PRESS RELEASE: September 20, 2011 - Heading south for the winter means escaping the snow and cold and heading to a place where the sun is still shining.  But as snowbirds make their way to their winter getaway destinations, it’s important to make sure that all of the right coverage is in place to protect both health and property.  InsuranceHotline.com offers snowbirds a comprehensive checklist to prepare for the winter months away from home.

Preparing to head to warmer climates for the winter months means more than just packing; before leaving snowbirds should take the time to make sure all of their insurance coverage is up to date and that they have the correct coverage for their needs.  This means coverage both for protection at the destination and for the home left behind.  With everything checked off the insurance needs list, the winter months ahead can be relaxing and without worry.

Auto Insurance Away from Home.

For snowbirds who are driving to a sunny destination, auto insurance is an important part of the vital coverage for the trip.  Before leaving, it’s important to make sure that premium payments are up to date and make arrangements for any payments that might need to be made during the trip; a lapse in coverage could be serious.  The destination will also affect auto insurance coverage needs.

In the United States coverage is provided through Canadian policies in much the same way as it does in Canada.  For travel into Mexico however, a special policy is required.  This can be purchased ahead of time or at the border in order to ensure continued coverage for injury, theft, and property damage.

For those who will fly south and obtain a rental car for use, it is important to verify that coverage is extended to rental cars.  In most cases this is so and the purchase of the rental company’s optional insurance coverage is not necessary.

Travel Medical Insurance is a Must.

Canadians are accustomed to having medical coverage whenever they need it, but when crossing the border it becomes a much different situation.  Provincial health care coverage provides only a very minimal amount of reimbursement for medical care while outside of Canada; for this reason snowbirds should always obtain a travel health insurance policy before leaving Canada.

Medical care in the United States can be incredibly expensive, especially if there is a serious illness or injury.  Carrying a travel health policy is vital for anyone leaving Canada for any length of time, but for snowbirds who will spend an extended period of time in another country it becomes especially important.  Prepare well ahead of time by obtaining a policy for the duration of the trip.

Leaving Home Behind.

An extended trip away from home means that a problem might go unnoticed, such as a leaky pipe or other damage.  It also leaves the home vulnerable to burglary since thieves watch for homes where no one is around.  Snowbirds should have someone check in on the home regularly to ensure everything is secure and watch out for any problems.

“Homes that are clearly not occupied for an extended period become a target for burglary,”  says Tammy Ezer of InsuranceHotline.com, “Asking neighbours to keep an eye out for anything suspicious is a great way to avoid coming home to a disaster.”  Before leaving, ensure insurance coverage is in place and premiums are paid for the duration of the trip.

Other Coverage to Consider.

A long trip away from home leaves open a wide range of possibilities for trouble, but they can all be guarded against with the right insurance.  Consider the following policies to round out a comprehensive coverage package:

•    Travel life insurance
•    Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
•    Accident insurance

InsuranceHotline.com helps snowbirds obtain and compare quotes on all of the insurance coverage they need for a safe and relaxing winter away.