Omicron variant: What types of travel insurance you should purchase

Canadians still planning to travel during the holiday season may want to think more carefully about getting travel insurance and what their coverage includes amid the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Experts say travel insurance is important in providing coverage for any medical incident abroad, but it has taken on added significance during the pandemic as health and travel conditions can change suddenly.

Omicron also has some in the travel industry divided over whether or not people should be planning international travel now.

The federal government, for its part, advised against non-essential international travel on Wednesday, but that may not prevent Canadians from leaving the country to visit friends and relatives.

“If you have to, it is important that you travel with insurance and travel insurance specifically of course [to cover you] both medically and for your trip, ”Omar Kaywan, co-founder of Goose Insurance, told CTV News Channel on Thursday.

When shopping for travel insurance, Kaywan recommends reading the terms of your plan carefully before purchasing to ensure you get the correct coverage.

“Each policy wording is different,” he said. “We recommend that all Canadians before purchasing a policy review the wording of the policy. “

In particular, Kaywan recommends three types of coverage related to COVID-19.

First of all, travelers should purchase insurance covering all hospital costs incurred if they experience severe symptoms during their trip.

“Omicron, being a highly contagious variant, the number one priority for many Canadians is and should be COVID-19 insurance in terms of the medical component,” he said.

Then, if you run into unexpected issues, including sudden changes in border restrictions, and you’ve already purchased a non-refundable plane ticket, some companies offer trip cancellation insurance to reimburse your plane ticket, Kaywan explains. .

Finally, travelers who enter another country and test positive for COVID-19 may want insurance to cover all quarantine expenses.

“[If] I have to self-isolate and quarantine for 14 days, do I have insurance to cover myself for these accommodation costs? “Said Kaywan.

Currently, for the return trip, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after short trips of 72 hours or less in the United States and abroad do not have to provide proof of a molecular test. negative, like a PCR test.

For longer trips, anyone entering Canada from international locations must undergo a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure in order to board the aircraft and avoid a potential 14-day quarantine. on arrival.

With files from CTVNews.ca’s Brooklyn Neustaeter, Alexandra Mae Jones and Sarah Turnbull