Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Insurance

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Travel Insurance & COVID 19

Learn why members should pack Pacific Blue Cross travel Insurance.

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COVID-19 and Our Travel Medical Plans

COVID-19 Coverage is simple with a Pacific Blue Cross Travel Medical plan: 

If you meet these criteria:

  • Have not had COVID-19 in the 30 days prior to your departure
  • Meet all other standard eligibility requirements of the plan

You will be covered for up to $10,000,000 for all eligible benefits under our Emergency Medical plan if you contract or test positive for COVID 19 while you’re away.  This includes medical expenses, subsistence costs for unexpected quarantine and more. Simple as that.

Still have questions? See our FAQ below:

  1. Canada is no longer advising against non-essential travel. What does this mean? Am I covered?

    We support the Canadian Government’s official position on travelling vaccinated.

    COVID 19 will be covered on our Emergency Medical plans for all travellers regardless of vaccination status except for:

    • Anyone who has had COVID within the 30 days prior to departure; and/or
    • An unvaccinated traveler in a region or destination where COVID-19 has a Canadian Government advisory against travel.

    Our policy excludes coverage for any “medical condition resulting from an infectious disease or illness for which there is a travel advisory or health warning by a Canadian Government Agency that has been published or broadcast in the media prior to the Effective date of the Covered Person’s policy” unless the Covered Person is Fully Vaccinated as per our contract language.

  2. Are there vaccinations that I should get prior to travel?
    • When travelling internationally, you may be at risk for a number of diseases which are common in other parts of the world. Some countries may require vaccinations as part of their entry requirements. You can learn more about Travel Vaccines on our Vaccination page.
  3. What if I cannot be vaccinated for an infectious disease?

    Vaccinations are not always appropriate for some Canadians such as children or immunocompromised individuals.  If you are travelling to a country where there is a Government of Canada advisory warning against the outbreak of an infectious disease such as COVID-19, unvaccinated travellers will not be covered for this infectious disease regardless of their personal reasons for not being vaccinated. This only applies if there is an advisory in place, such as a level 3 or 4 risk level.

  4. Do I still need Travel Medical Insurance if my airline is including COVID-19 insurance when I purchase a
    plane ticket?

    We recommend you always have appropriate insurance coverage when leaving British Columbia. While COVID-19 insurance may be included in some airline tickets, it’s important to understand the amount of coverage that you will receive and know any limitations or exclusions to the policy. It’s very important to also ensure you have appropriate travel insurance to cover other emergency medical situations that may arise. For example, these policies typically will not cover you for any other illness or injury that might happen on your trip, such as a broken leg or heart attack.

  5. Will my Pacific Blue Cross travel or Visitor to Canada plan cover the cost of the COVID test?

    No. Lab tests are only considered when they are ordered by a doctor in an acute medical emergency situation.

  6. Does my Visitors to Canada plan cover me for COVID-19 if I am Fully Vaccinated?

    Our Visitors to Canada plans will always exclude coverage for expenses covered by  Government Health Plans.  Currently, COVID related expenses are covered for everyone - including those without MSP coverage. For this reason, our ​VTC plans will continue to exclude COVID-19.

    Current information from MSP can be found at the bottom of this page:​

    "If you are in B.C. and would otherwise not be eligible for coverage under MSP, you will be provided provincially insured health care coverage for services related to suspected or confirmed cases of infection with COVID-19.​"

  7. The country we are visiting requires all visitors to quarantine for 5 days before we can leave our hotel, even if we test negative and have our full vaccines. Does our insurance pay for this?

    No, this is not covered as it is an expected expense.

  8. Someone in my travel party caught covid. They have their own insurance and I have PBC Emergency Medical. Our return home is now delayed for 14 days and I’m scrambling to pay for a new hotel. Does my PBC travel plan cover me for this?

    As long as You:

    • Have not had COVID in the 30 days prior to departure;
    • Meet all of the other eligibility requirements of your plan

    You will be covered for eligible subsistence benefits of up to $300 per day to a maximum of $3,000 under your plan.  This would not include costs for your travel companion, they must check with their own insurer.

  9. We are fully vaccinated but have received a shocking positive COVID test on our return home. We cannot board our flight and are stuck paying for our quarantine time. Does my policy cover me for anything? We aren’t even sick!

    As long as You:

    • Have not had COVID in the 30 days prior to departure;
    • Meet all of the other eligibility requirements of your plan

    You will be covered for eligible subsistence benefits of up to $300 per day to a maximum of $3,000 under your plan.


