Updated: March 16, 2020
The COVID-19 virus continues to be of concern to many travellers. As the situation is fluid it is important that travellers remain informed with the most up-to-date information and make informed decisions. The decision to travel is a personal one and many factors need to be considered. The latest updates are provided through the links found within this communication.
Canada's Travel Advisory:
- Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
- Avoid all cruise ship travel
CAA recommends traveller's travelling out of the country to register your travel plans with the Canadian Government – Registration of Canadians Abroad. This is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.
Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, such as the common cold, but can also affect the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchitis.
On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this to be a Public Health Emergency of International concern (PHEIC). This type of declaration occurs when the disease affects many countries and triggers recommendations to prevent or reduce the spread of the disease worldwide.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) maintains that the risks associated with COVID-19 to public health in Canada is low. Risks to public health are being continually reassessed as new information becomes available. The latest updates can be found on the Government of Canada’s website, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions
The World Health Organization has created a Novel Coronavirus: Myth busters page to provide you with additional information and advice.
See Canada’s how Canada is responding to the COVID- 19.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has recommended that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
Travel to China: The Government of Canada is advising to:
- avoid non-essential travel China due to the imposition of travel restrictions and quarantines in parts of the country in order to limit the spread of a novel coronavirus.
- avoid all travel to the province of Hubei, a province-wide quarantine has been imposed by the Chinese authorities in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Individuals are restricted from entering or leaving Hubei
Travel to Iran: The Government of Canada is advising to:
- avoid all travel to Iran due to travel restrictions by the spread of coronavirus.
Other active travel notices for COVID-19
Other restrictions: A number of countries have put entry requirements and restrictions in place for travellers, particularly for passengers who have transited through or have been in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, South Korea and the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
Some airlines and cruise lines have implemented advisories denying boarding to passengers with a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau. Additionally, restrictions may apply to passengers travelling to/from/via China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, South Korea and the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto as well as those who have been in touch with people who reside in these areas.
We recommend that you check for any restrictions that may impact your trip before you travel:
- Check with the airline, cruise line or tour operator.
- Check the destination country’s official government website or their Ministry of Tourism website.
- Consult with your travel agent.
- Review your travel insurance with your provider to understand your coverage, and how any restrictions may impact you.
- If you booked through CAA Travel, contact your travel agent. We’d be happy to help with any questions.
Have CAA Travel Insurance?
We’ve put together this quick FAQ around CAA Travel Insurance coverage related to the Coronavirus. If you have travel insurance through another provider, contact them with any questions around your options
Q: Is it too late to buy trip cancellation and interruption insurance for my upcoming trip to Asia now that I’ve learned about this new virus?
A: If you’re buying trip cancellation and interruption insurance now because of the possibility that you may need to cancel your trip due to the outbreak of the virus, your coverage may be affected. It’s always best to consider travel insurance when you’re making your travel plans to protect yourself and your travel investment.
Q: Global Affairs Canada issued an Avoid non-essential travel, travel advisory to China. What does this mean for me and my trip to China?
A: Travel medical insurance: This means that if you decide to travel to the country despite the issued travel advisory, you will not be covered by emergency medical insurance.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Contact your travel provider to find out how they will be dealing with the situation (eg. Refunds, reschedule, or credit). You can make a claim for the undelivered travel itinerary if you were not already refunded by the travel supplier.
Or, in both cases, if you don’t go or continue with your trip, and don’t make a claim with your travel insurance, and your travel arrangements were fully refunded, you may request for a refund for the travel insurance premium.
Q: I’m supposed to leave next week for my trip to China. Can I cancel my trip and be reimbursed for non-refundable travel expenses?
A: Global Affairs Canada travel advisory to Avoid non-essential travel has been issued for China as of January 29, 2020. You may cancel your trip before departure and use your insurance for reimbursement of non-refundable, pre-paid travel expenses. Check your policy for details.
Q: I’m in China right now and I want to come home early to avoid catching this? Is there a benefit to cover my early return?
A: As of January 29, 2020, a Global Affairs Canada travel advisory to Avoid non-essential travel has been issued for China. Call your insurance company and speak with them to find out if there are options for you.
Q: I’m in China and have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus/have been to an affected area and cannot fly home on my return date. Will travel insurance cover any of the extra expenses?
A: If you have trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and can’t return home on your scheduled return date, you may be eligible to make a claim. In all cases, call your travel insurance provider to explain your situation and get clarification on your insurance benefits. Make sure to get as much documentation from the medical facility as possible and keep all your receipts. If your return home is delayed, what you’ll need is documentation from the treating physician in addition to your receipts. Make sure to call your insurance company to confirm all your benefits as each policy is slightly different.
Q: I am in an area of China that has just become quarantined. Can I return home early?
A: Travel medical insurance: There is no benefit to help return you home early.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Contact your airline and the Canadian consulate to find out if there are any flight options available to you to leave the country. Yes, in this case you may be eligible to submit expenses related to returning home early.
Q: I am in an area of China that has become quarantined. Will my insurance be extended and what do I have to do?
A: Contact your travel insurance company to purchase a Top Up/Extension to extend your travel insurance coverage while you are quarantined in China.
Q: I have trip cancellation and interruption policy, and I am travelling to Arizona in February. All the media attention that Coronavirus is getting has made me nervous and I don’t want to travel. Can I cancel my trip and get a refund?
A: If the Global Affairs Canada hasn’t issued an Avoid non-essential or Avoid all travel, travel advisory for your destination/region, you may not receive reimbursement for non-refundable, pre-paid travel expenses. However, if your travel insurance policy has a Cancel for any reason benefit, you may apply for reimbursement for your travel expenses after you’ve cancelled your trip.
Q: What can I do to get advice on this issue?
A: If you have questions on your CAA Travel Insurance benefits, please contact CAA Assistance for help.
If you are in China and don’t know what to do, contact the Government of Canada’s consulate in China or go to travel.gc.ca for assistance.
Call your travel insurance provider if you have any other questions about travel insurance and always consider travel insurance when you’re trip planning to ensure you and your trip investment are protected. Travel safe.
*Due to the Global restrictions around travel outside of Canada, all travel insurance purchased after March 13, 2020 will not cover covid-19.
CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 55 years of age and older.