Why COVID-19 vaccination matters when it comes to travel medical insurance

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: travel medical insurance coverage post-pandemic'
Consumer Matters: travel medical insurance coverage post-pandemic
As Canadians start planning international vacations again, travel insurance requirements are changing - including when it comes to who's eligible for medical coverage. Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has more on why vaccinations matter – Jul 26, 2021

Insurance experts warn that those who are planning a vacation outside of Canada should have adequate travel medical insurance.

“Do not travel without travel medical insurance,” Omar Kaywan, co-founder of Vancouver-based Goose Insurance, said.

“It’s the biggest risk that you’re putting yourself into, especially in today’s world where you know we still haven’t come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Kaywan said he is seeing more and more countries make travel insurance — specifically, travel medical insurance — a requirement for visitors.

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“It’s really important to travel knowing what the entry requirements are and being fully vaccinated for sure will help with the process,” he said.

Many travel insurance policies are starting to offer COVID-19 coverage in the event of a medical emergency.

Kaywan said Goose Insurance is following Health Canada guidelines to ensure the most adequate medical coverage. Travellers who are double-dosed for at least 14 days or those who have had a first dose and are awaiting a second vaccine will be eligible. However, anyone who is unvaccinated by choice will not be covered under the policy.

The average overnight hospital stay in the U.S. can be between $12,000 and $15,000.

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“It’s really not worth it to come back with a big huge financial bill,” Kaywan said. “Our provincial health plan does not cover us outside of Canada and in some cases, it doesn’t even cover us outside of our province. So it’s really critical that Canadians travel with it, particularly outside of Canada.”

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When buying travel medical insurance find out the insurance provider’s exclusions and limitations, especially around pre-existing medical conditions. Also, research the insurance company’s network.

“You want to buy from a provider that has a large global network that, God forbid if you are in any medical emergency, you can easily make a claim,” Kaywan said

Consumers are also advised to review their policies.

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