Recently I saw some well-worn snowbirds sitting before a clanging slot machine in a Las Vegas casino, looking desolately at a paltry payout of coins: their only winnings so far that night. I asked how they were doing.
“Lousy,” said the husband. “Dropped five hundred tonight, and this is all we’ve got to show for it,” he said, gesturing to a small paper cup full of coins.
“But we’ll be back tomorrow, and we’ll beat the #**%@ out of this machine,” said the wife. She looked as if she meant it, and certainly could do it.
You’ll see this scene played out a thousand times, not only in Las Vegas, but in the growing number of casinos serving snowbirds throughout the US sunbelt. And you’ve got to wonder—are these the same people who will recoil at the thought of paying a $250 deductible to a hospital trying save their lives, even though they gamble twice that amount on a roll of the dice?
Sounds ironic, but it happens every day, despite the fact that judicious use of a deductible is the single most effective way of saving a lot of money on travel insurance.
Related: Save Money on Your Travel Insurance
Right now, many Canadian snowbird travel policies automatically exact a $250 CAD deductible, and some levy a surcharge of 10 or 15 per cent on buyers who insist on no-deductible policies.
A deductible is the part you pay before insurance kicks in.
Travel Underwriters’ “Freedom Emergency Medical” plan will deduct 5 per cent from your premium if you accept a $500 CAD deductible, or 30 per cent for a $5,000 CAD deductible. And if you want to get into the ring with the big guys—how about a 75 per cent saving for a $100,000 CAD deductible?
TIC (Travel Insurance Coordinators)’s “Take Flight” plan charges a 10 per cent surcharge for eliminating the standard $250 CAD deductible, but gives you a 10 per cent saving for a $1,000 CAD deductible, or a 30 per cent saving for a $10,000 CAD deductible.
RSA Travel Insurance charges a 10 per cent surcharge for no deductible, gives you a 5 per cent discount for a $500 USD deductible, and a 45 per cent discount for a $10,000 USD deductible.
Too much for you to pay out? Consider this. The deductible is for most an abstraction because it only comes into play if you generate a claim. But the savings you can earn is not an abstraction. That’s real money, that stays in your bank, or that you can use at the gaming tables.
Or to look at it another way: go along for three consecutive years on a $5,000 deductible, without a claim, at 30 per cent savings per year, and you will have saved enough to pay for your fourth year.
All of the plans referred to above are available for direct purchase right here, right now, from insurers on this site. Talk to them.