COVID-19 and our Trip Protection Plans

For all Trip Protection plans that include trip cancellation or interruption purchased after March 13, 2020, COVID-19 is considered a known event. 

Travellers should expect that they may experience cancellations or delays because of COVID-19 impacts around the world, which means your Pacific Blue Cross Trip Protection plans will not reimburse these expenses.

Even though COVID-19 is not included, a Pacific Blue Cross Trip Protection plan can protect you against all the other situations that you may experience such as unexpected weather delays or lost baggage.

Airlines and other trip providers are offering free flight changes and COVID-19 cancellation, however they don’t generally protect you for anything else other than COVID-19. These free changes can often be very restrictive and may still result in out of pocket losses if you can’t go on your trip.

A Pacific Blue Cross Trip Protection plan is a great way to protect your travels.

  1. Why do I need Trip Protection insurance if airlines are providing free cancellation insurance?

    Many airlines require you to purchase a certain fare level to receive free cancellation or they may only provide a flight credit or one-time change should you need to cancel or postpone your travel for a covered condition. Trip Protection insurance allows you to recover your pre-paid travel costs no matter the fare level purchased.

  2. I have trip interruption coverage and I had to change my flight to get testing done. Can I claim the cost of the new flight?

    No. COVID-19 is a situation known prior to travel. We do not cover any COVID-19 related trip protection expenses.

  3. How far in advance of my planned trip can I purchase a plan?

    You can purchase Pacific Blue Cross Travel Insurance up to 365 days before you depart for your trip. We also offer the flexibility of refunds on Travel Medical Insurance up to 48 hours before you depart. Trip Protection plans can be purchased at any time, even if your first payment for a trip expense was a number of months ago. Just remember that COVID-19 remains a known event, so Trip Protection claims related to COVID-19 would not be covered at this time.

  4. If airlines are including COVID-19 coverage, does that mean that I can travel outside of Canada?

    It’s important to check government travel advisories prior to travelling. Public health officials are currently recommending that Canadians avoid non-essential, international travel. Travelling when there is a government advisory before you are fully vaccinated may impact your travel insurance coverage.


Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Insurance

  1. Why do I need Travel Insurance?

    You should be aware that your provincial coverage may not pay for all health care costs you may incur while outside of the province, and the difference can be substantial. For example, B.C. pays $75 (CAD) a day for emergency in-patient hospital care, while the average cost in the U.S. often exceeds $1000 (US) a day, and can be as high as $10,000 (US) a day in intensive care. For this reason, you are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance from a private insurer before you leave the province, whether you are going to another part of Canada or outside the country. You are advised to purchase additional coverage even if you plan to be away for only a day.

  2. How do I get free travel coverage for my kids?

    When you purchase Travel Medical insurance for one or two parents, each child 18 years of age or younger who is subsequently added to your travel policy will receive free emergency medical coverage for up to $10,000,000.

  3. Who should I contact if I have an Emergency (illness or accident) while I am traveling?

    If the Covered person needs health care while out of the province, he/she must call Medi-Assist immediately. Within Canada and the USA: 1 888 699–9333. From all other countries: 1 604 419-4487 collect. Please have your travel certificate number and your Care Card number ready.

  4. How do I get the discount on travel coverage if I already have Extended Health or Dental coverage from Pacific Blue Cross?

    If you have a Pacific Blue Cross Extended Health Care and/or Dental plan you are eligible to receive a discount of 10% or more off your Travel Insurance premium. Simply enter your extended health or dental policy number and any applicable discounts will be automatically applied to your purchase.

  5. Is your plan first payer?

    If you have an Extended Health Plan with Pacific Blue Cross, your Travel Plan will be first payer. This protects the lifetime limit on your Extended Health Plan.

  6. What if I have coverage under my spouse’s plan?

    If you have additional coverage through a benefits plan outside Pacific Blue Cross, we will coordinate cost-sharing of claims with that plan and provider. This will impact your plan as outlined in your spouse’s policy. However, there will be no impact to your existing Pacific Blue Cross extended health coverage.

  7. What if I want to stay longer than my original trip length?
    Important COVID-19 Travel Insurance information – Due to the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and in alignment with our policy terms and conditions, we will not be providing extensions of coverage until further notice.

    You may be able to extend your existing Travel Plan. Extensions must be purchased before your existing Plan expires.

    Please contact Pacific Blue Cross – we'll review your Travel Plan to see if it is eligible for an extension.

