Cross-border travelers are angry because they pay for annual travel insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic


Some travelers wonder why they continue to pay for travel insurance when the Canada-US border remains closed to all non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Gail Bourne visits the United States at least twice a year. Vancouver resident says she purchased an annual travel insurance policy from the BCAA for $ 845.21 for coverage between November 9, 2019 and November 9, 2020. However, when the borders closed last March , his travel plans have been suspended.

“I just thought it was unfair to pay for something I couldn’t do,” said Bourne.

Bourne has been a member of the BCAA for 51 years. She says she contacted the BCAA to cancel her insurance or at least extend her current policy, but was initially refused.

“I felt looked down upon. I have been a loyal customer for all these years and they would do nothing for me, “she said.

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Consumer Matters contacted the BCAA on behalf of Bourne. The BCAA told Global News under normal circumstances that once a customer uses their annual policy to travel, there are no refunds, but also acknowledged that these are not normal periods and declares that it examines these situations on a case-by-case basis.

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Bourne says that in the days following communication with Consumer Matters, the BCAA agreed to partially reimburse him over $ 400, his policy still in effect until November 2020.

North Vancouver resident John Rowlands did not have the same success when it came to getting his wife’s travel insurance reimbursement. She has MEDOC travel insurance, a basic 17-day annual travel plan with Johnson Insurance. His premium is $ 913 with monthly deductions of $ 75.31 per month. The policy states that it cannot be canceled before the end of the insurance year.

“What are we paying for?” It’s supposed to be for travel insurance and yet that doesn’t mean anything, “he said.

Contacted by Consumer Matters, Johnson Insurance said:

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“Our basic annual plans have a fixed duration of one year and are designed to cover multiple trips, allowing customers to benefit from cancellation, trip interruption and medical coverage throughout the year . Customers with specific questions about their policy should contact us directly. “

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The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), which represents life and health insurance providers, says an annual travel plan usually covers one person for travel longer than 12 months. In most cases, an policyholder can cancel an annual plan as long as no trip has been made during this period.

However, once the trip has been made, the plan cannot be canceled because the plan works by spreading the risk of the insured over the duration of the plan. However, many insurers, he said, have offered to extend the coverage of annual plans during the pandemic.

Once the border is open to non-essential travel, CLHIA recommends the following for travel outside of Canada:

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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