TORONTO -- Two Canadian travel insurers are no longer covering customers who want to cancel their trip due to COVID-19, and the rest of the industry is likely to follow suit.

Manulife and TuGo have both decided that coronavirus is now a “known” issue and cancellation coverage no longer applies.

TuGo’s change in policy came into effect Tuesday, March 4, while Manulife said the exclusion applies from today, March 5.

“Manulife has determined that COVID-19 is now considered a known event and the applicable exclusion will be applied for individual travel insurance policies issued on or after this date,” Manulife said in a statement to

“The application of COVID-19 as a known event does not apply to existing customers who bought our travel insurance policies prior to March 5, 2020.”

Manulife trip cancellation/interruption insurance (TCII) customers can submit a claim if the product was bought before a “high level government of Canada travel advisory,” but this will likely be “unpayable.”

“If TCII was purchased after the government of Canada issued a high level advisory, you cannot use it as a reason to cancel or interrupt your trip,” Manulife said.

Richmond, B.C., -based travel insurer TuGo said COVID-19 is “no longer considered sudden and unexpected, as it is a global health issue.”

“Because of this, we won’t provide any new coverage for this event, effective March 4, 2020,” TuGo spokesperson Melissa Kaerne Manning told via email.

“It’s important to note that if a traveller did buy trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance before March 4, 2020, their policy wouldn’t be affected by this amendment; coverage would still apply, as per the policy’s terms and conditions at the time of purchase.”

The company said its emergency medical insurance is still available to travellers, as long as the destination doesn’t have an “avoid non-essential” or “avoid all” travel advisory in place before the customer leaves.

Before Thursday’s announcement, travellers were typically eligible to receive a refund for cancelling their travels over virus concerns -- depending on the destination, their insurance policy and other factors.

However, the government would likely have to declare a level 3 or 4 advisory in order for you to attempt to claim any portion of your trip expenses should you choose to cancel.

A Level 3 advisory was issued for travel to China in January. A webpage dedicated to COVID-19 travel advisories has been established.

On Thursday, the government updated its travel advisory for Iran to a Level 4 “avoid all travel” warning. For those Canadians who are already in Iran, the government advised them to leave as soon as possible.

The government has also advised that Canadians avoid non-essential travel to Italy and certain regions of South Korea affected by the virus.

You can see all of the government travel advisories related to COVID-19 here.

Travellers canpurchase an optional Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) add-on to their coverage, which allows them to cancel their trip, regardless of the situation.

The caveat, of course, is that CFAR adds to premium costs and also comes with additional terms and conditions.