Snowbirds leave insurance up in the air

By Staff | May 20, 2014 | Last updated on May 20, 2014
2 min read

Do your snowbird clients have up to date insurance to protect them during their southern stay?

Half of Canadians aged 50 and over checked their travel insurance policy before leaving for vacation, and 16% called their insurance provider to determine if they needed to update their policy, finds a recent TD Insurance survey.

Here are some tips on travel, auto and home insurance for Canadian snowbirds heading south for the winter:

Travel insurance

“Snowbirds should review the details of their travel medical insurance policy including whether or not there is a time limit for out-of-country coverage and what they need to know about pre-existing conditions and limitations,” says Dave Minor, a vice president at TD Insurance. “If a snowbird has visited a hospital or switched medications in the past 12 months, this information needs to be disclosed to their insurance provider, as a failure to do so may impact insurance coverage should they need to make a claim. Anyone who is unsure about a detail within their policy should just ask.”

Read: Are online insurance apps good for clients?

Auto insurance

The survey found 46% of Canadian snowbirds incorrectly believe that if they are driving outside of Canada, their auto insurance policy will cover them, but this isn’t always the case.

“Snowbirds need to call their insurance provider if they are taking their vehicle outside of Canada or the United States or if they plan to rent a vehicle for more than 30 days,” says Minor. “They should also consider increasing their liability limit given that claims in the United States can be expensive, and discuss that with either their provider or insurance agent.”

For snowbirds travelling down south by motorhome or RV, keep in mind that although insurance protection on recreational vehicles is similar to regular auto insurance, because this vehicle also serves as a home, it requires a unique policy.

“If RV owners are increasing the amount of time they are living in their vehicle – for example living in the unit full time versus an occasional weekend getaway – then their policy may need to be revised,” says Minor. “Check with your insurance provider to find out what your needs are so you’re not left uncovered.”

Read: Budget busters: the 10 costliest cities to visit

Home insurance

Only 12% of Canadian snowbirds say they checked their home insurance policy to ensure their primary residence would be covered while on vacation. Making sure your clients take the necessary steps to protect their homes before they travel. It will make the process easier, should they need to make a claim.

“Often insurance policies have specific ‘away’ requirements, which, if not fulfilled, could void coverage if your home is left unoccupied and unattended for an extended period of time,” says Minor.

Read: Help clients protect prized possessions staff


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