Manulife and TuGo, two major travel insurance providers will no longer cover new customers who need to cancel their trips due to the coronavirus outbreak. Others are expected to follow.
Travellers with regular trip cancellation insurance typically have been able to get reimbursed if, after booking their trip, Ottawa issued a coronavirus-related advisory to avoid non-essential travel to their destination. However, Manulife or TuGo will no longer offer this type of coverage. Both companies have issued alerts, saying the coronavirus is now a “known” issue and therefore cancellation coverage no longer applies. Travel insurance is for unexpected issues that may arise before, after or during a trip.
TuGo’s change went into effect on Wednesday for policies purchased on or after that day.
Another memo says, starting Friday, customers who purchase Manulife travel insurance will no longer be reimbursed for coronavirus-related trip changes including cancelling a trip due to a travel advisory or concerns over the spreading virus.
The memo indicates that people who purchase the “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) option can still get coverage if they cancel their trip.
The CFAR option comes at an added cost and generally only covers up to 75 per cent of a cancelled trip.
The federal government has issued coronavirus-related advisories against non-essential travel to China, Iran, northern Italy and parts of South Korea.
As the coronavirus spreads, that list will likely grow, but neither Manulife nor TuGo will cover new customers who book trips to any destinations that get added to the government’s list.
Meanwhile, as the number of air passengers dwindle over fears, Air Canada and Air Transat have each announced new policies that actually broaden coverage for travellers during the coronavirus outbreak. According to their websites, passengers can book a flight or an Air Transat sun-destination vacation package between March 4 and 31, and then make changes at a later date, free of charge.
Thousands of Canadians have already made changes to their travel plans in the immediate future and are keeping on hold all other travel through summer until the coronavirus threat ebbs or disappears altogether. -CINEWS