The first snowfall that hit Ontario in November meant it was officially time for all the snowbirds to start packing their bags! The term “snowbird” is a person who migrates from the colder northern parts of North America to a warmer southern location during the winter season. Whether it is migrating to Mexico or the Caribbean, for most Canadian snowbirds, travelling down south to the sunshine state of Florida is typically the first option.

According to the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA), they’ve estimated that at least 350,000 Canadians spend three to six months in Florida, while another 100,000 spend between one to three months in the state. For all snowbirds, they would need to have the right coverage as they enjoy travelling down south. Here are a few important insurance tips that snowbirds should know about before they go down south.

  1. Travel Insurance

    Travel insurance should always be at the top of every list when it is time to leave home. Whether travelling through bus, plane, train or a car, travel insurance will provide coverage for the widest range of unexpected travel situations. These include loss of baggage(s), damages to belongings, trip cancellation and interruption, claims and emergency medical care. Travel insurance offers many different packages for all, depending on the desired coverage. All travelers are entitled to choose a travel insurance package that will suit their travelling situation and receive the best coverage needed.

  2. Health Insurance

    As previously mentioned, some snowbirds stay in the U.S. for up to six months within a 12-month period. With that being said, they must make sure to find out how many days they can spend in the U.S. and check in with their government. This is because snowbirds can lose their provincial health insurance. The longer they are outside of the country, the more chances they could lose it. This depends on the rules from the province as every province has a residence requirement. This applies especially for all Ontario snowbirds, as the Ontario government plans to cancel OHIP’s Out of Country Travellers Program in the new year. Therefore, it is crucial to check their health insurance coverage and to make sure they still have their provincial health insurance for when they get back home.

  3. Home Insurance

    During the time that snowbirds are away, their home is vacant. They must check their policy and see if it requires them to have someone check on their home while away. If so, usually asking a trusted family member, friend or neighbour to come over and inspect the home is the best choice. Otherwise, about eight in 10 Canadian snowbirds own property in Florida. Therefore, it is required that they must purchase home insurance.

  4. Car Insurance

    Oftentimes, some snowbirds opt out of flying and decide to go on a road trip instead. That is when having car insurance is beneficial.  Every Ontario car insurance policy allows all drivers to leave the province while maintaining their current auto insurance coverage. However, there are conditions such as how long you’ll be out of the province for. This is because coverage will only be provided for a certain amount of time. Snowbirds should always review their liability coverage before they leave and to inform their broker ahead of time that they’ll be taking their car out of the country.

Now that snowbirds and snowbirds-in-the-making are aware of these insurance tips, they can feel at ease and more relaxed, while having fun in the sun. Contact an Oracle RMS licensed broker to gather more information on the above insurance products or update their current policy before heading down south!