Airlines are offering free COVID-19 insurance coverage to entice wary passengers to fill their seats in wake of the pandemic.  

The free COVID-19 insurance will automatically be included in the passenger’s ticket upon payment.  What do these free COVID-19 insurance cover and which airline offers the best policy? 

Comparison on Eligibility and Benefits

COVID-19 Insurance Air Canada (AC) Emirates (EK) Etihad Airways (EY) Virgin Atlantic (VS) WestJet (WS)
Residency Canadian * Any country Any country Any country Canadian * or Canadian visitor
Booking requirements   Round-trip booking made from Sep. 17 to Oct. 31, 2020. At least one AC flight and on a new AC ticket (code 014).   Minimum one EK flight operated by EK or codeshare partners    At least one EY flight operated by EY or codeshare partners. Flights between Aug. 24, 2020 and Mar. 03, 2021. At least one VS operated flight (with ticket # starting  932)   Round-trip purchase on or after Sep. 18, 2020. At least one WJ flight on a new ticket (code 838)
Travel duration, policy activation and  coverage period   Travel up to 21 days with trip completion by Apr. 12, 2021. Valid for 31 days from first flight departure for travel between Jul. 23 and 31 Dec. 31, 2020.    If tested positive for COVID-19 during validity period, coverage extends beyond 31 days up to the specified benefit limits   Valid for 31 days commencing four hours before scheduled departure flight for travel from Sep. 07 to Dec. 31, 2020. No limit on length of trip.    Coverage starts from point of booking and ends on passenger arrival in home country or on Apr. 01 2021 (whichever is earliest). Valid for 31 days from flight commencement for travel between Sep. 18, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021.
Flight origin Canada Any destination on their route map Any destination on their route map Any destination on their route map Canada or any WS destination
Age restriction  No No No No 15 days or older
Medical Expenses Up to CAD$200,000 Up to 150,000  Up to 150,000  Up to £500,000 inclusive of: – Up to £5,000 for overseas funeral expenses – Up to £1,500 for transport and accommodation in home country Up to CAD$200,000 
Quarantine expenses (14 days maximum) CAD$150/day up to CAD$2100 per person CAD$300/day up to CAD$4200/  family    100 per day (accommodation only)  100 per day Up to £3,000 (with food & beverage limit of £1,000) CAD$150  /insured person (or up to CAD$300/day per immediate family)
Emergency air transport home /Repatriation Assistance $200,000 per insured Actual costs + cost of one travel companion and minor children. Actual costs + cost of one travel companion and children. Yes CAD$200,000 per insured
Funeral Expenses Up to policy limits Up to €1,500/person Up to €1,500/person Up to £5,000 Up to CAD$5,000
Assistance in home country No No No Up to £1,500 No
COVID-19 test No No No Only where medically necessary No
Car or train trip in or beyond flight destination.  Yes.  Exclude COVID-19 virus contracted on cruise Yes, and also on flight operated by codeshare partners Yes and also on flight operated by VS partners Yes, and also on a flight operated by a VS partner. Yes
One-way ticket No Yes Yes Coverage ends 12 hours after flight arrival Coverage ends 7 hours after flight arrival
Airline holiday package No Yes Must include EY operated flight Yes Yes
Insurance terms & conditions / FAQ Manuallife
Allianz Assistance


*Canadian resident with valid government health insurance plan.

All five airlines require that you purchase your international flight on the carrier’s ticket and at least one of your flights is operated by the carrier in any cabin class. 

Global coverage is provided for travel to a country or countries outside of the passenger’s home country. There is no insurance deductible.

Other Exclusions

  • Period of insurance coverage cannot be extended.
  • Insurance will not cover a destination’s official mandatory arrival quarantine.
  • There are travel exclusions for destinations with travel advisories to avoidall or non-essentialtravel’.  It’s very important to check with the airline prior to purchasing your ticket.  Read and understand all the fine print as each airline insurance policy varies.

Related: Travel Insurance: Do You Have Enough Coverage, and What You Need to Know?

Benefits only cover COVID-19 related events during your trip. If you were to contract COVID-19 while travelling, you could file a claim for reimbursement, but you must first notify the airline of your positive COVID-19 test results. 

Other Travel Insurances

The free COVID-19 insurance does not replace the need and importance to purchase your travel and medical and/or trip cancellation and interruption insurance. 

Airlines usually do not pay any claim on their group insurance policy if you can get reimbursed from any of your insurance.  Examples: private health or home insurance, any reciprocal health agreements, transport or accommodation provider or any other claim amount recovered by you. In these situations, they will only pay their share of the claim.