Here's Everything You Need To Know About Travel Insurance If You Want To Go Abroad ASAP

Make sure you read all the small print! ✈️

Travel Insurance In Canada: Here's What You Need To Know
Senior Editor

As Canada and other countries around the world begin to loosen travel restrictions, particularly for fully vaccinated travellers, an increasing number of people are beginning to plan trips abroad again.

While the federal government's advice remains to avoid all non-essential travel overseas, it is possible to take a vacation if you feel comfortable and ready.

If you do decide to leave Canada, the feds suggest getting travel insurance to cover your trip.

For those flying, the feds advise getting insurance to cover trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement, particularly during the pandemic.

"If you have to travel abroad, verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada," reads an official notice.

What do experts suggest?

Narcity spoke to Kelly Neufeld, a travel consultant from Uniglobe Carefree Travel Group, who urged travellers to "read the small print" when looking for travel insurance during the pandemic.

As there is an ongoing travel advisory, there are likely to be exemptions in travel coverage, particularly when it comes to trip interruptions and cancellations.

Neufeld said that Uniglobe "does have COVID 19 travel insurance available, but for medical expenses at destination only."

"It will not be covered for cancellation as this is a pre-existing known cause that you may have to cancel for," she added.

Toronto-based travel insurance broker Martin Firestone backs this message up, telling CBC News that it's impossible to get pandemic related cancellation coverage right now because COVID-19 is a known problem.

Although many insurance providers have reinstated medical coverage for COVID-19-related illnesses while abroad, it's important to read the terms and conditions of all policies to ensure this is included.

What about travel companies?

Neufeld told Narcity that while travel insurance policies may not cover trip cancellation and disruption costs, there are other ways to get protected.

"At the moment a lot of tour companies, cruise companies, and airlines are offering much broader cancellation options and coverages available that may allow you to cancel with either a refund, free changes and/or future travel credit," she said.

For example, until July 31, Air Canada is offering unlimited changes and no change fees on all flights. The airline is also promising full refunds for eligible cancelled journeys, or travel vouchers, which never expire.

WestJet and Air Transat are also currently offering to waive change fees for flights purchased on or before July 31, in addition to travel vouchers for cancelled flights.

Neufeld's advice to anybody travelling in the near future is first and foremost to "use a travel agent that knows the insurance options inside-out."

If you are booking a trip yourself, she suggests reading "all the small print as to what the cancellation promotions are, as there are a few that look better than they are." She also advised travellers to bear in mind that every country's travel restrictions vary, including across Europe.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.