Major Canadian travel insurers stop covering coronavirus trip cancellations

TORONTO — Two Canadian travel insurers are no longer covering customers who want to cancel their trip due to COVID-19, and the rest of the industry is likely to follow suit.

Manulife and TuGo have both decided that coronavirus is now a “known” issue and cancellation coverage no longer applies.

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TuGo’s change in policy came into effect Tuesday, March 4, while Manulife said the exclusion applies from today, March 5.

“Manulife has determined that COVID-19 is now considered a known event and the applicable exclusion will be applied for individual travel insurance policies issued on or after this date,” Manulife said in a statement to CTVNews.ca.

“The application of COVID-19 as a known event does not apply to existing customers who bought our travel insurance policies prior to March 5, 2020.”

Manulife trip cancellation/interruption insurance (TCII) customers can submit a claim if the product was bought before a “high level government of Canada travel advisory,” but this will likely be “unpayable.”

“If TCII was purchased after the government of Canada issued a high level advisory, you cannot use it as a reason to cancel or interrupt your trip,” Manulife said.

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Richmond, B.C., -based travel insurer TuGo said COVID-19 is “no longer considered sudden and unexpected, as it is a global health issue.”

“Because of this, we won’t provide any new coverage for this event, effective March 4, 2020,” TuGo spokesperson Melissa Kaerne Manning told CTVNews.ca via email.

“It’s important to note that if a traveller did buy trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance before March 4, 2020, their policy wouldn’t be affected by this amendment; coverage would still apply, as per the policy’s terms and conditions at the time of purchase.”

The company said its emergency medical insurance is still available to travellers, as long as the destination doesn’t have an “avoid non-essential” or “avoid all” travel advisory in place before the customer leaves.

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