December 15, 2021

Emergency Travel FAQs

As of December 15, 2021, Global Affairs Canada has issued a Level 3 worldwide travel advisory urging Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel. 

While this advisory does not prohibit ARTA members from travelling, it does impact their travel coverage. If you are currently travelling outside of Canada and are covered under the ARTA Emergency Travel plan, please note:

  • Coverage for emergency medical treatment related to COVID-19 will cease on January 5, 2021, 21 days after the advisory was first issued. All other medical treatment, unrelated to COVID-19 will continue to be payable subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.
  • If you are continuing your travels beyond January 5, 2022, you have until this date to purchase a stand-alone COVID-19 Insurance and Assistance Plan, which includes benefits for emergency medical and quarantine expenses if you test positive for COVID-19 during your trip. For more information, or to purchase the COVID-19 Insurance and Assistance Plan, please call Allianz Global Assistance at 1-800-984-0429. Allianz is experiencing a large spike in call volumes, so members wishing to contact Allianz should prepare for long wait times. Please refrain from contacting ARTA regarding this coverage option, as only Allianz is able to assist in these purchases.

If you have booked a trip and have not yet departed:

  • COVID-19 remains a known event for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. Therefore, any Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption claims related to Government of Canada travel advisories connected to COVID-19 will continue to not be payable. There are two exceptions:
    1. Trip Cancellation coverage will remain eligible if a member with Trip Cancellation benefits becomes ill due to COVID-19 in Canada before their departure from their province or territory of residence and needs to cancel their trip as a result.
    2. Trip Interruption coverage is eligible if a member with Trip Interruption benefits becomes ill due to COVID-19 while on their trip, and needs to interrupt their trip, as a result, provided a COVID-19 travel advisory to avoid non-essential (Level 3) or avoid all travel (Level 4) was not in place on the effective date of their coverage.
  • If you need to submit a claim for trip interruption, please visit the Allianz Global Assistance secure Claims Portal for faster claims processing.

Regardless of your travel plans, ARTA recommends that all members exercise caution this holiday season and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their loved ones against the threats posed by COVID-19. This includes getting vaccinated and accessing booster shots for those who are eligible.


From October 21, 2021 – December 14, 2021, Global Affairs Canada had removed their Level 3 worldwide travel advisory (though cruise ship travel remains at Level 4 – Avoid All Travel, and other countries, regions, and areas remain Level 3 or higher due to COVID-19). How does this affect ARTA’s Emergency Travel Plan?

Removal of the worldwide travel advisory means any sudden and unforeseen medical injury or illness related to COVID-19 will now be considered an eligible expense under ARTA’s Emergency Travel Plan, excluding cruises and countries, regions, and areas still subject to a Level 3 or higher travel advisory.

Additionally, COVID-19 coverage is included in ARTA’s Supplementary Travel insurance for trips of more than 92 days.

If you are currently travelling outside of Canada, you are now covered for any sudden and unforeseen injury or illness related to COVID-19. You do not need to return to your province of residnce to update your coverage.

You should still refer to the travel advice provided by Global Affairs Canada prior to leaving on your trip.

Some countries (including Mexico) continue to have active travel advisories for natural disaster, political unrest, or kidnapping and criminal activities. COVID-19 related emergencies will be covered so long as the active travel advisory for a region that is level 3 or higher is not related to COVID-19.

If you purchased COVID-19 “top-up” travel insurance from a separate provider, check the terms and conditions of your policy to see if you are eligible to cancel your coverage and receive a reimbursement. ARTA is not able to reimburse you for any coverage purchased from another provider.

If Global Affairs Canada reinstates their global travel advisory, or increases the advisory level of the country, region, or area you are visiting, you will have 10 days of remaining coverage from the time when the advisory is announced. After 10 days, your coverage related to the travel advisory will end.

While the worldwide travel advisory has been lifted, it is still recommended that ARTA members exercise caution while travelling and take appropriate precautions to protect themselves against the health threats posed by COVID-19.

 


What are the Global Affairs travel advisory levels?

Level 1 – Practice usual precautions

Travel health notices advise practising usual travel health precautions. For example, notices at this level may remind travellers about routine vaccinations, highlight the importance of hand washing, or recommend protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.

Level 2 – Practice special precautions

Travel health notices recommend that travellers practise special health precautions, such as receiving additional vaccinations. A notice at this level would be issued if there is an outbreak in a limited geographic location, a newly identified disease in the region or a change in the existing pattern of disease.

Level 3 – Avoid non-essential travel

Travel health notices include a warning to avoid non-essential travel in order to protect the health of Canadian travellers and the Canadian public. The notice outlines specific precautions to take when visiting the region and what to do if you become ill during or after travel. A notice at this level would be issued during a large-scale outbreak in a large geographic area, or if there is increased risk to the traveller and an increased risk of spreading disease to other groups including the Canadian public.

Level 4 – Avoid all travel

Advises travellers to avoid all travel in order to protect the health of the Canadian public. A notice at this level would be issued if there is a high risk of spread of disease to the general public regardless of measures taken while travelling. Avoiding travel will limit the spread of the disease in Canada and internationally.

Refer to the travel advice provided by Global Affairs Canada prior to leaving on your trip.


If I test positive for COVID-19 prior to flying home and I need to extend my trip to quarantine at my destination, will the ARTA Emergency Travel plan cover costs associated with the quarantine, such as hotel expenses, meals, and concierge services?

No, the costs associated with being quarantined due to testing positive for COVID-19 are not covered by the Emergency Travel plan. The costs associated with changing your flights are eligible via the Trip Interruption coverage.


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.

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.


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 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.


I have recently received the COVID-19 vaccination. Does being vaccinated have any effect on my ARTA Emergency Travel insurance?

No, being vaccinated against COVID-19 has no effect on your Emergency Travel coverage. Claims related to COVID-19 continue to not be covered by the plan while any “Avoid non-essential travel advisory for any affected country, region, or area subject to a Level 3 or higher” travel advisory remains in place. Coverage remains in place for all other sudden and unforeseen illnesses and injuries in accordance with the terms of the policy.


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

Information on COVID-19 is available below:

ARTA strongly encourages its members to follow all travel guidelines put in place by the Government of Canada. Members need to weigh the importance of travelling against the risks associated with COVID-19. ARTA is supporting our travel partners through this difficult time by sharing information, travel opportunities within Canada, and contests with our membership.

This individual top-up insurance plan is provided by The Co-operators and underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance, a partner company. To get a quote please call 1-800-984-0429.