International Travel: Do You Know What’s Covered?

As more and more destinations adopt the vaccination passport system, and many people are keen to book trips to visit the people and places they have so dearly missed, there is one crucial component to confirm: your travel insurance coverage.

Before you travel, it’s important to review the travel insurance policy in detail (which is included as part of many employee benefit plans) so that you fully understand what is and what isn’t covered. In particular, there are three areas which warrant close examination: COVID coverage, the stability clause, and trip limits.

  1. COVID Coverage
    While COVID coverage has been added to most travel insurance policies, there is still variability in the coverage provided by different carriers. The first step is to check whether COVID coverage is included, either through reviewing the latest employee benefit policy, or contacting the carrier or our Benefit Strategies advisors to confirm. Depending on the level of coverage provided through your employee benefit plan, additional coverage can be purchased through a specific travel insurance policy.
  2. Stability Clause
    An important consideration for Canadians with pre-existing health or medical conditions that are looking to travel is determining whether they qualify for the “stability” clause included in most travel insurance coverage as part of their employee benefit plan. These clauses require your pre-existing health or medical conditions to be “stable” for a defined period of time prior to your trip, usually 90 days. This clause is typically quite broad, encompassing any changes to your health including starting or stopping a new or existing medication, changes in dosage of an existing medication, and seeing a doctor about another condition, even if that condition is not yet diagnosed. Given the broad definition and lengthy lead-time of most stability clauses, we recommend reviewing the terms of your specific policy well in advance of any planned travel.
  1. Trip Limits and other Limitations
    Though most employee benefit plans provide travel insurance and COVID coverage, there are typically limitations around the duration of trips. Depending on how long you’re looking to travel for, it’s important to check how long you’re covered for while you’re away – whether it’s 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, or longer. In addition, coverage policies typically include other limitations and exclusions around coverage listed in the terms. Given the rapidly changing situation with COVID, one important coverage point to check prior to travel is for any travel advisories issued by Global Affairs Canada.

In addition to these points, as you pack your bags and book your tickets, please check directly with your provider for any further updated policy information just prior to travel to avoid any unexpected complications.