Insurance for Canadian Snowbirds

Many Canadians head to warmer climates to escape the long, cold winter. Whether they go for a month or six, their insurance protection is impacted by their travel. This article will explain how your insurance is affected by being a snowbird and what coverage you need to ensure you’re protected.  

Home Insurance for Canadian Snowbirds 

Did you know your insurance could be void or limited if you don’t have anyone checking in on your home every 48 hours? This is because homes that are left empty are more susceptible to crime and damage – and problems can go unnoticed for longer, making the situation worse. 

If you’re planning on becoming a snowbird, here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Inform your home insurer of your plans.  
  2. Have someone check on your home at least once every 48 hours or arrange for someone to stay in your home while you’re away.  
  3. Consider shutting off your water.  

Burst pipes are a common problem in the winter, which is why we recommend shutting off the water if no one is living at your home while you’re away. You should also consider investing in lighting, cameras and a security system. The individual you have checking on your home should also keep a logbook and do a full walk through your home and yard. You may also need to arrange for snow removal while you’re away.  

If you plan to rent out your home while you’re away, speak to one of our brokers as this also impacts your home insurance. 

You may require personal liability coverage while you snowbird if you don’t have any property insurance such as home, condo or renter’s insurance. For example, if you live with a family member or rent for half the year and snowbird the other half.  

Car Insurance for Canadian Snowbirds 

If you’re driving your vehicle across the border, you’ll need to inform your car insurance provider. Many insurance companies will offer coverage while you’re in the US but this may mean you pay higher rates. There may also be a limit on the length of time you can drive outside of the country. Often, coverage will not extend to Mexico.  

If you’re driving in the US, you may want to increase your liability protection due to the frequency and cost of traffic accident lawsuits. 

Alternatively, you might be leaving your vehicle in Canada. In this case, we recommend keeping it insured. If it’s driven at all or even parked on public roads, you’re required to carry third-party liability coverage on the vehicle. Furthermore, it could be stolen or damaged even while it’s parked. Reducing coverage can reduce the cost, but you could end up paying more if the vehicle is damaged while you’re away. Speak to a broker about your options.  

If you have a classic car, we can also offer specialized protection whether it will be going with you or staying behind. Some classic car policies offer more flexibility for time spent in the US and these vehicles can be a great option for enjoying the beautiful weather.  

RV Insurance for Canadian Snowbirds 

Many Canadians opt to use an RV to snowbird in the US. Note that most policies won’t cover you in Mexico.   

 If your RV is financed, you’ll likely be required to have physical damage coverage by your lender. All of our RV insurance policies include this protection!  

If you have a motorhome, you’re required to carry third-party liability and accident benefits coverage, just like any other vehicle (drivers in Alberta are also required to cover direct compensation property damage coverage). We also offer motorhome insurance for Canadian snowbirds that includes physical damage coverage, contents coverage, emergency vacation expenses and more.   

If you have a trailer, insurance isn’t required but it is recommended. Our affordable trailer insurance for Canadian snowbirds includes physical damage coverage, emergency vacation expenses, roadside assistance and protection for your personal belongings.   

We can also add personal liability coverage to RV insurance policies for snowbirds who temporarily live in their RVs while they travel.   

Travel Insurance for Canadian Snowbirds 

There are four main types of travel insurance available to Canadian Snowbirds: 

  • Trip Cancellation – Helps recoup your costs if your trip is cancelled.  
  • Trip Interruption – Helps recoup your costs and get you home if you must end your trip partway through. 
  • Travel Medical – Helps cover medical costs if you get sick or injured while you’re travelling.  
  • Lost Luggage – Helps cover essentials if your luggage is delayed or lost.  

We recommend Canadian snowbirds carry travel medical coverage due to the cost of healthcare abroad (particularly in the US). Provincial health care will offer limited to no coverage.  

The other coverages can help cover costs if something unexpected happens and you’re forced to cancel or need to get home quickly.  

If you’re considering becoming a snowbird in the warmer parts of Canada or outside of the country, give us a call to discuss your insurance. We can review your existing coverage and advise of any gaps and how to keep your assets safe while you travel.  

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