Snowbirds: Find the Best Insurance Plan for You
Are you planning to go south for the winter to escape the cold for a couple of months this year? If so, it’s important to have the right type of coverage for when you travel and leave your home and belongings behind for an extended period of time. What should be included in your insurance plan? Every snowbird has unique needs that are also different from younger travelers. Learn everything you need here to find the best insurance plan for you.
24/7 Medical Coverage
Adequate medical coverage should be at the top of your list. As a snowbird, it’s important that you have enough coverage for any medical expenses and support that you may need if hospitalized in another country. And, because of your age, you’ll also need to pay attention to any terms and conditions that apply when you’re over a certain year. To ensure you have the best plan for your needs, check that the insurance has you covered for:
- Out-of-country hospitalization fees
- Transportation and out-of-pocket expenses for you and a relative
- Emergency evacuation services for a quick return back to Canada
- Any pre-existing conditions you have
- Medical follow-ups back home
Single Trip vs Multi-Trip Annual Plans
Medical coverage usually comes in either single or multi-trip annual insurance. Choose the one that suits your lifestyle better. Single trip insurance, as the name suggests, covers you for a single trip out of the province. This form of snowbird health insurance will cover you for several months, so if you’re planning to leave and not return until the spring, this is a good option. If you plan to be away from January to April, however, you may be able to return briefly to your home province, but you should first check with your insurer to confirm. Any changes in your medication, medical episodes, or hospital fees may not be covered during the second half of your trip if you come back, as this insurance plan ends as soon as you reenter your province of residence.
A multi-trip annual insurance plan gives you unlimited trips over a 365-day period, but said trips are limited to a certain number of days. Day 1 of your plan is your departure date. This is great for people who plan to return home frequently in the winter, but still want to be covered. Check with your insurer to see how many days you’ll be covered out-of-province. Most multi-trip annual insurance plans have limits of 15 to 45 days for their trips, meaning if you stay longer, you’re on the hook for the full bill if something goes wrong. Some companies will offer insurance for longer trips, however. You should also bear in mind that, the more days your insurance policy covers for a multi-trip annual plan, the more it will cost.
A top-up plan offers snowbirds some flexibility with their insurance policies, regardless of whether they went with single trip or multi-trip coverage. With the top-up plan, you get a few days of additional travel medical insurance. For people with multi-trip annual insurance coverage, this is typically purchased when they want to extend their trip by a few days. It’s recommended that you get the top-up plan when you get your travel medical insurance plan, but don’t worry if you skip this step. Individuals who have single-trip insurance often end up using top-up plans because there has been a problem near the end of the trip, delaying their return home. As long as your medical condition hasn’t changed, your original policy is still active when you top up. If you haven’t submitted a claim yet, then you can get a top-up plan to extend your coverage.
Travel insurance doesn’t always cover your total unforeseen expenses if you need to come home early or cancel your trip at the last minute. Be sure that the travel insurance portion covers your needs including the following:
- Trip cancellation and interruption (this is more important than ever)
- Baggage insurance to cover lost or stolen bags
- Returning your vehicle back to Canada
- Multi-trip and top-up insurance that allows you to take breaks in case you need to come home
- Affordable premiums and deductibles that you can cover
- Exclusions and limitations you are comfortable with
You should never leave the country without first checking your home insurance policy. An empty house is at risk of damage and theft. Even if you have someone to check in on your home periodically or hire a house-sitter, it’s important that you have the right coverage to protect you in the event a pipe bursts or if someone invades your home. Here are some of the things to look for in such a policy:
- The coverage is sufficient for the length of time you plan to be away
- Water damage coverage
- Comprehensive insurance to cover any losses or expenses as a result of a burglary
- Coverage for animal entry and damage
- Coverage for stored vehicles
- Full awareness of any limitations or restrictions on the coverage when your home is unoccupied during the winter
Auto and Recreational Vehicle Insurance
If you plan to drive or RV your way down through the US or further south, it’s important that your vehicle has adequate coverage as well. Here are a few important insurance considerations when driving outside of the country:
- If you have coverage for all the countries you plan to visit
- Registration requirements of the places you are visiting
- How long your insurance policy will allow you to drive out of the province for
- If you have enough liability coverage on your insurance to cover a personal injury lawsuit in another country
- If you have content replacement coverage for your RV
- Emergency vacation expenses coverage
Whether you plan to snowbird in the US for three months or travel to Mexico for six, you can find the best rates and coverage for your trip with us at Rowat Insurance. We can help you customize your policy to suit your specific needs to ensure you have enough coverage, so you can sleep easy and enjoy your worldly adventures! Contact us today for a free quote.