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Are you a Snowbird? Make sure you don’t get stuck abroad!

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Many Canadian snowbirds are preparing to head down south for the first time in over two years. But you will likely find that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way you travel internationally. So how can you avoid getting stuck abroad, or worse losing money?

We recently spoke with Omar Kaywan, co-founder of Goose Insurance and Canadian travel expert, about the questions you may be asking if you’re planning on travelling. Below is the advice he shared:

  1. What do I need to look for when purchasing travel medical insurance?

If you’re travelling in retirement, especially in the wake of a global pandemic, it’s not the time to forego insurance. With inflation’s impact on healthcare costs, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself so that you’re not left dealing with unexpected medical costs. When shopping for travel insurance, Omar recommends comparing a couple of different policies before deciding which one is right for you. Here are a few questions you should be asking before signing on the dotted line:

  • How does an unstable pre-existing medical condition impact my coverage?
  • How am I protected if I test positive for COVID-19 while travelling outside of Canada?
  • Does this policy include a repatriation benefit?

Insurance jargon can be difficult to interpret, so if you have any questions about the benefits or exclusions in your policy, ask to speak to a licensed agent.

  1. How does my pre-existing medical condition affect my travel insurance?

Any medical condition that you knew about before your departure is considered “pre-existing” and may impact your insurance coverage. If you don’t declare a pre-existing medical condition before purchasing insurance, it may cause your policy to become void. If you are unsure how to answer your insurer’s medical questions accurately, ask your doctor for help. Make sure you read your policy carefully to understand how it treats pre-existing medical conditions and consult a licensed insurance agent if you have questions.

  1. What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 while travelling?

Coverage will vary between policies, but if you are fully vaccinated and have followed the guidelines of your home country as well as the country you are visiting, you should be covered. You always have the option to purchase stand-alone COVID travel insurance, which will protect you in case you need to quarantine, or your trip is cancelled or interrupted.

  1. What if I get stuck abroad due to COVID?

Review your insurance policy to ensure it includes a repatriation benefit. If there is another wave of the pandemic or if a doctor determines that it is medically necessary for you to return to Canada, this benefit means that your insurer will help you get back home.

If you’re planning on escaping the Canadian winter this year, get the insurance advice you need to protect yourself so that you can relax and enjoy the weather down south!

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