Canadian snowbirds taking cruises out of Florida, Texas, or California can have the best of all possible worlds—full travel coverage while at sea, free. And you don’t have to do anything to earn it.
The supplemental single-trip or annual multi-trip travel insurance that’s available to all Canadians who have government health insurance plans covers you no matter where you are—on land or at sea. So when you buy insurance for your three-month or four-month or six-month trip to the southern states, you can add on that 7 or 10-day cruise without having to buy any additional insurance. That can be a big deal, because cruise companies charge plenty for coverage of medical emergencies, trip interruption, or baggage loss in the cruise packages they sell. Make sure you know if they have included such coverage in the price of your ticket. You don’t need it.
In addition, the snowbird insurance you buy in Canada is far better in terms of benefits, emergency assistance, repatriation, medical services, and hospital services than any insurance sold by the cruise lines. For example, a typical Canadian travel insurance policy will cover you for between $1 million and $5 million, and will include air ambulance repatriation (arranged by your insurer) from anywhere in the world, as well as direct payment to foreign hospitals and doctors. By comparison, cruise line insurance is often capped at $10,000 to $25,000, has no repatriation benefits, and will often cover you only until you can be offloaded at a hospital in some port, from which you will have to pay for your own way home. Neither will they pay hospitals or doctors in foreign ports directly. You pay—they reimburse, later.
The best part of the deal is that you don’t have to do anything to earn the “extra” benefits. They are seamless. You don’t have to tell your insurer you are taking a cruise side trip as part of your snowbird vacation, you just go. And if you need assistance, or medical help, or case management of a hospital emergency—no matter where—your assistance company will take care of it. Just call the 1-800 number—from your ship if need be, or from Jamaica, Aruba, the Bahamas, or wherever you happen to be.