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Travel insurance may not be covered in countries with COVID-19 advisories, says editor

Liam Lahey says travel insurance is designed to cover unforeseen circumstances, not viruses such as coronavirus.

According to the editor of an insurance ratings website, Canadians with travel insurance who are planning on heading to one of the countries with COVID-19 travel advisories could be left without any coverage while abroad.

The Canadian government has placed coronavirus-related travel advisories on multiple countries and regions, including China, Iran and northern Italy.

Liam Lahey, the editor of, says that Canadians who are planning on travelling to affected countries should contact their travel insurance provider prior to their trip, since they could potentially receive a refund if the trip is cancelled.

"Travel insurance policy is not designed to cover you for coronavirus, specifically, or any virus for that matter," Lahey explains. "It's simply designed to cover you for unforeseen or unexpected events."

Lahey adds, if travellers decide to disregard travel advisories and head to the affected countries, they could be potentially assuming all of the risk.

Many insurance companies consider the risk of travelling to countries with level three or four travel advisories as "foreseen." Level three and level four advisories recommend to avoid all non-essential travel and avoid all travel, respectively.

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