Every year, Canadian and American Snowbirds make their annual journey to Mexico to escape the winter. If you are among those who spend 5 months or more in Mexico and regularly purchase short-term travel insurance, you should know that there are several disadvantages in doing this. In this blog, we speak with Michael Keller, East Coast Regional Manager of Guardian Insurance, who answers our questions on the subject and explains the advantages of purchasing annual private health insurance versus short-term travel insurance.
If I purchase a travel insurance policy and it is about to expire, can I renew it again based on my previous health conditions? No. With travel insurance policies, even if you were purchasing it for 364 days, you can never renew it. When your policy expires you will be issued a new one for the upcoming year, but the insurance company will take into account any changes in your health. It is like re-applying each time.
What if I develop an illness or have an accident after purchasing the policy? Am I covered?
Yes. If you purchased a travel insurance policy you would be covered in full if you were to contract an illness or suffer an accident. However, once it expires and you purchase a new travel insurance policy, the particular medical condition would be excluded as a preexisting condition.
So what happens if I purchase annual health insurance as compared to a travel insurance policy?
Once you are accepted by a health insurance provider, that policy is valid year-round and renewable for life. This means that once you are covered by the policy, any new medical conditions that may arise, such as illnesses or accidents, are covered for the life of the policy. This is obviously if you renew it annually.
My father turns 65 next year. Should he be worried about the age limit of acceptance?
Travel insurance and health insurance providers have certain age limits. It may be 65 or 70, although in some cases it can be as high as 80. However, usually after 70 or 75 years old the coverage becomes very limited with travel insurance providers.
What are the main differences between travel insurance and a private health insurance?
The main difference between the two is that, once you are accepted for a health policy there is no age limit, you can renew it for life. With travel insurance, once you reach the age limit you are no longer eligible for coverage. Secondly, and just as important, changes in medical conditions do not affect a private health insurance policy when renewing it. However, with travel insurance, changes in medical conditions will influence the premium or exclude certain coverage when you renew it. Pre-existing conditions don’t affect the premium, because pre-existing conditions are just simply never covered by travel policies.
My friends and I are in our late 30’s and early 40s? Should we purchase it as well?
If you are young, in good general health and are traveling for short periods of time during the year, then I recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy. If, on the other hand, you are 60 or over and traveling for extended periods, then I strongly recommend annual health insurance coverage;
How much money will I save by purchasing a travel insurance policy compared to the annual health insurance?
Travel insurance policy premiums are less expensive than an annual insurance policy, however, you get fewer benefits and coverage. Also, if you buy more than one travel insurance policy per year, for example, each time you travel, you will be paying almost the same premiums as an annual health insurance policy..
Any final advice for our readers?
If you are young, in good health and travel for short periods, then purchase travel insurance. If you are 60 years and older, in relatively good health and travel for extended periods then purchase annual health insurance. Changes to your health conditions and age will not influence your premiums as long as you renew that policy annually and you will be covered at home as well as when you travel.