Whether it’s popping across the border for a bit of outlet mall shopping, visiting friends or family in a big city or escaping winter in a sunny vacation spot, many of us enjoy a visit to our southern neighbours. But as some Canadians have discovered, a relaxing or fun week away can quickly turn into a nightmare without the appropriate insurance coverage.
Your Car Insurance in the US
The most important thing to do is to inform your broker and insurance company if you plan on driving to the US, especially if you plan on staying for an extended period of time. Most insurance companies allow 30 days of US travel without penalty. Some permit more and others allow less. Informing them ensures you follow the rules of your policy and put your insurer in a position to help if you get into an accident or your vehicle is stolen or broken into.
Your Home Insurance While You’re In the States
You should also inform your home insurance provider (as well as your broker) if you’re leaving for 30 days or longer. Many insurance companies will limit or void coverage if your home is not checked every 48-72 hours by a responsible adult. Check with your broker insurer or policy documents and ask a family member or friend to check in on your place. You can also get someone to house sit or take additional prevention measures like turning off your water to prevent pipes from freezing. Insurers require this as unoccupied homes are big targets for crime and damage can increase in severity if not found.
The key is to call your home insurance provider before leaving and find out the best ways to keep your home insurance active and in place while you’re away.
Travel Insurance for the US
The final insurance piece in this puzzle is travel insurance. Medical expenses in the US are extremely high and your provincial health insurance is not enough. Emergencies happen even when you’re on vacation and you don’t want to worry about the cost of receiving medical treatment. Even a quick day trip can turn into a $30 000 nightmare should you find yourself in a U.S. hospital requiring x-rays or other medical attention.
To make sure you’re protected call and talk to your insurance broker. Your independent broker can help identify the travel insurance policy that best suits your needs. For instance, if you plan on making more than one trip to the U.S. this year your broker can help find a policy that covers all these trips rather than a separate policy for each trip—saving you hundreds in premium costs.
The key is to remember to call your insurance broker before you travel to the United States. Whether it’s a day trip a weekend away or an extended snowbird vacation by talking to your insurance provider you’ll learn the ways to protect yourself and your belongings.