The COVID-19 travel era is difficult enough with mandatory PCR tests, quarantines, forms and health protocols. Many Canadians are celebrating a recent announcement after media outlets published stories on Air Canada and WestJet's free ‘COVID-19 travel insurance'.
Lets get things straight.
COVID-19 Insurance is NOT travel insurance.
Two of Canada's largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet announced that they would provide Canadian passengers free COVID-19 insurance for select destinations.
The new promotion gives Canadian travelers up to $200,000 from WestJet and $200,000 from Air Canada in medical coverage for COVID-19 related costs which could end up being confusing for passengers.
Travelers will still need to purchase their own travel insurance as the free insurance provided by Canada's two largest airlines ONLY covers COVID-19 related expenses.
It's a great gesture and promotion by the airlines but Canadians could end up abroad thinking they are covered for all medical expenses when that is actually the furthest thing from the truth.
The free COVID-19 insurance offered by both airlines will ONLY cover COVID-19 expenses.
All medical emergencies that are NOT related to COVID-19 aren't covered in the policy including trip delays, trip interruption, flight cancellations, theft, medical, dental and the list goes on.
For example if you break your arm while swimming, the free COVID-19 insurance provided by the airline will not cover those expenses.
Travelers will still need to purchase a full travel insurance policy on top of the free COVID-19 insurance.
Some Canadian insurance companies announced that they will now include COVID-19 related costs in their policies.
Not all travel insurance companies offer COVID-19 insurance so the extra peace of mind from the airlines is a huge bonus.
Don't Forget About Exclusions
There are a few major exclusions that travelers need to be aware of.
Air Canada's Free COVID-19′ insurance does NOT cover the following:
- Cruise Ship Travel
- Air Canada Vacations (different coverage)
- One way tickets
WestJet's Free COVID-19 insurance does NOT cover the following
- Travel in the United States
- Residents of Saskatchewan
- Cruise Ship Travel
What is covered:
- Emergency medical and hospital costs for outbound travelers if diagnosed with COVID-19 while outside of Canada (exclusions apply) for up to a maximum limit of ($200,000 CAD WestJet and $200,000 Air Canada) per insured person.
- Quarantine accommodation costs when the traveller tests positive for COVID-19 on the trip up to $150 CAD per insured person, per day to a maximum of 14 days
- Ambulance transportation and air evacuation costs related to COVID-19, up to the maximum limit of $200,000 (WestJet) and $200,000 (Air Canada) CAD per insured person
- COVID-19 repatriation costs in case of death of up to $5,000 CAD per insured person
At Travel Off Path our goal is to make traveling in the COVID-19 world easier to understand and more transparent.
Read our guide on Travel Insurance that covers COVID-19 to get a full understanding of what major insurance companies are offering Canadians.
Be sure that you are your family are properly covered for medical expenses and COVID-19 on your next holiday. It's a crazy time for travel and having that peace of mind is worth it.