    Phone: 604 419-2200

    Toll Free (within North America): 1 877 PAC-BLUE (1 877 722-2583)


  8. Do I need Travel Insurance when travelling in Canada?

    Our Government health plan covers a limited amount of expenses that are incurred outside the province. A Travel Plan will pick up costs not covered by our Government health plan. More information on the limitations of your BC Health Plan (MSP) coverage and why you should have travel insurance for trips within Canada is available on the BC Ministry of Health website.

  9. Why should I purchase Multiple Trip plan instead of Single Trip plan?

    If you take more than 2 trips per year, it may be less expensive to buy 1 Multiple Trip plan instead of 2 or more Single Trip plans. For example, if you are in the 0 - 34 age group, you take two 15 day trips in one year and if you purchase two Single Trip plans, it would cost you $86 for both plans. Alternatively, if you purchase one 15-day Multiple Trip plan, the cost would be $52. Plus you will be covered for any more trips (up to 15 days in length) taken within the year.

  10. Which Multiple Trip Plan should I purchase?

    Determine how long your average trip is going to be and buy a plan based on that length of trip. If necessary, you can extend some of your trips that are longer in duration.

  11. What is trip cancellation (Trip Protection)?

    This benefit will provide reimbursement of your travel costs if your trip is cancelled before departure due to a covered risk.

  12. What does Trip Protection Insurance provide cover for?

    Trip Protection Insurance helps you recover non-refundable, prepaid expenses should an unexpected situation such as these arise:

    • An event that leads the Government of Canada to issue a general recommendation not to travel to the region (plan must be purchased prior to the Government’s recommendation)
    • Illness that requires a doctor’s attention prior to or hospitalization during your trip
    • Adverse weather conditions resulting in cancellations or delays
    • Unexpected death in the family
    • New pregnancy that would mean the Covered person would be travelling during the 33rd week or later of their pregnancy
    • Jury duty (except for Law enforcement officers)
    • Loss of employment (must be employed permanently for at least 1 consecutive year)
  13. What if I have Trip Protection Insurance and I decide not to travel?

    Trip Protection Insurance provides coverage when an unexpected situation impacts your travel plans. Deciding not to travel because you no longer want to go or you don’t think it will be safe (unless the Government of Canada has issued a general recommendation not to travel to the region) are not covered reasons. Check your policy’s details for a full explanation of what is covered.

  14. I have a chronic illness. Am I still covered?

    It depends on the illness, its seriousness and its stability. Some illnesses are easily covered. Others require a three or six month stability period, depending on your age. Blue Cross offers the possibility of covering your illness with a medical questionnaire (available for persons aged 61 and over) filled out by your treating physician; Blue Cross’ medical team will then evaluate your condition. If authorized, you can travel worry-free: your chronic illness will also be covered.

  15. Do I need to complete a medical questionnaire?

    A distinction should be made between a statement of health and a medical questionnaire.

    A medical questionnaire is an option Blue Cross offers to cover pre-existing conditions for individuals over 61 years of age. You are not obliged to complete this questionnaire, however doing so gives you a definite advantage. In 80% of cases, the questionnaires result in coverage that may otherwise not be granted. Simply have your doctor complete the questionnaire and send it to us. Your health status will then be assessed by the Blue Cross medical director; if your pre-existing condition is stable and does not present an increased risk, it will be covered and you will be able to leave on your trip with true peace of mind.

    The statement of health determines what will be covered, what will be excluded and the travel insurance premium. The premium is based on the risks inherent with age, the health condition and trip length.

  16. Can I buy travel insurance if I have an existing medical condition?

    Yes - Regardless of any existing conditions, we always advise members to still purchase coverage, as it will protect against all other accidents not related to that condition.

    Travel insurance policies are designed to provide protection against unexpected emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption.

    Depending on your age and the condition pre-existing medical conditions are covered if they are stable for a certain time period (as specified in your policy) before your policy's effective date.

    It is important you review and understand any clauses or definitions in your chosen policy. Each travel insurance policy will uniquely define a pre-existing condition and there are many variations in wording. For example, policies may not cover conditions arising prior to the trip departure date:

    • that are unstable
    • where symptoms of an illness appeared
    • that have been diagnosed or treated
    • where medications have been changed

    Travel policies will also specify a time frame, based on your age that relates to the evaluation of your pre-existing conditions. This time frame could be as short as 3 months but could be 1 year, 5 years or longer.

    Some policies may provide coverage for your pre-existing conditions if you complete a more detailed medical questionnaire.

