atlantic bubble”. Residents of these provinces can travel within Atlantic Canada without self-isolating. However, site visitors from outside the area are required to self-isolate for up to 2 weeks after arriving in New Brunswick or other Atlantic provinces.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador were allowed to travel within the district and to other Atlantic provinces without self-isolating. Visitors to sites outside these areas are not permitted to visit at this time unless they receive approval upon completion of the Travel Restriction Exemption Request application. If allowed entry, site visitors are asked to self-isolate for up to 2 weeks after arrival.
  • Nova Scotia. As one of the “Atlantic bubble” provinces, Nova Scotia residents can travel throughout their districts and territories without self-isolating. Site visitors from elsewhere, however, are required to self-isolate for up to 2 weeks after arrival unless they have currently done so among the other 3 Atlantic provinces. In addition, site visitors from outside Atlantic Canada are required to complete and submit the Self-Declaration Form: Monitoring Traveler to Nova Scotia. There are no restrictions on movement in Nova Scotia at this time, but travelers are expected to follow government assistance regarding physical distancing and public events.
  • Ontario. Although Ontario has not outlined any travel restrictions to the district to this day, Canada’s most populous district continues to ban all non-essential travel there from elsewhere. However, if you show up in Ontario from outside Canada, you will need to self-isolate for up to 2 weeks.
  • Prince Edward Island Kingdom. The smallest district in Canada is also part of the “Atlantic bubble”. All non-essential travel to island districts by site visitors outside Atlantic Canada is currently restricted other than seasonal residents who must use a pass to visit. Site visitors to P.E.I. must complete pre-travel authorization forms prior to showing up and provide duplicates to authorities when they appear. You will also undergo a community health and fitness check and proof of residency.
  • Quebec. The district of La belle does not currently require a duration of self-isolation for site visitors from other provinces. However, that doesn’t prevent all non-essential travel to and within Quebec for now. If you show up in Quebec from outside Canada, you must self-isolate for up to 2 weeks after arrival.
  • Saskatchewan. People going to Saskatchewan from other districts are asked to self-monitor for up to 2 weeks and separate if they have any signs. Non-essential travel to any part of northwest Saskatchewan is strictly prohibited. If you show up in Saskatchewan from outside Canada, you must self-isolate for up to 2 weeks.
Travel Insurance in Canada and COVID-19: What You Should Know

What Types of Travel Insurance Cover Are Available?

Standard travel insurance coverage provides various levels of coverage. With circumstances changing daily, it is best to discuss with your broker or insurance provider to understand what your plan provides and what does not.

Most plans offer the following types of coverage:

  • Clinical Emergency Situations. Emergency clinical travel insurance usually covers you for unforeseen clinical emergencies, which consists of rescue travel, clinical therapy and prescription drugs, hospitalization, clinical medical diagnosis, and evacuation.
  • Trip Stops and Disruptions. This coverage covers you if you have to stop your trip due to an emergency or unforeseen clinical problem. It can also provide you with funds if your trip is postponed due to bad weather, or if you are forced to stay at the resort unexpectedly because of delays in your travel plans.
  • Baggage Protection. If the airline company leaves your baggage during the trip, this coverage will provide funds for you to replace your belongings such as clothes.
  • All Included. Think of all-inclusive travel insurance as the ‘best’ plan. This includes clinical emergencies, travel stoppage and interruption coverage, and may also include baggage protection, and accidental death and dismemberment.
  • Stop for Any Factor. It may cost a bit more, but including what’s known as cancellation coverage for any reason for your entire plan offers more versatility if you’re faced with the unexpected. This coverage allows travelers to terminate their travel plans and be paid back for non-refundable resettlement, but special criteria must be met to be paid back. Also, be aware this type of coverage will usually cover you for a portion of your travel expenses. The level of coverage will revolve around the insurance provider.

Regardless of the type of plan you purchase and the coverage it provides, it’s important to ensure that you understand your plan’s terms, issues and limitations.

How to Stay Safe While Traveling

If you are traveling outside your home area, consider purchasing travel insurance before you go out. Whether you are traveling outside your district or within it, avoid the risk of catching COVID-19 by taking precautions to reduce your risk versus respiratory illness, which include:

  • Maintain physical distance at all times and avoid large groups and crowded locations
  • Away from sick individuals
  • If you feel unwell or feel sick, seek clinical help immediately
  • Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth completely
  • Know and follow all local community health and wellness advice
  • Clean hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds, and use alcohol-based hand rub if soap and sprinkles are not available
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a utensil to reduce the spread of bacteria. If you use a cell, handle it immediately and wash your hands

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