1. Air Canada
Air Canada’s coronavirus insurance will apply to all round-trip international flights booked between through Jan. 31, 2021, for travel completed on or before April 12, 2021.
Here’s the major catch: The coverage is only offered to Canadian residents (and you must now be an Aeroplan member) subject to eligibility requirements, and covers every international destination served by Air Canada.
(Photo by Joel Serre/Shutterstock)
If Canadian travelers test positive for COVID-19 while abroad, Air Canada’s Manulife plan will provide:
Up to $200,000 Canadian dollars per insured traveler for COVID-19 treatment medical expenses
Up to $150 Canadian dollars per person, per day, for quarantine costs, such as meals and accommodation
Up to $300 Canadian dollars per family, per day, up to a maximum of 14 days
Up to $500 Canadian dollars for expenses related to returning home if the travel advisory from the Canadian government goes from Level 3 to Level 4 while the traveler is away from home.
Customers who book Air Canada Vacations will receive a different complimentary protection plan through Allianz, designed to cover emergency medical and quarantine expenses if the traveler contracts COVID-19 during their vacation. This plan is available to all eligible customers who book an Air Canada Vacations package to an eligible destination, as long as all travel is completed on or by April 30, 2021.
Unfortunately, eligibility is even more restricted for Air Canada Vacations coverage. An eligible traveler:
must be over the age of 15 days old
cannot have tested positive for COVID-19 within thirty (30) days of departure
cannot exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 within fourteen (14) days of departure
cannot be traveling to the U.S.
must be traveling to an applicable destination in the Caribbean or Mexico
must be a Canadian resident
have a valid Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP)
cannot be a resident of Saskatchewan, which is excluded from the coverage plan
Air Canada previously extended its goodwill policy for flight changes: Any travel booked through Dec. 31, 2020, can be changed without fees for new dates through Dec. 31, 2021.
2. Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific’s COVID-19 insurance is automatically included for trips between Dec. 7, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021. Coverage applies to anyone with tickets issued by Cathay Pacific including codeshare or interline partners.
This coverage is provided by AXA and is effective once your trip has commenced and is valid for 30 days or upon your return to your home country, whichever is earlier.
Cathay Pacific will cover overseas medical expenses and quarantine costs, subject to applicable limits and exclusions. That includes all overseas PCR tests, whether positive or negative. However, Cathay Pacific notes that you will not be covered for any medical treatment costs, quarantine expenses or costs of PCR tests in your home country.
Passengers who contract the coronavirus within 31 days of flying with Etihad will have medical costs covered up to €150,000 (approximately $177,000) and quarantine costs up to 100 euros ($118) per day for two weeks. This policy is particularly generous given the full month’s window of coverage eligibility following an Etihad flight.
Etihad’s insurance is offered through AXA, and will be baked into the cost of airfare until March 31, 2021.
The additional coverage is designed to not only “instill confidence to travel,” said Etihad vice president Duncan Bureau in a statement, but also to “reassure” travelers that the airline is doing everything possible to keep flyers “safe and protected.”
4. Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines is the latest carrier to include free COVID-19 insurance. The coverage is provided by Allianz Travel and includes coverage of up to €150,000 (approximately $177,000) in total medical costs resulting from the initial COVID-19 testing fee and subsequent medical treatment for those that test positive during their travels.
The applicable travel period where the insurance will kick in is from Dec. 23, 2020 through June 30, 2021 and is valid for up to 31 days from the first leg of an international Japan Airlines flight. Note that this coverage only applies to international flights.
5. Virgin Atlantic
On Aug. 31, Virgin Atlantic began automatically offering COVID-19 coverage to all existing and new bookings. The insurance kicks in if a customer becomes ill with COVID-19 during on a Virgin Atlantic flight.
The coverage will be valid for all Virgin Atlantic flights from Aug. 24, 2020, to March 31, 2021. Additionally, Virgin Atlantic Holidays customers will benefit from the coverage as long as their flights are with Virgin Atlantic. The coverage extends even further to those passengers flying on partner airline metal like Delta or Air France/KLM, so long as they’re traveling on a Virgin Atlantic-issued ticket.
There is a catch, though: This insurance applies to COVID-19 only and would not replace a traditional travel insurance policy. If, for example, you were involved in a motor vehicle accident during your trip, this policy would not cover your expenses, as they’re not related to COVID-19.
Virgin’s insurance with Allianz Assistance includes emergency medical costs, associated expenses such as transport, accommodation and repatriation up to £500,000 (approximately $650,000) for all passengers listed on the same booking. Additional coverage includes £3,000 ($3,900) for customers who might get denied boarding whether leaving or returning home as well as being held in quarantine. Passengers will also benefit from 24-hour emergency medical assistance, wherever they are in the world.
Unlike many other regular insurance policies, Virgin’s comes with no excess payable. It includes coverage for the whole trip, irrespective of time away, age or passenger or cabin class of the flight. The insurance even includes one-way flights and covers passengers up to 12 hours after arriving at their destination.
In times when demand for travel has reached unprecedented lows, airlines are struggling to fill their planes and convince wary customers to book flights. By taking additional measures such as providing extra insurance in the COVID-19 era, these airlines are hoping to give flyers additional peace of mind.
“Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe that this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customers as they start to plan trips further afield,” said Juha Jarvinen, Virgin’s chief commercial officer in a statement.