    When purchasing our travel policy, we will evaluate pre-existing conditions for people 60 years and younger based on their health within the previous 3 months prior to the day their coverage begins. For people age 61 and over, we evaluate based on their health within 6 months prior.

  17. Will travel insurance cover me if I am pregnant?

    Travel insurance policies often have limitations of coverage associated with pregnancy similar to the limitations within the travel industry at large. For this reason it is important you understand these limitations prior to commencing your travel.

  18. Why are you asking for my Care Card Number?

    In order for you to qualify to purchase travel insurance, you must have a valid Care Card number. Although, you are not required to provide it at time of purchase, we may request it later in order to process your claim.

  19. Can I pay by cheque?

    When applying online, you must pay by using a major credit card.

    However, you can mail in an application and enclose a cheque payable to Pacific Blue Cross for the premium. You can also come into our office and apply. Pacific Blue Cross must receive your application and cheque before you depart from BC.

  20. How do I make a claim?
  21. How do I appeal a claim decision?

    If you wish to appeal a decision about a recent claim, contact our Call Centre. Often an issue can be resolved by simply providing you with more information about your claim or what is covered by your plan.

    If one of our customer service representatives is unable to resolve the matter with you, they can escalate your request to a Benefit Review Committee for further review. They will explain how to file your appeal and help you to provide all relevant information regarding your claim.

  22. How do I apply for a refund?

    A request for a refund of premium can be made prior to the Effective date of the policy, A request for a refund of premium can be made prior to the Effective date of the policy, if the insured returns to his/her province or territory of residence prior to the expiry date of the policy, or when a Visitors to Canada or policyholder becomes covered under a provincial or territorial hospital/medical plan. Please fill-in and return the Request for Travel Premium Refund Form to No refund can be given if you are covered under Trip Cancellation, Emergency Return Benefit and / or an Annual insurance plan. Administrative charges may apply.

  23. Are there vaccinations that I should get prior to travel?

    When travelling internationally, you may be at risk for a number of diseases which are common in other parts of the world. You can learn more about Travel Vaccines on our Vaccination page. Always remember to perform a Travel Health Check before you go.

  24. How does a Travel Advisory issued by the government affect travel coverage?

    Global Affairs collects and reports on health, safety and security across the world, and provides this information on their website for the benefit of travelling Canadians. 

    Each country is individually assessed and assigned one of four main risk levels. These may apply to the whole country, or a region within the country.

    The first two levels are considered travel advice:

    1. Exercise normal security precautions – no significant health or security risks are present, and the situation is similar to what you might expect in Canada.
    2. Exercise a high degree of caution - there might be some health or safety concerns in the country, and monitoring local media is recommended.  This level might be used if there has been some localized crime or violence that a traveller should be aware of so they can do their best to avoid the situation while they are exploring their destination.

    The next two levels are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are only issued when the safety and security of Canadians is compromised. When advisories are issued, Canadians can expect to be at risk if they choose to travel when an advisory has been called.

    1. Avoid non-essential travel – there are specific health, safety and/or security concerns that put you at risk. You are strongly advised not to go if your travel can be avoided, unless it is absolutely essential.
    2. Avoid all travel – there is extreme risk to personal safety and security. You should not travel to this country, territory or region, and you should leave immediately if it is safe for you to do so. Access to healthcare is extremely limited or unavailable.

    When a country has been assessed an official advisory, the reason for the advisory will be listed as well.


    When this advisory is related to an infectious disease or specific illness, then your policy will not cover you against this infectious disease or specific illness because you have been advised of this risk prior to your travel.  You are still covered for illness or injury related expenses that are not associated with the advisory.

    There are two exceptions:

    • If the risk level is 3, and you are considered by us to be an essential traveler, then you would be covered for eligible medical expenses related to the reason for the advisory. Risk level 4 remains excluded, even for essential travellers.
    • If you are fully vaccinated against the infectious disease or illness that is the cause for the advisory, then you would be covered for eligible medical expenses related to the reason for the advisory. Risk level 4 remains excluded, even for vaccinated travelers.

    If the official travel advisory is called while you are already at the destination, then you will be covered for eligible medical expenses related to the reason for the advisory, even if it is risk level 4.

    Travelling to a country in which the risk level is 4 is strongly discouraged as your coverage will be extremely limited:

    • If the reason for the advisory is related to infectious disease or illness, you will be travelling against the advice of Health Canada’s physicians and your medical claims would not be considered, even if you are fully vaccinated.
    • If the reason for the advisory is related to war, terrorism, insurrection, civil unrest, acts of hostility, military, or other similar events, your related injury claims will not be paid.

