Sask. residents excluded from WestJet COVID-19 travel insurance

From CTV News – link to story and Video

Cally Stephanow, CTV News Regina Video Journalist ~ September 14, 2020

REGINA — WestJet is now offering a new, no-fee COVID-19 related travel insurance for its guests, but Saskatchewan residents are the only Canadians who do not qualify.

The airline posted an article about this insurance on its website, outlining the insurance and the qualifications.

The insurance is effective from Sept. 18 to August 31, 2021 for people travelling to Europe, the UK, Mexico and the Caribbean. It outlined that this insurance does not apply to people who are travelling to the United States or its territories.

“This coverage also extends to inbound guests to Canada from these destinations,” WestJet said. “Coverage will be automatically included when you purchase your booking.”

Under the exclusions section of the article, WestJet said residents of Saskatchewan are not eligible.

“Exclusions apply. Not available to residents of Saskatchewan, United States, or for travel including cruises,” WestJet said.

A WestJet spokesperson said in an email the company is working with TuGo to potentially provide travel insurance. They said there will be an update prior to Sept. 18.

As for Air Canada, the airline also doesn’t currently provide COVID-19 travel insurance for Saskatchewan residents because of the province’s regulatory requirements. 

However, a spokesperson with Air Canada said it’s working to meet those requirements so Saskatchewan can be included in the program.

A spokesperson with the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan said in an email the issue has been brought to its attention.

“We are not aware of any provision in The Insurance Act that prevents this type of insurance policy being offered to Saskatchewan residents,” they said. “We are investigating to determine the reason why Air Canada and WestJet are not offering this product to Saskatchewan residents.”

Here are the specific details about the insurance that WestJet included on its website:

  •  New round-trip bookings including WestJet Vacations packages (excluding U.S.) will be eligible for coverage up to 21 days.
  •  New one-way bookings will be eligible for coverage for up to seven days.
  •  Emergency medical and hospital costs for outbound travellers if diagnosed with COVID-19 while outside of Canada (excluding U.S.) for up to a maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person.
  •  Emergency medical and hospital costs for inbound travellers visiting Canada diagnosed with COVID-19 while in Canada up to the maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person.
  •  Quarantine accommodation costs when the traveller tests positive for COVID-19 on the trip up to $150 CAD per insured person, per day to a maximum of 14 days for inbound and outbound reservations.
  •  Ambulance transportation and air evacuation costs related to COVID-19, up to the maximum limit of $100,000 CAD per insured person for inbound and outbound guests.
  •  COVID-19 repatriation costs in case of death of up to $5,000 CAD per insured person for inbound and outbound guests.
  •  One-way economy airfare for the return of one travelling companion and dependent children when air evacuated back home for treatment.
  •  COVID-19 related insurance coverage will apply to any eligible itinerary that includes at least one flight operated by WestJet (code 838). You will qualify for coverage regardless of whether your first flight was operated by WestJet or by one of WestJet’s code share partners so long as your booking was ticketed on WestJet and includes a flight operated by WestJet.
  •  If you purchased your ticket on a WestJet-operated flight from another airline, even if that airline is a code-share partner airline of WestJet, you will not be eligible for coverage.