COVID-19 insurance is available, but industry encourages Canadians to stay home

If you feel you must fly outside of Canada during the pandemic, you can buy COVID-19 insurance coverage to help protect you in case you get the virus.

However, even the insurance industry says your best bet is just to stay home.

“The direction from the Canadian government is now clear. This is not the time to be traveling," said Will McAleer with the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada.

Anyone flying into Canada must now have proof of a recent negative test result for COVID-19. Passengers require documentation on entry showing their results and proving that the test was conducted within the past 72 hours.

Even with a negative test result travelers must still quarantine for 14 days upon their return.

If you test positive for the virus before you get on a plane in another country you could be stranded there until you get a negative test result.

You also may have to pay for the tests, which for a family travelling together can add up fast.

“We have seen tests depending on where you are traveling that can be in the hundreds of dollars per person. So if you are traveling with a family of five outside the country the costs can be real," said McAleer.

Insurancehotline.com is a website where you can search for travel insurance coverage. Anne Marie Thomas with the company says even though insurance coverage for the virus exists that doesn’t mean you should take a trip.

“If it's not essential don't go," said Thomas.

About 6,000 cases of COVID-19 across the country are linked to international travel.

COVID insurance polices differ and may have coverage for between $100,000 to $1,000,000 for COVID-related expenses.

If you test positive for COVID-19 before boarding a plane back to Canada you'll have to quarantine for a period of 14 days in the country where you are. That could mean hotel, food and transportations expenses.

If you become hospitalized and end up on a ventilator the costs could add up fast.

“If you have COVID-19 and you have to be on ventilator, $100,000 is just not enough” said Thomas.

Since there is a travel advisory in affect, if you don't have the proper insurance you could be denied coverage for health benefits and other expenses related to the virus because COVID-19 is a known exposure.

Canadians are now being vaccinated against the virus, but according to Transport Canada’s website, proof of having a vaccine will not replace a negative test result and you'll still need that negative result to enter the country.

The best advice if you don't have to travel - stay home.