Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Some major Canadian insurers will no longer cover emergency medical expenses related to the novel coronavirus for travellers who visit countries with high-level travel advisories.

Canada’s largest insurance company, Manulife Financial Corp., told The Globe and Mail on Friday it will not cover any medical expenses related to COVID-19 under individual travel policies if customers go to a destination that was the subject of a “high level” government advisory before their departure.

Allianz Global Assistance Canada – which earlier this week updated its trip cancellation policies due to COVID-19 – also said it will not cover emergency medical treatment for customers who contract coronavirus in a country that had a level 3 or 4 travel advisory related to coronavirus before they left on their trip.

Story continues below advertisement

That limitation also applies to people leaving on cruises on or after March 9, as the company considers a warning from the Public Health Agency of Canada for Canadians to avoid cruise ships travel to be a Level 4 government advisory, Allianz spokesperson Dan Keon said.

“Insurance is really there to protect for the unexpected in emergencies,” said Joan Weir, director of health and disability policy at the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

“At some point in time, [COVID-19] became so widespread that some insurers took the position that it is no longer an emergency situation from a travel perspective any more. People are certainly more aware of the coronavirus, of what COVID-19 is, and they are more aware of travel advisories too."

For Manulife and Allianz customers travelling to destinations that are not the subject of advisories, medical costs related to the coronavirus will be covered. As well, medical costs that are not related to the coronavirus will be covered for all travel destinations.

(Manulife’s group benefits medical coverage, which is offered to individuals through their employers, is not affected by the company’s changes to its individual travel policies.)

Travel insurance helps people who have to cancel trips, or receive medical care outside Canada, due to unforeseen events. Policy coverage can range from $2-million to $10-million per person. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues, insurance companies are deeming the virus a “known event” that customers are aware of before leaving the country.

The Canadian government has issued travel warnings for China, Iran, northern Italy, South Korea and Japan, in addition to the cruise ship advisory.

Story continues below advertisement

Other major insurers in Canada, such as Canada Life Assurance Co. and Sun Life Financial Inc., have not yet changed their out-of-country coverage.

Sun Life’s group benefits extended health care program, which includes “out-of-Canada” coverage for travel medical emergencies, does not have an exclusion for travel advisories or bans. This means Sun Life plan members who go to countries with a travel advisory or on a cruise ship are still covered as long as they remain eligible under their group plan.

Canada Life, which also provides medical coverage to group-benefit customers, has made no changes with respect to COVID-19.

“We will not decline coverage to people solely on the basis of their travel to a country with a travel advisory or a cruise ship,” Canada Life spokesperson Liz Kulyk.

That could change as new information emerges, she said.

“We encourage all Canadians to follow the direction of the [government] with respect to travel advisories.”

Story continues below advertisement

To date, credit card providers have made no changes to out-of-country emergency medical benefits they offer.

1 to 9 10 to 99 101 to 1000 Over 1000 cases
Que. Ont. Alta. B.C. Sask. Man. Nunavut N.W.T. Yukon N.B. N.S. P.E.I. Nfld.
1 to 9 10 to 99 101 to 1000 Over 1000 cases
Show all
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies