Every year, retired Canadians head south to escape the long, snowy northern winter. This year, an estimated one million snowbirds will be heading to the United States to get away from the cold for a few months. By far the most popular winter destination for Canadian snowbirds from Ontario is Florida. In fact, more than 500,000 Canadians currently own a property in the sunshine state. Moreover, because Florida is a relatively short and easy trip, the majority of our snowbirds from Ontario choose to drive back and forth to their winter home every year.
While this makes a lot of sense, and having your own vehicle to get around while you’re away is a nice convenience, there are some important considerations when driving outside of Canada. So, if you’re an Ontario snowbird who’s heading down to Florida or another state south of the border for the winter, here are a few important things you should understand before you hit the road.
Know your time limit
Every Ontario car insurance policy will allow you to drive out of province for a maximum of 180 days while maintaining your coverage. Keep in mind, this refers to consecutive days. So, if you take multiple trips to the US, each time you return to Ontario, the clock resets. Check with your broker before you leave so you can ensure you’ll be covered the entire time you’re away.
Review your liability coverage
The fact is, personal injury lawsuits are more common in the United States than they are in Canada. You’ve probably seen the commercials on television. “Hurt in a car? Call William Mattar!” Let’s face it; our neighbours to the south tend to sue each other more frequently, and for larger amounts of money. That said, it’s a good idea to review the liability limit on your car insurance policy before you leave. If you haven’t already, you may want to consider either increasing your limit to at least $2 million, or adding a personal umbrella policy.
Notify your broker
Depending on the company you’re insured with it may not be a requirement. However, it’s a good idea to contact your broker any time you plan to take your vehicle out of the country for an extended period of time. Your broker will be able to quickly review your policy to make sure your current car insurance policy will still protect you while driving outside of Canada. Plus, your broker may also be able to suggest additional optional coverage you may not have considered.
In all, more and more Canadian snowbirds are driving their vehicles south to Florida and other states every year. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to escape the frigid Canadian climate and retreat south for the winter, make sure you’re properly protected. To be safe, review your policy with your broker before you leave.
If you have any questions, our team is here to help 7 days a week. Give us a call.
Drive safe and enjoy the sunshine!