Insurance Update – CSANews Winter 2020

Posted on December 15th, 2020 by Medipac

The Border

As of this writing, the Canada/U.S. border is still closed to vehicle traffic, except for “essential travel.” The current expiry date of the ban is December 21, but I do expect it to be extended, again. Just to clarify a few things from your many Bird Talk letters (for which I thank you): a vehicle does include an RV; it includes a truck and it includes your car. Based on our information and feedback from our members, the border agents seem to be making no exceptions. You cannot cross the border to visit the U.S. even if you own property there. We have heard of situations in which the storms have damaged property in the U.S. The Canadian owners were denied entry to go and make repairs, or to further protect their property. To a U.S. border guard, this is not considered “essential travel.” So…attempting to protect your property with a flooded basement, a roof torn off or windows blown out does not count as essential travel. What nonsense!

Some snowbirds have also had family medical emer-gencies in the U.S. They were denied entry. Many have called ahead to the border crossings, but I think that the border agents have figured that one out and are routinely saying “NO” to everyone. Several U.S. citizens and dual citizens were attempting to return to the U.S. with their Canadian partners. The Canadians were denied entry and were forced to go to the airport and catch a plane.

Catch a plane??? To the U.S.? Yes, that is allowed. You simply get on a plane anywhere in Canada and you can easily go to the United States. There is no requirement to quarantine, either. This has created some very interesting solutions for many snowbirds.

A bunch of golf buddies got together and rented a private jet to get them to their winter homes. It is nice to be rich, but the cost − when split 10 or 12 ways − is not outrageous. Oh, and they could take their dogs and cats, too, but were not allowed a lot of luggage due to weight requirements. My guess is that their golf clubs were already in the U.S.

Others rented a professional car transporter to take their cars to the airport closest to the Canadian border. They then flew to that airport, picked up their cars and continued down South as normal. The professional car transports seem to have no trouble entering the U.S., as this is in the normal course of commercial business, which is allowed. There are several very good transport companies and you can find them on the internet very easily. Two of them have advertised with us, but I doubt that you would have problems with any of them. Ask for a quote or two before you decide.

Since this is supposed to be an insurance update, I will make a few comments as to what Medipac is seeing in the snowbird market. Approximately 35% of our clients have already returned this year and I expect that there will be many more as the winter settles in. What is interesting to us is that we have received approximately the same number of brand-new snowbird clients. We assume that this is partially because we cover COVID-19 directly and have done so since the beginning of this weird pandemic.

One thing that bothered us was the large number of ads on the internet that targeted snowbirds and stated on the front website pages that they “Covered COVID.” When you read the actual policy document, usually buried deep in their website, there is no med-ical coverage if there is an “essential travel” warning in effect. This may mean that there is NO coverage for COVID-19 or anything else. I recommend that, if you were swayed by this and purchased elsewhere, you may want to read your policy again.

What everyone really wants to know is how many snowbirds are dying from COVID-19? How many are hospitalized? And how many are just getting sick? I can only speak from our experience with insuring thousands of snowbirds in the United States since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not one of our snowbirds died from COVID-19. We have had only two hospitalizations related to COVID-19 and a dozen cases in which people have tested positive for COVID-19. We did take three or four additional medical calls which may have been mild COVID-19 infections; these people simply stayed home, self-medicated and got better.

My last comment is that we were asked to dedicate a page to the Federal Government to outline their position on COVID-19 and travelling and, in fairness, I agreed to do so. Make sure that you read it and then you can make your own decision about maintaining your treasured lifestyle.

Despite the current COVID climate, Pat and I will be flying to Florida just after a Christmas spent with our grandkids, if our government allows us to celebrate. I will wear a mask and wash my hands and socially distance and I will be very careful.

Merry Christmas and have a wonderful, COVID-free New Year wherever you are.