Price of travel insurance expected to go down as federal advisory lifts
The federal government has lifted its advisory against non-essential international travel and with the change, the price of insurance is expected to drop.
The warning had been in place since March 2020, but was replaced this week with a notice urging all travellers to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before a trip.
“Be aware that although you are better protected against serious illness if you are vaccinated, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19,” reads the new advisory.
Unvaccinated Canadians are still being told to continue avoiding non-essential trips to all destinations.
Experts believe the guidelines will make it easier and more affordable to get travel insurance.
“The travel insurance companies are working with their policies now to improve them and revise them with this new news,” explained Allison Wallace, a spokesperson for Flight Centre.
Wallace says it’s still too early to tell what that will mean for consumers.
“We don't know all the details yet, but we would expect that it will be easier and a little less expensive, hopefully, to get travel insurance now that the advisory has been lifted,” Wallace told CTV News.
Travellers will still need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of a planned entry into Canada. The federal government says it’s keeping a close eye on the border test positivity rate and will adjust advice as needed.
“The beginnings of the transition and away from the more blanket approach really recognize that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe outcomes," said Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada.
"So the illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. So in recognizing that, and in strongly recommending a full vaccine series, at least 14 days before traveling, we're essentially advising people to really be very mindful of that decision."
Tam is urging Canadians to continue to wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
“We're just beginning to come down on this fourth wave and we need to continue to exercise some degree of caution. But we'll be examining all of those layers of protection.”
Wallace says flights for the Christmas holiday season are already booking up quickly.
“The phones are ringing. We've definitely seen more demand. We've actually been seeing a lot of demand in the last month, but I would say in this past week, in particular, with all of the news around things opening up and the federal vaccination passport,” she explained.
She says the biggest demand is for sun destinations.
“The demand for sun destinations is very high. Demand for getting away at Christmas, also very high. So with this news, we expect that to be even bigger,” she said.
Wallace suggests booking sooner rather than later because there are fewer scheduled flights and seats available, and the demand is high.
Vancouver International Airport was bustling with excited travellers Friday morning.
Burnaby resident Leah Whiting was bound for Las Vegas.
“We're gonna have a great time. We plan to go to the Vegas Knight's game and we're gonna hit up the Raiders game as well,” Whiting said.
It’s her first flight since the pandemic began.
“I'm super excited. I can't wait,” she exclaimed.
Shannon Cupskey was also bound for Vegas and was excited to escape the rain.
“We just give ourselves lots of extra time. Figured that was what we should do. Everything has been a bit slower than it normally would, but it's been two years since I've been on a flight and I can't wait,” Cupskey told CTV News.
She said she felt lucky that the timing of her trip fell in line with the federal advice.
“One way or the other we were going, but we want to do it with people's blessings for sure,” said Cupskey.
All employees and passengers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors will need to be fully vaccinated as of Oct. 30.
However, there will be a grace period until the end of November during which proof of a negative COVID-19 test will be accepted.