You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers (Part 1)

At Travel Insurance File, we get plenty of interesting questions from readers like you—be they looking to purchase travel insurance coverage or simply confused about how much time they can spend in the US.

Here’s a look at some of the questions you’ve asked us lately…


Q: I am a Canadian citizen who has recently moved back to Canada after living abroad for an extended period of time. How long until I am eligible for provincial health care benefits again?

A: You will be eligible for provincial health benefits three months after you return to your province and notify the government of your presence.

During that time you must be physically present in the province. Since you wouldn’t want to be uninsured during that period, consider purchasing a short-term insurance plan to fill the gap.

Q: I live near the Canada-US border, and sometimes I cross over for a few hours in a day to go shopping or have lunch. I may even make multiple trips over the border in a day. How do these trips count against my 182-day total?

A: Any days you spend in the US—even partial ones for lunch—are part of the 182-day count. If you go over more than once a day, it won’t count as more than one day. But if you make even a short trip for a package of golf tees, it will count as one full day.

Related: Count Your Border-Crossing Days

Q: I am a snowbird who spends much of the year out of the country. How do I obtain a complete, accurate medical history to make sure that any travel insurance claims I may have aren’t denied?

A: Tell your family physician you would like to see your medical records going back at least five years. You probably won’t be able to read his writing, so make an appointment and have him explain what tests you have had and what each of your medications is for. Even if he has referred you to a specialist or for a diagnostic procedure that showed nothing serious, take note of it. And tell him that he is not the final authority on what is or is not stable or insignificant.

One of the most frustrating pleas I hear from travellers who have had their claims denied for non-disclosure is, “How would I know I had a second-degree heart block? My doctor never told me.” Insist that he does tell you, even if his motivation was not to worry you.

Many travellers think that if they reveal all of their aches and pains insurers won’t cover them. Not so. Travel insurers do not make money by chasing customers away. They want to cover you even if you have a spotty health history. They may charge a little more, but you will have the peace of mind knowing that both you and your insurer are reading from the same page.

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