Are You Insured While In Florida For Six Months?

Winter 2010 CSANews Issue 77  |   Posted date : Dec 06, 2010.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk: 


You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the local Co-Operators office to pick up my pink slip for proof of insurance, as I was leaving for Florida before my actual renewal date. When I sat down in front of the agent, she said that she had bad news for me. Because I was going to the U.S. for more than 60 days, my rate would be increased by one-and-a-half times - equal to an extra $4.77 a day - which would increase my premium by more than $500.00. According to the policy and the supervisor of financial services (provincial government), I was insured in both Canada and the United States.

When questioned, the agent advised me that because I told them I was going south for six months, they had to advise me that my rates would go up. Because I was truthful and let her know I was going to Florida, she advised me that I WOULD NOT be covered in the event of an accident unless I paid the additional premium.

Upon checking with a broker, he was not aware of any insurance companies that charged a surcharge for snowbirds. I don't know whether you have come across this before, but it would be important if everyone checked this out and for the CSA to investigate and question this practice. This is certainly discrimination against retirees and snowbirds.

I would advise all snowbirds to check with their insurance company to ensure that they are not at risk of not being covered, in the event of an accident in the U.S. If you would like a copy of the letter which I received from the Co-operators Insurance Company, I will gladly forward it to you. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and I look forward to your reply. 

Thank you! 

Scott Frechette,
Napanee, ON

Response :
Ed: Co-operators is just one of several insurance companies to charge extra for snowbirds and some of the companies can be quite expensive. I personally like Co-operators as a company, but they should revisit these snowbird surcharges. It is not discrimination because you do have to charge for the risk, whatever it is. They just think that it is higher than it really is when driving in the U.S. – we’ll talk to them.

The potential problem is for snowbirds who take their car to Florida for more than 30 days and their insurance company does not know this. This insurer has the right to deny your claim on the basis that you have changed their risk without notifying them. A small claim will just be treated as routine but, when the numbers get large, many companies will take a very close look at ways to avoid paying. CSA has an auto/home program and you may want to get a quotation; everyone in that plan is a snowbird and the insurer knows that.

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