October 10, 2003

BCAA offers advice to ‘snowbirds’

Burnaby, BC – The British Columbia Automobile Association
(BCAA) expects to sell over 18,000 travel medical insurance policies during
October – more than any other month and a clear signal that “snowbird season”
has arrived. To help ensure a trouble-free extended vacation, BCAA encourages
retirees and other winter travellers to take a few extra precautions to
protect themselves, along with their homes and belongings, while they’re away.

If you’re a ‘snowbird’ heading south for the winter, here are a few
things BCAA says you should consider before you pack up and leave:

  • Purchase travel medical insurance before leaving on vacation.
    Provincial health care coverage may not provide full coverage for
    medical emergencies in other parts of Canada, and foreign countries,
    and in fact, covers less than 10 per cent of hospital expenses in the
    United States. Make sure your travel medical insurance provides
    coverage for hospital expenses, medical bills, prescription drugs,
    ambulances and emergency dental care.

  • Arrange to have a reliable person check your home daily to ensure
    heating is maintained; otherwise, your home insurance policy may limit
    coverage for loss or damage caused by freezing of your home’s heating
    or plumbing systems.

  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked and use timers to turn lights –
    and possibly a TV or radio – on/off during the day and night. It’s also
    a good idea to have a neighbour pick up mail, newspapers, shovel snow
    and report any sign of trouble.

  • Make sure your auto insurance doesn’t expire while you’re away. Consult
    with an insurance advisor to make necessary arrangements if the
    insurance on the vehicle you’re driving expires while you’re away. And,
    for any vehicles you leave behind, consider purchasing a storage policy
    to cover fire, theft and vandalism.

  • If you’re driving to your destination, make sure you have adequate
    limits of third-party liability coverage on your automobile or RV
    should you be found responsible for someone else’s injury or damage to
    their property. Your current coverage limits are in Canadian dollars,
    so if you are travelling to the U.S. you might not have enough

  • If you’re planning to drive your RV, it’s a good idea to ensure that
    you have physical damage coverage for your vehicle. This will cover
    your RV in the event of damage or a total loss.

  • Before driving long distances, thoroughly check your vehicle’s tires
    for air pressure and tread wear, looking specifically for any signs of
    uneven wear. As RVs tend not to be driven regularly, it’s especially
    important to check your vehicle’s tires for cracks. Also, if you’re
    planning to drive through mountain passes, prepare your vehicle with
    snow tires or chains.

Travellers are advised to consult with their insurance advisor to ensure
they have adequate coverage for themselves, their home and their vehicle while
they are away.

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