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Lower Stress and Increase Joy: Why Snowbirds Should Consider Travel Insurance this Year

Wendy Walters September 01, 2022
Grandparents planning their vacation on laptop
Canadians are itching to get back to their natural rhythm of travel this year now that travel restrictions have eased. Many who have seasonal residences in warmer destinations are getting ready to enjoy the delight of arriving at their favourite spots and the joys of a book on the beach or a golf game with friends. We all appreciate the freedom to plan our days with relaxation and fun in mind. 

To keep that easy feeling throughout your travel and stay, you may want to consider travel insurance that offers coverage in case of the unexpected.
Senior couple taking a selfie in front a fountain in Barcelona

It’s important to remember most countries don’t provide free health care to travellers.

  • Your Government Health Insurance Plan may not cover you. According to the Government of Canada: “Canadian public health insurance may not pay your medical bills while you’re outside of Canada,” further, “it will never pay your bills upfront and foreign hospitals can be very expensive and may require an immediate cash payment.”

  • Travel insurance is a must if you have any pre-existing health conditions or require emergency medical treatment while you’re away.

  • You may be more experienced, but you could be more vulnerable than younger travellers to unforeseen medical issues. Travel insurance offers you the comfort of knowing you’re covered.
Group of senior travellers relaxing in a cafe after exploring the city

What should snowbirds consider when purchasing a travel insurance policy?

  • The majority of Canadians say they are unlikely to refrain from travelling. A recent poll from Angus Reid indicates that almost three quarters of travellers are reluctant to stop or change their travel plans, especially as restrictions are easing everywhere.
  • There are certain features that snowbirds frequently look for in their coverage. This includes emergency medical, pre-existing medical conditions and multi-trip coverages that allow travellers to come back and forth into Canada. Also, added features that provide for extended coverage and the ability to fill prescriptions while away are a good idea to consider.
  • Check for policies that allow you to add additional protection.  Canadians who spend extended periods of time out of country during the winter will often find they have specific coverage needs, like a rider that offers a reduced stability period for pre-existing medical issues before they leave. For example, CAA Travel Insurance1 offers a Pre-Existing Conditions Rider2 for those who may have an unstable medical condition, which allows travel up to 7 days before departure. There is a broad array of options available to anyone, at any age.

What do the best snowbird travel insurance plans include?

  • The best plans provide broad coverage and offer a range of benefits that include coverage for emergency dental expenditures, prescription eyeglasses and hearing aids.

  • Coverage for unexpected health issues is also critical. Emergency medical treatments, evacuation and repatriation are some of the advantageous benefits of comprehensive plans.

  • The best travel insurance plans set a limit of $5 million for emergency medical expenses such as hospitalization, doctor’s bills and ambulance services. 

  • Coverage for COVID-related issues is essential. Be certain that a policy has coverage for COVID-related medical illness. Just be aware that travel to destinations that include a Global Affairs Canada Level 3 or 4 travel advisory stating “avoid non-essential travel” or “avoid all travel” may impact your coverage. Your vaccination status may also be a factor in qualifying for coverage.

  • Look for a policy that includes non-medical coverage as well. Trip cancellation or interruption, delayed or stolen baggage and 24/7 emergency assistance are all features that should be included.
Senior couple laughing and eating cotton candy in Long Beach, California, USA

Rediscovering the delight of travel: options for Snowbirds

CAA Travel Insurance is a tried-and-true option for those who travel for an extended period of time.

In fact, it’s a good choice for anyone, whether you’re a CAA Member or not, to access the best plans, curated to specific needs. This includes coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, emergency medical treatment and trip cancellation and interruption. Plus, CAA Members save 10%2 on CAA Travel Insurance.


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