The uncertainty of travel is definitely something that sparks our wanderlust and makes it exciting. But it also seems that unforeseen events are happening on the daily; whether it’s the devastation of wildfires, menacing hurricanes, civil unrest and protests, epidemics or acts of terrorism, these events have given a new meaning to travelling uncertainty, even among the most seasoned travellers.
Unsure of how these global events can affect your travel plans? Read on to learn more about Canadian travel advisories, how they impact your travel insurance coverage and how you can understand them, if something goes awry.
Pay attention to official travel advisories and warnings
Global Affairs Canada issues travel advisories and warnings to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Canadians travelling abroad. When it deems there is a risk, it will communicate official information and advice for the region and/or country-wide concerned. Specific unforeseen events include:
- Terrorist threats
- Civil unrest or political instability, including riots or protests
- War or military coups
- Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and tsunamis
- Health emergencies including COVID-19/Coronavirus, Zika, Ebola, and more
Travel advisory risk levels
Advice and safety precautions provided by our Government help travellers like you consider the risk of travelling to your planned destination, so you’re better prepared for your trip.
While it’s still safe to travel under “exercise a normal degree of caution” and under “exercise a high degree of caution”, the two highest risk levels “avoid non-essential travel” and “avoid all travel” suggest major concerns for Canadians; they can also have implications on your travel insurance coverage.
How travel advisories affect travel insurance coverage
While interpreting travel advisories can be confusing, determining what your travel insurance covers can be even more intimidating. While we can’t speak to other providers, TuGo® Travel insurance may cover unforeseen circumstances once an official travel advisory has been issued.
We’ve compiled a few scenarios to help you better understand how advisories can impact your coverage before you leave, or while you’re travelling abroad:
Emergency Medical Insurance
While sightseeing around the Eiffel Tower, Ranvir is injured in a terrorist attack. Since he bought Emergency Medical Insurance before he left, his policy will cover his medical costs as long as there was no travel advisory in place when he left Canada, and he wasn’t participating in or voluntarily exposing himself to the attack.
Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption
Sally and Peter have booked their trip to Turkey and have bought Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption coverage with their Emergency Medical Insurance. Two days before they’re set to leave, a terrorist attack takes place in Turkey, and the Canadian government issues an official travel advisory to “avoid all travel”. The advisory is still in place on their departure date, so their coverage will cover the cost of cancelling their trip.
Leila is travelling alone in Brussels, and unfortunately, there is a terrorist attack while she’s there. She still has a week left, but the Canadian government issues an official travel advisory to “avoid non-essential travel” to Belgium. Leila doesn’t feel safe, and wants to come home early. As long as she bought Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance (or even just Trip Interruption Insurance) before her departure, and there was no travel advisory in place when she left Canada, she can return home early while the travel advisory’s still in place. Her travel insurance will cover the cost of her trip home.
Here are a few more scenarios to help you learn more about how travel insurance covers terrorism and war. If you’re travelling in hurricane season, read our tips for staying covered while travelling to at-risk hurricane zones.
Trip planning made easier
With the never-ending list of travel planning to-dos, travel anxiety can happen to anyone. While no one can predict the future, there are some things you can do to be more informed and proactive. Use these travel safety tips to become better prepared for unforeseen circumstances:
Keep tabs on travel advisories
Download the Government of Canada’s Travel Smart App for up-to-date travel advice and information on your smartphone. The app has information for 200+ destinations and includes advisories, health updates and even emergency contact numbers.
Check destination-specific travel warnings before booking your trip and a few days before leaving. To see how the latest advisories impact your policy, take a look at TuGo’s Travel Advisories section.
Set Google alerts for your destination
To make sure you don’t miss any updates, it’s best to set Google Alerts for your next destination so you’re informed of any important political events or natural disasters leading up to your departure and during your trip. You can use keywords like ‘destination + travel’ or ‘Canadian travel advisory’ for a specific location.
Keep the Canadian Consulate contact information handy
Whether you’re travelling to the US or anywhere outside of North America, it’s always a good idea to have the Canadian Consulate contact information in tow for your destination. The Canadian consular services help travellers abroad with a number of medical emergencies, legal issues, lost or stolen passports and contacting friends or relatives back home.
Have more questions about how terrorism, unforeseen events or travel advisories impact travel insurance? Feel free to leave a comment below.