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What is snowbird travel insurance?

Snowbird travel insurance provides emergency health and medical coverage for seniors travelling outside of Canada for extended periods of time. The amount of coverage you get is up to you, but policies tend to range from $1 million to $5 million in coverage.

Snowbird travel insurance policies provide the following coverage in the event of a medical emergency:

  • Hospitalization fees
  • Ambulance fees
  • Medical equipment
  • Treatments including surgery and emergency dental
  • Prescription drugs
  • Emergency transportation back to Canada (repatriation)

Snowbird insurance policies typically offer more freedom and flexibility than standard travel insurance policies as they often permit travel between multiple destinations, including returning home for a visit. This means you don’t have to take out multiple travel insurance policies for travel within the defined period of time.

In addition to emergency medical coverage, you can also round out your policy by purchasing additional travel insurance coverage such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, as well as lost or damaged baggage.

Types of snowbird travel insurance

If you’re unsure of what kind of snowbird travel medical insurance coverage you should get, it’s important to know about all the different types of coverage options available to you.

Here are the most common types of snowbird travel insurance coverages offered by Canadian travel insurance providers.

  • Single-trip insurance: If you’re a snowbird who only travels south once a year, a single trip plan will be the best and most cost-efficient option for you. Several snowbirds take one long trip in a year and opt to choose a single trip plan.
  • Multi-trip insurance: If you’re a snowbird who likes taking multiple trips a year, choosing a multi-trip travel insurance plan will help you stay prepared for unexpected medical costs each time you leave the Canadian border. This option can prove to be quite affordable, as you’ll only have to purchase travel insurance once for the entire year. Please note that you will still need to maintain your provincial health insurance and renew any expired health cards.
  • Travel health insurance: Snowbird travel insurance only covers unexpected medical costs like emergency hospital visits and surgeries. It will not cover any routine check-ups or pre-existing medical conditions. Travel health insurance will help cover your routine medical care abroad, so you won’t pay for anything out of your pocket.

Add-ons for snowbird travel insurance 

  • Trip cancellation insurance: In addition to medical coverage, having coverage for travel disruptions is a wise choice. Trip cancellation insurance can help you cover the unexpected costs that come with a sudden cancelled trip such as, non-refundable tickets, missed reservations, tour expenses, cancellation fees etc.
  • Baggage insurance: Lost baggage will put a damper on any trip. When you have baggage insurance, anytime your baggage is delayed or lost, you’ll be covered for the costs associated with it. If your baggage is never found, your insurance provider can cover the value of the lost contents.

Frequently asked questions about Snowbird travel insurance

How much does snowbird travel insurance cost?

Snowbird travel insurance costs vary depending on your trip length, age, pre-existing health conditions and a variety of other factors, but according to our data, we’ve found the average snowbird insurance policy costs $720.

When we examined all snowbird travel insurance quotes completed on RATESDOTCA in 2020, the most common quotes were for travellers aged 70 on a trip for 30 days, which amounted to a total average premium of $720. Prices vary though. If you are a bit younger or travelling for a longer period of time, rates are often less than $100 a month. Different companies also offer different rates, which is why comparing travel insurance quotes is the best way to find the best rates.

What factors affect snowbird insurance rates in Canada?

Some of the factors that determine the cost of your snowbird travel insurance premiums include:

  • Your age
  • Trip duration
  • Any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Any medications you take
  • The type of policy
  • Whether you smoke or not
  • The deductible amount
  • If it’s a single policy or a couples’ policy
  • The destination (generally this doesn’t have the biggest impact, but some insurers offer different rates if the destination is in the United States due to the high costs of healthcare in the country)

What is the best travel insurance for Canadian snowbirds?

The best travel insurance for you is the one that provides you with the coverage you need at the premium you can afford. If you have a pre-existing health condition, it is especially important for you to examine the policies carefully to ensure you’re adequately covered while you’re away.

