Plan on doing more of your shopping south of the border? According to a new report by BMO Nesbitt Burns, up to 10 percent of consumer spending on a great range of products is going to retailers out of the country. But when you go, don’t forget your travel insurance. Even a short trip can be highly risky.
Here’s a case history: an Ontario lady went to Buffalo to do some shopping and visit with her family for lunch. A one day trip. Like a lightning bolt, she had a stroke. Perfectly healthy up to then. She was taken to a local hospital, but her condition was so precarious she couldn’t be driven to a hospital at home. After several days she died. It was doubly shocking because she was only in her early 60s, and always healthy.
And then came the bill from the hospital: over $150,000, for her family to pay. All of which could have been avoided by a simple transaction, done once a year, for less than the price she paid for her day of shopping.
For frequent border crossers, there is no substitute for the annual, multi-trip policy. You buy it once a year and you can take as many trips as you wish out of the country without having to fill out any more applications, or make additional payments or even call your insurer to say you’re going. These multi-trip plans come in denominations of several days: 7, 15, 30, 40, 60, even 90. What that means is that if you buy a 15-day policy, you can take an unlimited number of days up to but not exceeding 15 days throughout the year. One limitation is that you must return to your home province for at least one day between travel segments.
Another limitation requires you to notify your insurer if you have a claim on one of your travel segments as that may change your health status and your premium rate.
The beauty of these multi-trip plans is that they are priced on the short 15 or 30 or 45 day per diem rates, which makes them much cheaper than longer trips. It works like this: insurers charge more per day if you are travelling for 100 days than if you travel for 15. Why? Because your risk of encountering an emergency is much less on a 15-day trip than a 100-day trip. And so when you’re rated for only 15 days—even though you will take seven such trips a year– your basic rate is a lot cheaper.
Add to that the fact that you can just pick up and go when you want, and it becomes an attractive option. Such annual multi-trip plans now make up the fastest growing segment of the travel insurance market.
Best of all, the coverage limits are just as high as the longer snowbird plans, well over $1 million, repatriation, direct payment to hospitals, etc.