    Claims entirely unrelated to the reasons for a Risk Level 4 advisory may be considered, however are generally limited to accidental injury because travellers are advised that access to infrastructure and services such as healthcare are limited or unavailable.


    When the Canadian government issues an official advisory of risk level 3 or 4  to your destination causing you to cancel or interrupt travel, it is considered an unexpected situation and is therefore eligible for Trip Protection benefits. However, your trip must have been purchased PRIOR TO the government issued advisory.

    Travel Insurance is intended to protect consumers from sudden and unforeseen events that arise and leave them with out of pocket expenses that they did not expect to incur.

    When a Level 3 or 4 advisory is issued by the Government of Canada, they are stating that Canadians can expect to experience health or safety concerns and so should not travel.

    For any Trip Cancellation benefits, this means that a trip purchased after a Level 3 or 4 advisory is issued cannot be cancelled for the reason of this advisory. This is an expected event.

    For any Interruption/Delay benefits, if you choose to depart on your trip after the Government of Canada has issued a Level 3 or 4 advisory, then all benefits on your plan are invalidated. You are not covered because it is expected that you could experience an issue causing a claim. 

    Government Advisory Level

    Purchased as a stand-alone plan or part of a Package plan, Travel Medical provides coverage for:

    • Emergency medical
    • Hospitalization
    • Ambulance fees
    • Repatriation costs

    Purchased as a stand-alone plan or part of a Package plan, Trip Protection provides coverage for:

    • Trip cancellation, interruption, delay
    • Baggage
    • Air flight accident
    • Accidental death & dismemberment
    LVL 1 & 2
    LVL 3 & 4
    When travelling without vaccination, or vaccine unavailable


    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    LVL 3 & 4
    When travelling Fully Vaccinated


    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    • PBC advisory exclusion only applies to an outbreak of infectious disease. Not all infectious diseases have available vaccines.
    • Claims unrelated to the infectious disease are not impacted by advisories and will be paid according to contract terms.
    • This chart is for illustrative purposes only and does not form part of your contract. Full details are found in the Travel Policy.

    About Regional Advisories

    When there are Regional Advisories — some geographic areas of your trip are assigned risk Level 1 and 2, but some parts are 3 or 4 — your benefits will be impacted if your claim occurs in the region assessed at risk level 3 or 4.  All of the same medical and trip protection rules will apply to your travel in that region, as they would  if your whole trip was in that area. It is vital that you understand the risk associated with your entire trip to know how your plan will respond.

    When risk levels remain Level 1 or 2, all of your benefits are in force and applied according to the contract. This would include contracting COVID19 during your travel, or being delayed because of quarantine.

    This information applies to all of our plans, single trip or annual, stand alone or packaged.

    We always recommend that you read your travel policy booklet and check the Government of Canada website prior to any travel, especially when world conditions are changing rapidly.

    For any pre-travel trip destination questions such as travel advisory, shots, visas or safety concerns, please contact Medi-Assist who have the most up to date information for your destination.

    As always, our customer service representatives are here to help.

  25. How does the need for vaccinations for coverage work for children?

    Vaccine recommendations for specific diseases will vary.  Individuals should check the Health Canada guidelines to understand if they are an acceptable candidate for immunization. Local Travel Immunization clinics are helpful sources of information. 

    Children under the age of 18, travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians are covered when:

    • They have been fully vaccinated according to the recommendations for their age; or
    • There is no vaccine available for their age; or
    • For children age 12 and under, regardless of vaccination recommendation.

    Children of any age who are travelling alone or with parents or guardians who have not been fully vaccinated are only covered for COVID-19 or any other infectious disease if they have been fully vaccinated if there is a Government of Canada advisory in place at their destination related to that infectious disease.

  26. Does the coverage apply to the status of official travel advisories including infection diseases at the time of travel insurance purchase or departure?

    If you are fully vaccinated, then the timing of the official advisory doesn’t apply.  You will be covered if it was before or after your purchase or departure.

    If you are not vaccinated, you will be covered for an infectious disease if the advisory was called before you depart.  If you choose to travel while the advisory is in place, you will not be covered for the infectious disease if you are not vaccinated, regardless of your reason.

Choose one of our Travel Insurance plans below to get started

Travel Medical

Emergency medical coverage for British Columbians while travelling outside of BC.


Trip Protection

Peace of mind coverage for travel costs related to unexpected cancellations, interruptions and delays.


Visitors to Canada

Emergency health coverage for tourists, workers, new immigrants and students visiting BC.


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Travel Health