As with other types of insurance, snowbird travel insurance policies should be reviewed carefully and compared according to your individual needs. Every policy has its own terms, and you need to find the one that offers you the right coverage and meets your travel and health requirements. RATESDOTCA lets you see multiple quotes at once so you can easily find the best coverage for you.

Can I get snowbird travel insurance if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

Yes. Just because you have a pre-existing health condition doesn’t mean you can’t get travel insurance. Some insurance providers offer policies with features such as reduced stability periods for any (pre-existing) medical condition that is not stable. Some policies also have supplemental (or secondary) riders that can be purchased to add additional coverage for pre-existing conditions. Although it can cost more when you have a pre-existing health condition, the best travel insurance will provide you with some level of coverage that supports your condition.

Depending on the provider, some conditions may not be covered even if your condition has been stable for some time. When you’re comparing travel insurance quotes, don’t just look at the price. Pay attention to the policy coverage and ensure you understand any exclusions or limitations of the policy.

How much snowbird travel insurance coverage do I need?

Snowbird travel insurance policies typically range from $1 million to $5 million in coverage. The more coverage you purchase, the more at ease your mind will be given how expensive hospitalizations outside of Canada can be. When purchasing your policy, some of the things you’ll want to look for include:

  • Emergency medical care
  • Hospitalization and other professional fees for emergency medical treatment
  • Emergency repatriation
  • Emergency dental
  • Transportation and expenses related to your hospitalization
  • Adequate coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, if available

What is medical repatriation coverage?

Medical repatriation coverage protects you in the unexpected event you need to be evacuated back home due to a medical emergency. The costs of repatriation can be shockingly high depending on your condition and the distance back to Canada. Many policies may or may not cover these services, so it is important to read the fine print and ask your provider any questions if this type of coverage is important to you.

Does snowbird travel insurance cover multiple trips?

Yes, if you choose a multi-trip or an annual travel insurance policy, you will be covered for multiple trips. An annual travel insurance plan provides coverage for a number of trips taken over the course of a year. This is great if you are travelling more than twice in one year. Buying a multi-trip insurance plan is the not only convenient, but also cost-effective.

Generally, if you are planning to be away for the snowbird season without returning to Canada, you would likely only need a single trip plan.

My credit card has travel insurance benefits; do I need to purchase separate snowbird travel insurance?

Some credit cards offer incredible travel rewards such as annual travel insurance, but often the limits on these included coverages require you to top up your travel insurance to ensure you’re adequately protected. If you’re not sure, talk to your credit card provider so you can understand exactly what you are covered for and for how much.

Tips for Canadian Snowbirds

Heading down south for the winter? These insurance tips will help you find the best snowbird travel insurance for you, so you can enjoy the sunshine with peace of mind:

  1. Compare travel insurance quotes: Find the best price and policy for you by comparing quotes. At RATESDOTCA, you can compare multiple snowbird travel insurance plans and policies in one place.
  2. Compare policies: Not all travel insurance policies are the same. Just because one is cheaper than the other doesn’t mean it’s the best coverage if it fails to provide you with enough coverage. Don’t just look at the price, also look at the coverage.
  3. Understand policy exclusions: Carefully read the policy to understand any exclusions and limitations, especially when it comes to pre-existing health conditions.
  4. Choose wisely: Ensure the policy you choose provides the right coverage at the right price.
  5. Keep your policy handy: Carry a copy of your travel insurance with you in your wallet when you’re away. Take a picture of key details on your phone for easy access.
  6. Update your home insurance provider: If you’ll be away for a long period of time, notify your home insurance provider about your travel plans and understand what your policy says about leaving your home unattended for a long period of time.

Update your car insurance provider: If you are driving down south to the United States for an extended period of time, contact your auto insurance provider to confirm your coverage. You may have to increase your coverage if crossing the border for a long period of time.

Snowbirds, make sure you’re protected

Get peace of mind by knowing your insurance coverage will provide you with the coverage you need in the event of a medical emergency. Plus, get satisfaction by knowing you got a better rate by using RATESDOTCA to compare quotes from the top travel insurance providers in Canada.

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