Our Travel Insurance covers COVID-19 with your full vaccine

As BC’s health benefits society, we want you to enjoy healthy travels. Our Travel Insurance provides coverage for infectious diseases that you have been fully vaccinated for prior to travel. Use our Travel Health Check to learn what health conditions require vaccination before your trip.

Travel Health Check

— Pacific Blue Cross —
Travel Health Check

Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Advisories and Vaccinations

  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. 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.

    HOW ADVISORIES IMPACT MEDICAL PLANS:

    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.

    HOW ADVISORIES IMPACT TRIP PROTECTION PLANS

    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
    TRAVEL MEDICAL PLAN

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

    • Emergency medical
    • Hospitalization
    • Ambulance fees
    • Repatriation costs
    TRIP PROTECTION PLAN
    (STANDALONE OR PACKAGE)

    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
    NO IMPACT TO COVERAGE
    LVL 3 & 4
    When travelling without vaccination, or vaccine unavailable
    Advisory
    BEFORE DEPARTURE
    Travel
    Medical

    NOT COVERED
    Advisory
    AFTER DEPARTURE Travel
    Medical

    COVERED
    Advisory
    BEFORE TRIP PURCHASE
    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    NOT COVERED
    Advisory
    AFTER TRIP PURCHASE*
    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    COVERED
    LVL 3 & 4
    When travelling Fully Vaccinated
    Advisory
    BEFORE DEPARTURE
    Travel
    Medical

    COVERED
    Advisory
    AFTER DEPARTURE Travel
    Medical

    COVERED
    Advisory
    BEFORE TRIP PURCHASE
    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    NOT COVERED
    Advisory
    AFTER TRIP PURCHASE*
    Trip cancellation, interruption, delay

    COVERED
    • 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.

    *As of March 12, 2020, COVID 19 remains a known event and is not covered under our Trip Protection plans.
    See Trip Protection FAQ for additional information

    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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. I have to extend my trip to be able to get testing? Can I get an extension?

    Yes, as long as you meet the criteria for extension, which includes paying the additional premium.

  12. 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: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents/msp-covid-19-response​

    "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.​"

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

Important COVID-19 Travel Insurance information

The Government of Canada has issued an official global advisory to avoid non-essential travel (Level 3) outside of the country to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, coverage related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be affected.  These conditions will remain in effect until the advisory is lifted or otherwise stated by Pacific Blue Cross.

Travel Medical Insurance

For trips that depart on or after March 13, 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) related illness will not be covered. You can learn more about how Government travel advisories impact coverage in our Travel Insurance FAQs.

Trip Protection Insurance (Cancellations/Interruptions)

Effective March 12, 2020, we are considering Coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a known event for individually purchased Trip Protection. Travel insurance is intended to cover losses arising from sudden and unforeseeable circumstances. Any claims resulting from events known to a policyholder at time purchasing the trip are not covered.

Extensions

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.