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Advice for snowbirds

Heading somewhere warmer for the winter months? We don’t blame you. But we also want to make sure you’ve thought of the important things to keep your winter worry-free. Take a peek at our checklist to make sure you’re ready to fly!

Check your credit card agreement.

Your credit card may offer some travel benefits you can take advantage of -- like emergency health insurance, insurance for lost luggage and flight delays, assistance with lost documents or tickets, and legal referrals. But read the fine print! Extended stays and vacations are not always treated equally and the benefits typically only apply if your trip was booked using the credit card. If you are driving south, the travel perks may not apply.

It’s also important to know your fees. Along with the exchange rate you may also be paying a conversion fee on every transaction. Be sure you understand what that will cost you so you can make wise choices about when to pay with a credit card and when it might be worthwhile to consider cash.

Understand Alberta Health Care.

According to you may remain eligible for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan if, on a recurring basis, you are absent from Alberta for up to 212 days in a 12 month period for the purpose of vacation. Alberta Health advises you to contact them before you go, to ensure you remain eligible for coverage.

Alberta Health also strongly recommends snowbirds have private supplementary insurance for their time away from home.

Analyze your insurance.

With additional travel insurance a must for snowbirds, it’s wise to take the time to choose the right policy. Are there age limits?1 Will it cover all the activities you may do during your time away? Are pre-existing conditions covered?2 Again, read the fine print to be sure the coverage is appropriate for extended stays, as opposed to shorter vacations.

If you are required to complete a medical questionnaire3, allow plenty of time to make sure it’s done right. You may need to consult your doctor in order to ensure your answers are accurate. Incorrect information could result in problems when trying to make a claim. In some cases your policy could be void4.

Once you’ve signed on, make sure you have fulfilled your obligations. Let your insurance provider know where you will be and how they can contact you.

More questions about travel insurance? Check out ATB Travel Protection™, or contact our partner TuGo at 1-877-282-1888.

1 There is no age limit on most plans with ATB Travel Protection™.​​​​​ 2 With ATB Travel Protection, pre-existing conditions are covered, subject to terms and conditions of the policy. 3 ATB Travel Protection requires snowbirds over the age of 60 to complete a medical health questionnaire. 4 Instead of completely voiding the coverage, ATB Travel Protection will apply a $5,000 deductible.
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