Want to spend winters where it’s warm? Here are some tips
Every year, soon after Halloween is over, Canadians head south in droves, looking to escape the plunging temperatures and the impending snowfalls.
Though snowbirds might spend the winter months lounging on Florida’s beaches, exploring the California coast, golfing in Arizona or even ranch hopping in Texas, there’s a lot of work they need to do before they can relax in the sun.
There is a mountain of insurance regulations, tax implications and other little-known policies to come to grips with. “Your Canadian medical care does not travel with you,” says Evan Rachkovsky, the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA)’S director of research and communications. That means shop around for medical insurance and ask about coverage limits and the currency they’re calculated in before travelling. Get a U.S. credit card from a Canadian provider to avoid getting “dinged with interest rates or fees” when using your regular, Canadian card, says Terry Ritchie, the director of cross-border wealth services at Cardinal Point Capital Management Inc.
When exchanging currency, skip banks and use wholesale providers that offer more competitive rates, Ritchie says. Travel insurance is a good idea when heading across the border because it can save you when flights are cancelled or delayed, luggage is lost or your cruiseline, airline or other travel operator goes out of business. Most don’t know it, but buried in the fine print of home insurance policies is often a line requiring that someone monitor your place while you’re away.
“If the pipes burst or there’s snow damage, it might not be covered, if you didn’t have someone watch your home for you,” warns Ritchie.
Home insurance policies often require that someone monitor your place while you’re away.