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What is snowbird travel insurance?

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on November 3rd, 2017

Snowbird travel insurance isn't all that unique. The only thing separating it from regular travel insurance is that certain aspects of the coverage have been selectively tailored so they can better fit the situations of the people we colloquially refer to as snowbirds.

A quick refresher: Snowbirds are people who temporarily relocate from the colder regions of North America and spend the winter in a hot location—Florida, Arizona, etc. Most of the time they are senior citizens who have grown tired of frigid temperatures and want to make the most of their retirement in the heat. Every now and then there could be a remote worker or independently wealthy person who doesn't fall into the senior citizenship bracket and decides to become a snowbird, but it's rare.

Where it differs from regular travel insurance

The profile of a typical snowbird differs greatly from the profile of a typical traveller in general. Because of this specificity, insurers choosing to offer an actual "snowbird policy" can make it highly applicable to the needs of a snowbird's trip(s).

That happens in a few different ways. One is to increase the range of stable pre-existing conditions that are covered, since the snowbird population is obviously susceptible to way more medical issues than younger travelers are. Another is to have perks thrown in, like getting transport back to a domestic hospital included in the policy. Overall, it's likely that the policy will be discounted to what it would cost to get an ordinary quote for the same range of dates and locations.

Choosing between single trip and annual snowbird policies

As with regular travel insurance, snowbirds will likely have the option to choose between single trip and annual policies. Determining which one is best will depend on the person (or people/group's) situation.

Generally, the single trip option would be best suited to snowbirds who are going down south for a continuous block of time and not planning on traveling throughout the rest of the year. Or perhaps it could even still be beneficial to snowbirds who go home once during the winter and then immediately return back south. But for anything more than that—and certainly if more out-of-province travel is being planned for later on in the year—it would make sense to choose the annual option. One complication when snowbirds opt for an annual plan may be that the insurer puts a cap on how long they can be out of the province continuously (e.g. 31 days). If that is the case, it's important for applicants to find out if there is also a top-up option, which would allow the date range to be extended.

Snowbird insurance should be compliant with other policies

If you think of a person like a tree (yes, that's a strange analogy to make at this point in the article; just go with it), then insurance policies are just some of the many branches protruding out of them, affecting the overall entity that is the tree. When one branch is shaken, the rest of it moves accordingly. And if that branch is snowbird travel insurance, then home and auto insurance are two closely connected branches that get shaken as well.

All of this is to say that a snowbird travel policy must be compliant with home and auto policies, or it could end up complicating things and voiding some of those coverages. For example, some home insurance policies will require homeowners to declare themselves officially as being absent, or else anything that happens while they're away won't actually be covered. Auto insurance can obviously get complicated if the snowbird is driving down south. Keep these things in mind while looking into snowbird travel insurance.

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