As the days get colder, hundreds of thousands of Canadians head south of the border in search of warmer weather. If you are preparing to leave the country for months at a time, insurance policies may be one of the last things on your mind. Here are some special considerations to take while you prepare to fly the coop:
1. Your health
Before you begin to plan your trip, it is important that you take your health care needs into consideration. If you are over 60, you will be required to complete a detailed medical questionnaire in order to calculate your insurance premiums. Common medical conditions that may affect your premium may include:
- Lung conditions
- Heart conditions
- History of cancer
- High blood pressure
It is also very important to consider any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. All medical travel insurance policies will exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions unless they are proven by a physician to be stable. The minimum stability period will vary depending on your policy, but it typically will range between 60 – 365 days. If the stability of a pre-existing medical condition changes, it will no longer be covered under the insurance policy.
2. The length of your trip
It’s important to research your provincial health insurance plan before you head south for the winter. In Ontario, you are allowed to be out of the province for up to 7 months without losing your OHIP coverage. If you are out of Ontario for longer than 7 months, you will be able to keep OHIP coverage for up to two years as long as you have a valid health card, proof of residency and will be in Ontario for at least 153 days a year in each of the two years immediately before you leave the country.
3. Your home insurance policy
Home insurance policies may require you to have a trusted friend or family member regularly check up on your home in order to maintain your coverage. Some insurance policies may only cover an “unoccupied” or “vacant” home for up to 30 days, so it is important to entrust a friend or family member with the responsibility of checking up on your home a few times a week during your absence. Have them park a car in your driveway and put out their garbage next to your curb and consider installing timers on your lights to help prevent burglaries and maintain the appearance of a lived-in home.
Consider draining your home’s pipes and completely turning off the water in order to protect your home from flooding and burst pipes. This is a very important step to take because home insurance policies will not cover damage due to freezing, and most standard policies will not cover flooding. Setting the furnace to anywhere between 12-15 celsius will help ensure that the interior of your home stays warm and will help prevent burst pipes and freezing.
4. Car insurance policy
If you plan on driving to your location, you should speak with your auto insurance broker about your policy. It is recommended that you increase your liability limit in order to protect you from damages and potential lawsuits if you got into an accident.
Depending on where you are travelling, your Canadian insurance may not cover you. If you are travelling to Mexico your auto insurance will not be covered and you will be required to purchase a separate insurance policy through a recognized Mexican insurance company.
Give your James Campbell Insurance broker a call today to make sure you are fully covered while you enjoy your winter vacation.