Free COVID-19 Travel Insurance Offered by Air Canada

A picture of a plan to denote Air Canada's free covid-19 travel insurance that is available for international travel.

Free COVID-19 travel insurance offered by Air Canada was in my email inbox today. It sounded interesting and I decided to take a closer look. In the email it said that if you book an international flight from now till the end of October 31, 2020, you will be eligible for this travel insurance which has been underwritten by Manulife.

So what is the purpose of this travel insurance promotion? Here’s what was said in the email, “We hope this new insurance, combined with Air Canada CleanCare+, our industry-leading biosafety measures, and our flexible change and cancellation policies, gives you peace-of-mind for your future international travel.” So what are the details of this coverage?

Free COVID-19 Travel Insurance Offered by Air Canada, Details

I clicked on the link in the email and was taken to Air Canada’s website where it had details of the travel insurance. The first thing I noticed was that the insurance would cover international travel up to April 12, 2021. It would cover emergency medical insurance and quarantine insurance due to COVID-19. This insurance is even offered to tickets booked with Aeroplan miles. What are some other requirements?

Other Eligibility Requirements

Here’s what was listed on the Air Canada’s website that was highlighted above:

-Passenger must be a Canadian resident with a valid provincial or territory government health insurance plan for the duration of the trip.

-Bookings including at least one Air Canada flight and on a new Air Canada ticket (code 014) issued between September 17, 2020 and October 31, 2020. You will qualify for coverage regardless of whether your first flight was operated by Air Canada or by one of Air Canada’s code share or interline partners so long as your booking was ticketed on Air Canada and includes at least one Air Canada flight (marketed or operated).

-Travel duration of up to 21 days.

-Travel must originate in Canada to any international destination (USA included) for which there is no Level-4 “avoid all travel” advisory in effect issued by the Canadian government at time of departure.

-There is no age restriction to be eligible for this coverage.

-Traveller must not be advised by a physician not to travel.

What Does the Free COVID-19 Insurance Cover?

Here’s what listed on the Air Canada website below:

CoverageLimit (CDN)
Medical Coverage after a COVID-19 positive test result in destinationUp to $200,000 CDN per insured
Quarantine expenses after a COVID-19 positive test result, denied entry or contact tracing in destination$150/day up to $2100 per person, or $300/day up to $4200 per family (Maximum duration of 14 days)
Emergency Air Transport to return you homeIncluded in $200,000 per insured
Repatriation due to deathUp to policy limits as outlined in the certificate of insurance
Level 3 Travel Advisory upgraded to Level 4 Travel Advisory by Canadian GovernmentUp to a combined $500 per person for: *return airfare* meals and accommodations

What’s Not Covered?

There are a few things Air Canada lists that it doesn’t cover as listed below:

-Travel booked for periods longer than 21 days (the entire trip is not eligible).

-Travel beyond April 12, 2021.

-Tickets purchased from another airline, even if that airline is a code-share partner airline of Air Canada, regardless of whether the flight is operated by Air Canada.

-Travel during your cruise dates, or any expenses related to your cruise.

-One-way tickets.

-Air Canada Vacations bookings are not eligible as they are subject to a separate complimentary COVID-19 insurance coverage and policy. More details here.

-Residents of any other country aside from Canada.

A Couple Areas of Caution regarding this new travel insurance

The insurance seems pretty good but I noticed a couple areas of caution. The first is in the travel advisory, where it says as long as the Canadian government has not deemed the place you are travelling to a level 4. However, the Canadian government has deemed all travel outside Canada a level 3 which means that we should avoid all non essential travel. What happens if the government changes the level of the place you are visiting to level 4? There is some coverage up to $500 for airfare, meals and accommodation. Is there any thing else? Also, what if this changes before you leave for your destination?

This also brings up the issue of should we even be travelling in the first place if the Canadian government says that there should not be any non essential travel. Is planning a trip to Europe for example essential? It is an interesting question for us to ponder.

The second thing to think about is the duration you are allowed. The insurance covers travel period of 21 days or less. If it is longer than 21 days, then the entire trip is not covered. This is tricky considering that many countries have a required 14 day quarantine period for people entering their country. If that is the case, your trip is essentially cut down to one week. That is a tight window. And what happens if there are delays at the airport and you are delayed for a day or two and you end up longer than 21 days? These are things to think about before making the decision that is right for you and your family.

Conclusion

The free COVID-19 travel insurance offered by Air Canada sounds interesting. However, as with anything, it is the details that matter. And so it is important to inform yourself as much as possible and weigh the pros and cons. Because at the end of the day, it is not only a trip you are considering but you are weighing the risks to your health. And that is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Stay safe everyone.