Travel Tips for Snowbirds: Some Insurance Pitfalls to Be Aware of

By Bill Bailey, Edwards Insurance

Toronto, ON (July 18, 2014) – There are many things you should know or think about when buying travel insurance for and during your trip south. Here are three pieces of information for you to consider and to help ensure that you get the best value from your insurance if and when you need it. Not a comprehensive list, but things to be aware of based on experiences my clients have had in the past.

Changes in Dosage of Medication Can be an Issue

The fine print in the application, which many – perhaps most – people don’t read may indicate that a change in dosage of your medication is interpreted to mean that your medical condition is considered to be “not stable”. Whether the change is an increase or a decrease, the disorder you want covered may in fact not be covered? Always check the stability period required for all medications and ensure that you meet the requirements, or discuss with your insurance provider. Keep in mind that something as seemingly trivial as a baby aspirin can be considered as medication.

Contact Your Insurance Provider Before Visiting a Medical Facility

Call your emergency insurance provider whenever possible prior to your visit. My intent is not to frighten, but to inform; the issue is a difference in what may be insured ie covered for a first visit versus subsequent visits. For example your visit to a walk in clinic can be considered the first visit. If so, then subsequent visits and tests may or may not be covered as most insurance companies will cover the first visit but the policy wordings may indicate restrictions associated with follow up visits. The important thing to note is that even a scratch can become infected and warrant further diagnostics. If you go directly to the hospital, most expenses and diagnostics will be covered. If you go to a walk in clinic first and then subsequently – a few days later – decide to visit a hospital, some of their tests will not be covered even though you may consider this to be your first “real emergency” visit. Companies are very strict about following the wording, even if you disagree with which visit was your first actual emergency. The recommendation is to first call your emergency medical provider, or go directly to the hospital in the event of an emergency.

Carefully Consider Your Deductible

Reconsider the deductibles is advice given by travelers. The deductible for most companies is per event. Therefore, if you go to a hospital twice during the course of the winter, you would have to pay the deductible for each visit. The money you saved on your insurance premium by choosing a deductible is usually all used for your first visit. As a result my clients who have gone south and had this experience recommend “0” deductible. It costs more up front, but the benefits can be significant.

Regardless of your travel plans, it is wise to consult an insurance broker to make sure that you are getting the best price from a reputable company. The cheapest price isn’t always the best solution. Failure to consult will often cost you money in the long run.

As stated at the beginning, this is by no means a comprehensive list of things to be aware of, but a few points to consider as you decide on your travel insurance, and as you travel. As insurance advisors, we are there to help.

Bill Bailey

About the Author

Bill Bailey, a Travel Insurance Specialist at Edwards Insurance, is a registered insurance broker who has been working for his clients in Central Ontario for ten years.

Edwards Insurance is a member of the Security in Our Numbers group.

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Source: Edwards Insurance