Store Locator

7 Important Things to Do Before Leaving Home This Winter

Here’s what to put on your list, from stocking up on prescription meds to draining your home’s pipes

Older couple walking on the beach carrying surfboards

So you’ve decided to pull up stakes and head south this winter. Before you hit the road, make sure you tick these seven things off your to-do list.

1. Review your medical history and any pre-existing conditions

Doctor reviewing chart with older man

It’s important to know your medical history, have a solid understanding of any medications you’re taking and be up to date on any other treatment plans your doctor has prescribed to stay in tip-top shape while you’re far from home.

It will also help you buy the right medical insurance. Many policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, so knowing your health issues is crucial to picking the right plan.

2. Understand your travel policy

Older couple sitting on couch looking at laptop

Many Canadians rely on their credit cards, corporate insurance and pension-plan benefits for medical coverage when they’re abroad. But those don’t always provide comprehensive coverage, so it’s important to double-check. And remember, OHIP recommends that Ontarians get supplementary travel insurance when travelling outside their home province—even within Canada.

3. Get your documents in order

World map on table covered by camera, glasses, sun hat and notebooks

Make sure your passport, driver’s licence and OHIP card are valid for the entire time you’ll be gone. Don’t leave home without your wallet-sized travel insurance card and copy down important information, like your doctor’s phone number, for quick reference. You might also want to register with the Canadian government to receive travel advisories about your destination.

4. Make sure you have the travel vaccinations you need

Doctor filling syringe from glass container

If you’re heading to Asia, Africa or South America, visit your family doctor or a travel medicine clinic. They’ll run you through potential health hazards and make sure your immunizations are up to date. If you’re 65 years or older, consider getting flu or pneumonia shots, too.

5. Stock up on medications

Person shaking pills from a container into their palm

Make sure you have enough of your prescription drugs to last the winter. Keep them in their original packaging and make sure they are labelled with your name. For needles and syringes, get a doctor’s note explicitly saying they are for your personal medical use.

6. Prep your home for the winter

Person lowering the heat on a digital thermostat

Have your furnace and roof inspected and clean the gutters. Turn off the water supply and drain the pipes by opening taps in the lowest part of the house (usually the basement). You should also turn off the water heater, lower the thermostat to 10ºC and unplug all the electrical devices you can. Finally, call your phone, cable and internet providers to suspend your service while you’re away.

7. Learn about the perks of CAA Travel Insurance coverage

Older couple riding in a hot-air balloon

If you’re feeling brave, consider an Adventurous Air Activities Rider, an add-on to travel insurance that covers activities not normally covered by insurance, like parasailing and hot-air ballooning.

If you fall ill during your trip, you can access Telemedicine service* through CAA Travel Insurance, which links you with a doctor via secure internet connection. With the House Call service, CAA will find a local doctor and have them visit you in your hotel room or on your own vacation property.

You may also want to consider trip cancellation and interruption insurance. If you need to put off your travels because of an unexpected injury, illness or death, we’ll reimburse you for non-refundable trip expenses, like flights and hotel rooms.

Have questions about travel insurance?

Call one of our travel insurance experts at 1-877-216-8222. Ask about our new Pre-Existing Condition rider, which reduces your stability period down to seven days prior to your departure for pre-existing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Plus, CAA Members save 10% on CAA Travel Insurance.** Learn more and get a quote here.

Image credit: iStock.com/AleksandarNakic, iStock.com/FatCamera, iStock.com/shapecharge, iStock.com/Probuxtor, iStock.com/Manjurul, iStock.com/ljubaphoto, iStock.com/michellegibson and iStock.com/toos

*CAA Assistance is provided by Active Care Management Inc. Telemedicine and House Call services availability may vary depending on geographical locations and current emergency medical condition.

**CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. A medical questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older.

Applies to CAA Members in good standing with dues paid in full by membership expiry date. 10% savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Subject to change without notice. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance.

®CAA trademarks owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association.