Twelve Facts You Should Know About COVID-19 Emergency Medical Travel Insurance

Twelve Facts You Should Know About COVID-19 Emergency Medical Travel Insurance
Are you wondering how your COVID-19 medical emergency travel insurance works when you have other travel medical emergencies, a pre-existing condition or a previous COVID-19 diagnosis? Here are some answers.

If you plan on travelling during this pandemic, it is vital to protect yourself trip by trip with emergency medical coverage that includes COVID-19 expenses.


Why is travel insurance important? Travel insurance is important to help protect you and your family from costs that can occur due to an unforeseen medical emergency during your trip. Your government health insurance plan only covers a fraction of healthcare expenses incurred outside Canada, and only provides limited coverage. Without travel insurance, a medical emergency could be disruptive and leave you facing large unexpected expenses.

Here are 12 facts you should know about your COVID-19 Emergency Medical Travel Insurance. (These are general facts, so see your policy or call your carrier for details).

1. Am I covered for COVID-19 under my emergency medical travel insurance policy?

You may not be. COVID-19 medical and related expenses are only covered under some emergency medical travel insurance plans that have specific COVID-19 coverage. Importantly, if you are depending on your travel insurance coverage under your employee group plan you may be at risk. Most group plans have exclusions based on travel advisories or even pandemic exclusions.

Imagine what would happen if you are hospitalized for a medical emergency unrelated to COVID-19, but you contract COVID-19 while in the hospital.  Any expenses related to the original medical emergency may be covered up to the policy limit of your emergency medical travel insurance coverage.  However, any expenses specifically related to you being diagnosed with and treated for COVID-19 may not be covered unless you have a COVID-19 travel medical emergency insurance plan.

2. Are there different options for COVID-19 coverage available for international travel (even if I’ve previously been diagnosed with COVID-19)?

Yes, SBIS offers 3 plans  you may be eligible for:

  • Manulife COVID-19 Pandemic Travel Plan
  • TuGO COVID-19 Insurance Plan
  • Destination: Travel Leisure Plan with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rider

You can buy COVID-19 insurance if you haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 30 days before departure and are not showing symptoms on or within 14 days before departure.

3. How do I know if I already have emergency medical travel coverage for COVID-19?

Check your travel insurance policy or call your insurer to see if you have coverage in place.

4. Can I buy COVID-19 insurance after my departure?

No, you must purchase your COVID-19 insurance coverage before you leave for each trip.

5. If I’m travelling to another province, do I need COVID-19 Insurance?

You will be covered for physician and hospital services by your provincial healthcare plan for COVID-19

But remember, travel insurance is vital when you travel out of province to cover emergency medical out-of-pocket costs that you may face like ambulance transportation, returning your vehicle home, prescriptions or medical supplies.

6. I have a multi-trip emergency medical policy. How do I get COVID-19 insurance for my upcoming trip?

COVID-19 specialized coverage is available only on a single trip basis.  If you have a multi-trip annual policy, you’ll need to buy COVID-19 Insurance for each trip you take during the pandemic.

7. If I test positive for COVID-19 while I am travelling will I be covered?

Yes, your COVID-19 emergency medical travel insurance will provide you coverage for medical and related expenses until you recover.

8. If I need to take a mandatory COVID-19 test during by trip, will the cost of the test be covered?

No, taking the COVID-19 test is not considered a medical emergency so it is not covered.

9. What if I have COVID-19 symptoms and take a test while I’m away?

No, the cost of the test will not be covered.

10. If my test is positive for COVID-19 will I be covered for medical and other expenses under COVID-19 Insurance?

Yes, that’s when you really need COVID-19 emergency medical insurance. The amount of coverage you have for expenses will be stated on your policy.

If you need to extend your trip during your recovery, extensions to coverage for medical expenses and quarantine expenses are usually available, subject to the policy terms and conditions. You may need to purchase an extension for the COVID-19 plan.

If your policy is going to expire while you are waiting for your test results, you can extend your policy, subject to the policy terms and conditions. If the test comes back positive, coverage will be provided for medical and quarantine expenses (but the cost of the test won’t be covered).

11. If I get the vaccine just before by trip and have a reaction to it, is that considered a pre-existing medical condition under my travel insurance policy?

Yes, any change to your health before you trip can be a considered a pre-existing medical condition. You will need to review the stability clause of your emergency medical travel insurance.

If you have a reaction to taking the vaccine while you are on the trip, it would be considered unexpected, and you will be covered under your emergency medical insurance.  Your coverage will not be limited by the COVID-19 insurance provisions, since it isn’t COVID-19-related.

12. What if I get the vaccine during my trip?

Getting a vaccine is not considered an emergency medical treatment. It is considered a preventative measure so it will not be covered under your emergency medical travel insurance.

If you get the vaccine and have a reaction while on the trip, you would be covered, according to your policy’s terms and conditions.

SBIS. We know you have questions. We have answers.

As of March 2020, COVID-19 has been considered a known circumstance for travel, which means it’s no longer considered sudden and unexpected.

If you decide to travel, you need to have medical emergency travel insurance in place that has specialized COVID-19 coverage. Call us at SBIS Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time at 1-800-667-0429 or 416-601-0429. We are ready to answer your questions and can help you put in place the coverage you need.


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