July 16, 2020

Emergency Travel FAQs

As of October 20, 2020, Global Affairs Canada has not yet changed their travel advisory from “avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada” (Risk Level 3). What happens to COVID-19 coverage once Foreign Affairs Canada eases its advisory to either “Exercise a high degree of caution” (Risk Level 2) or “Exercise normal security precautions” (Risk Level 1) before the WHO rescinds its pandemic declaration, or vice versa?  

Once Foreign Affairs Canada lifts the travel advisories, travel coverage will commence as usual. As long as a covered member is not travelling to a region, city or country with an active advisory, they will be covered for COVID-19 subject to all other terms and conditions of the policy.

For insurance coverage purposes what might constitute “essential” (as opposed to non-essential) travel?

Regardless of the reason for travel, essential or otherwise, if there are any active Risk Level 3 or Risk Level 4 advisories in place at the time of departure, any claims resulting from the reason for the advisory (i.e. COVID-19) will not be covered.

With respect to travel outside of an ARTA member’s province of residence, what coverage is in place if a member is hospitalized due to COVID-19?

There are currently no travel advisories in place domestically; therefore claims related to COVID-19 are covered subject to all other terms and conditions of the policy.

How is my Trip Cancellation coverage impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is important to note that travel insurance is intended to cover the unexpected. Any claims resulting from events or circumstances known to you when purchasing insurance are not covered.

As COVID-19 is an ongoing, global pandemic, effective August 1st, 2020, Allianz have determined COVID-19 to be a known event for Trip Cancellation benefits.

  • As a result, for trips purchased on or after August 1st, 2020, Trip Cancellation claims related to a Government of Canada travel advisory being issued due to COVID-19 for your destination will not be payable.
  • Trip Cancellation benefits will still be eligible if you contract COVID-19 in your home province prior to your departure date and need to cancel your trip as a result, regardless of when your trip is purchased.
  • For trips that were purchased before August 1st, 2020, you will still be eligible to claim for Trip Cancellation if the Government of Canada issued a travel advisory related to COVID-19 after the date of purchase and prior to your departure date, that advised against non-essential travel (Level 3) or all travel (Level 4) to your destination.

We cannot travel outside of Canada due to COVID-19. Is ARTA going to refund travel insurance premiums?

ARTA’s emergency travel insurance policy has been able to support a considerable number of ARTA members who were outside of Canada when the Government of Canada issued a directive to return to Canada, and have covered travel costs for upcoming trips that needed to be cancelled due to COVID-19 via the trip cancellation coverage.

A partial refund or adjustment of premium may be available for Supplementary Travel coverage if your trip was cut short and additional coverage was not required, as long as a medical claim was not incurred during your trip.

As a group plan, monthly premiums are based on overall claims paid by the plan. Given the reduced claims paid by the plan due to COVID-19, ARTA will be reducing rates this fall for Extended Health Care and Dental Care benefits for the 2020-21 renewal year. This longer-term approach is more favourable for our members than a temporary rate reduction.

Can I claim the full amount of my trip via emergency travel insurance in the event I received a travel voucher instead of a refund from my travel provider?

Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage are designed to cover costs for cancelled trips that are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Amounts that are reimbursed via a refund, voucher, or credit are not eligible for a claim.

Covered members who are unable to use their voucher or credit before its expiry, who require more time to use their voucher or credit, or who have other disputes regarding refunds and credits, should contact their travel supplier. Emergency travel coverage does not extend to reimbursements for expired travel vouchers or credits.

I received my renewal brochure and it indicates my Supplementary Travel will not be renewing automatically this year. Will I be able to add Supplementary Travel once the travel advisories have been lifted?

Yes, you will be able to add Supplementary Travel coverage (for trips lasting more than 92 days) once the travel advisories have been lifted. If you are planning a trip within Canada but outside your province of residence beyond 92 days you can contact ASEBP to add Supplementary Travel coverage for this particular trip.

There are a number of travel companies offering coverage for claims specifically related to COVID-19. Does the ARTA 92-day base emergency travel plan cover me for all other medical emergencies not related to COVID-19?

Yes, the ARTA emergency travel plan continues to cover you for sudden and unexpected medical illnesses or injuries sustained while you are outside of your province of residence, which are not related to COVID-19, for trips lasting up to 92 days. Please note that many of the COVID-19 specific coverage offered by travel companies are for trips up to 21 days duration only.

Allianz announced COVID-19 related travel insurance on October 15. Is this coverage part of my ARTA travel plan?

Allianz, ARTA’s emergency travel assistance provider, recently announced the launch of a COVID-19 specific policy for individual travellers. Coverage for this policy is available through Allianz’ travel insurance broker network; not through ARTA. If you decide to purchase this new Allianz coverage through a broker, rest assured the ARTA Emergency Travel plan will continue to cover you for all sudden and unexpected illnesses and injuries which are not COVID-19 related while you are travelling.

What other resources are available for more information on COVID-19 and how it is affecting travel?

Information on COVID-19 is available below: