Posted date : Aug 30, 2011.Back to list

Toronto – Spending the winter in the sunny south sure beats contending with the ice and snow. If you are truly going to enjoy the fruits of the snowbird lifestyle experience preparation is key and summer is a great time to get organized. The most important consideration is your health and that of your loved ones.

Some people regard travel medical insurance as an added expense or luxury, but the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) and its medical travel insurance provider Medipac International warn how even small, unexpected medical emergencies can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills.

"Today, travelling without supplemental health insurance is akin to gambling with your life savings," said CSA president Bob Slack. "Provincial government health insurance plans do not cover full medical expenses outside Canada and 80-90% of any medical bills will usually be your responsibility."

Many people feel they are adequately covered through their credit card or an employer plan but often these have limits. The Canadian Snowbird Association urges all travelling Canadians to obtain travel medical insurance before leaving Canada.

For the 20th consecutive year, the Canadian Snowbird Association has endorsed the travel medical insurance packages of Medipac International.

Another important consideration before you travel is ensuring that your financial affairs are in order. Arrange for pre-authorized payments of bills and take advantage of the ability to do your banking on-line. Ensure that your credit cards, debit cards, driver's license and various insurance products do not expire while you are away. In most cases, early renewal options are available.

If you typically spend an average of 4 months or more a year in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service may consider you a U.S. resident for tax purposes. To avoid filing a U.S. tax return, you may need to submit IRS Form 8840, a closer connection exemption statement that demonstrates that you are a resident of Canada. For more information on these and other matters of importance to travelling Canadians please contact the Canadian Snowbird Association.

The Canadian Snowbird Association is a 70,000 member, non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Canadian travellers from across the country. The CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians, helping to ensure access to safe, healthy travel with no restrictions on freedom of movement.

Michael MacKenzie
Executive Director
Canadian Snowbird Association
(416) 441-7005