There remains a Level 3 travel advisory in effect in Canada, which directs people to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country. Many of Canada’s most dedicated travellers – our proud legion of snowbirds —are in a holding pattern while they wait and see what happens with the pandemic in the coming months. The land borders between Canada and the U.S., as well as between the U.S. and Mexico, remain closed for non-essential travel, and many believe they will remain so until next year. It is still possible to fly to the U.S. and Mexico, however, so those with winter homes south of the border could start to prepare to leave right away.
The reasons retirees are choosing to leave vary. Some snowbirds would simply rather stay close to home in better weather, as CBC reported recently. Some others do not have a choice but to go, as they stay in temporary housing over the summer, such as RV parks and rental properties.
Those who would usually drive have the option of shipping their vehicles so they would be able to get around as usual.
All snowbirds know to be extra diligent about ensuring they have proper travel and health insurance while away. An additional option that is now available through a small number of providers is COVID-19 insurance.
What is COVID-19 insurance?
COVID-19 insurance was available at the beginning of the pandemic, but insurers stopped offering it in March in Canada when the government advised against non-essential travel, says a Sept. 18 CBC article. A small amount of travel insurance companies are offering it again, as well as some airlines, and later in September Global News provided more details on specific COVID-19 insurance riders.
Experts always says that the most important thing travellers can do is be very clear on the terms of their travel insurance agreements. Travel advisories factor in, as was the case earlier in the year. Many travel insurance policies become null and void if there is a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory in effect.
For those providing COVID-19 insurance right now, the policy should extend coverage regardless of what kind of travel advisory is in place. All COVID-19-related expenses should be included, as well as the ability to claim costs should you be forced to quarantine. Caps for emergencies — such as if you need to bring family to join you — should be sufficiently high, and you should also be clear as to whether you will be covered for costs should flights be delayed or cancelled due to the pandemic.
The Government of Canada also advises travellers check the terms and conditions of their travel insurance carefully, especially with regards to any exclusions related to COVID-19. Consider also purchasing a “Cancel for any reason” option, offered by some insurance companies.
Advisories for When You Arrive in the U.S. and Mexico
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises those entering the U.S. take the following precautions for 14 days after arrival.
- Stay at least 6 feet (2 metres) away from others who are not in your immediate household both indoors and outdoors
- Wear a mask outside of your home
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid touching your face
- Watch for symptoms of COVID-19
Regulations differ from city to city and state to state concerning physical distancing and mask wearing. Pay close attention to guidelines for where you are headed.
Similar to the U.S., Mexico does not require quarantine upon arrival. Also similar to the U.S., rules and regulations vary between areas. In Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, masks are mandatory in public spaces. Curfews and travel restrictions are in place in some areas. Upon arrival in Mexico, the CDC encourages people to take the following precautions for 14 days:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Avoid those at higher risk of COVID-19
- Be tested for COVID-19
When You Return to Canada
When returning to Canada from travelling abroad, travellers must abide by the Government of Canada’s emergency order under the Quarantine Act. Everyone arriving in Canada must isolate for 14 days, without exception. Those who violate the order could face a fine, detention in a quarantine facility, or even jail time. Travellers must wear a face mask or face covering upon arrival, and everyone must be able to confirm they have a place to go immediately and access to the necessities they need.
Travel Insurance in Calgary: Get a Quote From Lane’s Today!
Pandemic aside, travel insurance is a necessity for Canadians travelling outside of the country. Travel insurance is more than just medical coverage. It can provide for common instances such as lost or stolen luggage, rental car damage, and trip cancellation.
Lane’s Insurance is a leading provider of travel insurance and a complete range of related products that cover every aspect of your travel needs. Give us a call at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, or greater Alberta offices to see what we can do for you.