For snowbirds travelling months at a time, the rising costs of travel insurance are becoming worrisome to many. One good way to reduce your premiums without cutting back on your coverage or the length of your vacation is to take a deductible. The bigger the deductible, the smaller your premium.
I know of many snowbirds, particularly in the older age groups, who are being forced to trim their vacations because of the cost of travel insurance. Instead of five months, they’re going four or less. Instead of taking that additional short cross-border trip in the summer, they’re spending the week at home or at their cottage. Admittedly, the costs of travel insurance can easily add up to $2,000 or $3,000 or even more for a couple for the winter, and in these days of shrinking fixed incomes, that can hurt a family’s budget.
But even a $500 or $1000 deductible can reduce travel insurance premiums substantially—10 or 20 percent—even more. I know of many travellers who are now taking on $5000 or even $10,000 deductibles, and saving up to 40 or even 50 percent on their premiums.
Consider that a big risk. Do the math.
If you travel with deductibles for four or five years in a row without encountering a major medical emergency (as the great majority of you will) and you save 10, 20 or 30 percent each year, think how many months of additional premiums you will have earned. For some of you, you may find you can actually travel “free” every five or six years on your accumulated “savings” Of course, if you do have a major emergency, you will have to pay out your deductible before coverage kicks in. But, based on the percentages, that’s not going to happen to a lot of people.
Consider your health status, consider your capacity for risk, and, as a bottom line—think in the long term. Most snowbirds do. Most are good planners. Look ahead for the next 20 years and project out how much money you can save by putting $1000, or $5000 into a “rainy day” pot for medical emergencies, and then calculate how much you can save by earning 10 or 20 percent premium reductions over a number of years.
Another thing to consider is that more and more American hospitals are now requiring you to put down deposits for services, even if you have insurance. If you have to put the money down any way, at least get something back in return.
Think about it. More and more experienced travellers are taking this option.