# Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Canadian Snowbirds and Travel Insurance

For some Canadians, spending the winter months in a warmer climate like Florida or Arizona is a much more pleasant idea than facing yet another cold Canadian winter. This living arrangement is especially attractive to retirees, who do not have to remain in Canada for the winter months due to employment obligations.

Due to recent American policies, all Canadians must have a valid passport in order to enter the United States effective January 2007 when arriving by air or sea. A second rule is also currently being proposed that will require a passport in order to enter the United States via land border crossings by January 2008. It is recommended that Canadians planning to spend the upcoming winter months in an American state this winter obtain a valid passport, and carry it with them at all times.

It is important to remember that your provincial health coverage will not cover your medical expenses in the United States. We strongly recommend that every Canadian who is planning to spend the winter outside of Canada purchase travel medical benefits in order to safeguard them from incurring costly medical bills. Even one trip to the emergency room for accident or illness can cost Canadians without coverage thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills.

Check your employee benefits (if applicable) to see if you currently have travel medical coverage. It is important to remember to closely examine this policy to determine if your coverage through your benefits will be adequate for your needs. If you require additional coverage you can purchase top up insurance.

For those with no employee benefit coverage, determine what kind of coverage you will need. Travel medical plans can be purchased to accommodate single trip and multi trip coverage, depending on how much traveling you expect to do. There are a variety of plans offering coverage for:

  • Emergency Medical.
  • Trip Cancellation And Interruption.
  • Baggage Loss, Delay And Damage.
  • Flight And Travel Accidents.

Consult with an insurance broker to properly determine your travel insurance needs. When planning your trip, remember to talk with a broker to ensure that you have the proper coverage, and leave the worrying behind along with the snow.

You can visit the World Health Organization website, useful for checking international travel advisories before leaving Canada.

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