COVID-19 International Students FAQ’s

Effective Date: March 26, 2020
Please note: This FAQ document replaces any and all previous versions.
Currently Available in English Only.

Can I receive COVID-19 testing even if I have no symptoms?

Since medical benefits are largely limited to expenses related to unforeseen emergencies requiring immediate attention, elective testing for COVID-19 is unfortunately not covered. If you are in Canada, please check with your province’s Ministry of Health for COVID-19 testing details. For example, in Ontario, COVID-19 testing is covered at no charge, regardless of your eligibility under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Where do I go for COVID-19 testing?

If you are in Canada, please visit the website for your province’s Ministry of Health to view a list of assessment centres in your area.

Are over-the-counter COVID-19 screening kits (such as those available in pharmacies) covered?

Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications, including screening kits, are not covered.

Does my policy cover medical expenses related to COVID-19? 

All policies with effective dates before the Government of Canada’s global travel advisory issued on March 13, 2020 will cover emergency COVID-19 treatment not covered by government insurance, provided the trip destination was not under a travel advisory at the time of departure. It must be noted, however, that governments normally cover pandemic-related treatment costs.

Will my policy provide repatriation coverage if I get COVID-19 and need to be returned to my home country?

Unfortunately, our Assistance service excludes coverage for repatriation that requires transportation in a biohazard isolation unit.

Am I covered by trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance?

Canadian travel insurers determine this on an individual policy basis. Policies purchased after the Government of Canada’s global advisory against non-essential travel issued on March 13, 2020 may not provide coverage for trip cancellations related to COVID-19.

What do I do if I get sick while I am travelling?

If you begin to feel symptoms related to COVID-19, contact Assistance at 1-866-883-9787, toll-free from Canada or the United States, or at 1-416-640-7865 from anywhere in the world.

Assistance will help to assess your symptoms and direct you, as needed, to a hospital or clinic for the appropriate care. Depending on your specific situation, Assistance is also available to:

  • Provide interpretation services to help you better communicate with health care personnel
  • Advance funds to a service provider if you’re required to pay up-front for medical care
  • Monitor your case through to recovery

When consulting with a doctor, be sure to disclose if you visited any high-risk areas or have been in contact with anyone who has shown COVID-19 symptoms.

Will I be covered for self-isolation or quarantine—for example, if I need a hotel room?

Precautionary quarantines imposed on travellers due to government restrictions, including upon arrival at a destination or upon return to their home country, are not covered under our Discover Canada policy. However, if your return to your home country is delayed due to a precautionary quarantine, your coverage can be extended provided you remain eligible. Coverage is automatically extended for up to five days under certain circumstances (ex: delayed return due to flight disruption or hospitalization).

Provided their policy took effect before March 13, 2020, insured individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19 infections will be covered the same as with any illness. However, this does not include self-isolation outside of a hospital, as our policies do not cover additional living expenses.

Will my policy limit or end coverage if an official advisory is issued by the Government of Canada?

Most policies exclude expenses incurred in locations for which an advisory was issued before departure. As the Government of Canada advisory against all non-essential travel was issued on March 13, 2020, policies for trips taken after this date would not cover COVID-19 related expenses.

Policies with an effective date up to March 13, 2020 will continue to provide coverage for unforeseen emergency expenses related to COVID-19, as per policy terms. New Canadian government advisories will not affect COVID-19
coverage in these policies. However, expenses related to COVID-19 will not be covered for any travel to, from, or through a country for which the Government of Canada had issued a travel advisory prior to the effective policy date.

Can I still mail information, such as original documents regarding claims, to MSH International?

While our offices are still open and mail continues to be delivered, we kindly ask that claims and supporting information be submitted online or via email.

What if I get sick returning to Canada from abroad?

If you have travelled, or have been in contact with someone who has travelled:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others for 14 days
  • Contact your local public health authority within 24 hours of your arrival in Canada
  • Follow up with your health care professional

Closely monitor your health. If you develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing over the 14 days after your return:

  • Call your health care provider or your local public health authority
  • Disclose your symptoms, travel to the outbreak area/area under travel advisory, and/or any contact with individuals with symptoms

If you are sick and need medical attention in Canada:
Notify the medical clinic or hospital in advance. Disclose your symptoms and/or your travel abroad. DO NOT take public transit, an Uber, or a taxi!
– Wear a mask while waiting for or receiving treatment to prevent spreading the illness

If you feel sick before your departure for Canada:
– Do not use any form of public transportation
– Seek medical attention immediately

If you feel sick during travel to or upon your arrival in Canada:
– Inform the flight attendant, cruise staff, or a border services agent. They will decide whether medical assessment by a quarantine officer is needed

What coverage is provided for students diagnosed with COVID-19 in Canada?

Provided that the COVID-19 diagnosis was made after the policy start date and after the student’s arrival in Canada, and that the policy took effect before March 13, 2020, coverage for COVID-19 related expenses would be similar to that of other emergency illnesses.

It’s worth noting that non-emergency coverage is still limited to the specific benefits listed in the policy. Therefore, elective testing for symptoms that do not require immediate medical attention is not covered.

Policies that took effect after the Government of Canada’s global travel advisory on March 13 will not cover COVID-19 expenses as, due to the declaration of a global pandemic, illness due to COVID-19 would not be considered “unforeseen” as required for coverage in these policies.

Will students be covered if they contract COVID-19 during travel outside of Canada, or on a visit to their home country?

Side trips outside of Canada that took place before the Government of Canada’s global travel advisory issued on March 13, 2020 are covered for emergency COVID-19 related expenses, provided the location of the side trip was not under a Government of Canada advisory at the time of departure, and that students spend 51% of their policy’s term in Canada. Side trips taking place after March 13, 2020 are not covered for COVID-19 related expenses.

Trips to a student’s home country are only covered if they are related to school-organized activities. Medical expenses incurred during ineligible visits to a student’s home country would be excluded, as would medical expenses incurred in Canada for any illness contracted during ineligible visits. Emergency COVID-19 related expenses would only be covered on school-organized visits prior to March 13, 2020.

As always, we’re here to provide students, homestay families and schools with the utmost support during this crisis. Looking for your policy number? You can also call us at 416-644-4870 (or toll-free at 1-888-386-8888) to speak with a customer service representative or email us at