Travel Insurance for Snowbirds: 2010/2011 Edition

This coming snowbird season, Canadians will take almost one million out-of-country trips of 30 days or more to the southern United States and beyond. If you’re going to be among them, you need travel insurance you can rely on at a price you can afford. There is no single plan out there that is suitable for everybody. You need to know what you’re buying. Here’s how we can help.

In the coming weeks, we will be adding Canadian travel insurers who meet our criteria for essential benefit coverage to our inventory. Scroll down the right side of this page and you can access several of those offerings right now. You can assess their plans and you can buy online. And we’ll be adding more. These are the same providers who underwrite and administer hundreds of different programs for brokers, associations, motor clubs, and affinity groups across Canada. We will also be working with these insurers to get you the best available rates. Generally, rates go up as snowbird season gets closer, so you might want to see if any of the plans have early bird specials or other preferred rates for early sign-ups. From the look of things now, premiums will likely be increasing to keep pace with rising health care costs, particularly in the US.

But do your homework before buying. When you go out to buy a flat-screen TV or microwave, you don’t usually buy the first one you see. You like to look around and make sure you get the most for your money. Similarly, you need to make direct comparisons of several plans—and not only by price. You should compare, apples to apples, plans with deductibles against plans with no deductibles, and look at exclusions as well as benefits before deciding what’s best for you. We’ll be giving you tips on how to do that. No matter what an advertising brochure suggests, you’re not covered for “everything.” This is emergency coverage only, and you have to know its limitations as well as your own obligations when applying for coverage or submitting claims.

In the coming weeks, we’ll also be giving you tips on:

  • how pre-existing conditions clauses affect you
  • how to fight back if you feel your insurer isn’t playing fair
  • understanding if trip cancellation/interruption coverage is a good buy
  • how to drill down to get the best price
  • understanding the difference between travel insurance plans
  • what to disclose on a medical questionnaire
  • how to deal with foreign hospitals that demand upfront payment
  • how to know if credit card or pension/employee plans offer sufficient coverage for your needs
  • …and more! (Visit our Ask the Editor page to submit your own questions.)

And we’ll be providing you with current news about developments in your vacation destination—Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Cuba, the Dominican Republic—hometown news about property taxes, weather events, cultural and leisure opportunities, as well as safety and security advisories. We’ll keep you posted via our newsletter. Sign up and we’ll deliver the latest news and updates on out-of-country travel insurance on a regular basis—and it’s free.

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