Christmas Gift for Frequent U.S. Border Crossers

Got a family member or close friend who makes frequent border hops to the U.S. for ballgames, hockey (when they play it), shopping, theatre, golf, or cheaper gas? Offer to pay for an annual multi-trip travel health insurance policy that covers them no matter how many trips they take. One fee, one application.

Too often we hear tragic cases of Canadians confined in a U.S. hospital after a fall, or traffic accident, or stroke—unable to be repatriated to a hospital at home. Often it was just a one or two-day trip. Routine. Done it a hundred times. Never a problem. Until, one day there is a problem and they end up in a hospital where intensive care kicks in and there is no way of getting out until it is safe for them to travel. That could be weeks.

Just because travel is routine, doesn’t mean it can’t end tragically. It does all too often.

It’s very easy for someone planning a last-minute one or two-day trip to forget about, or neglect, the need for travel insurance.  Who wants to mess with applications and papers and all that stuff for a short trip to get school clothes for the kids? Hardly worth the effort.

Well with an annual multi-trip plan, you can still have the coverage you want without having to deal with all of those inconveniences each time you cross the border.

Here’s how the annual, multi-trip plan works.  You select the maximum number of days per trip you want to buy—7, 15, 30, 60, or some other number depending on what any individual insurer offers.  You then apply for an annual plan which allows you to travel up to the number of days you have selected per trip (e.g. 7, 15, 30 or some other) as many times as you like throughout the year without having to apply for coverage each time.  In effect, you have that number of days of coverage in your pocket whenever you need it. The only restriction is that you can’t exceed the number of days selected on any one trip: you must return to your home province for at least one day before starting on your next trip segment.

If you need to add a few days to one of your pre-determined trip segments, you simply call your insurer and buy a top-up for the specific number of days you want.

How do insurers know how long you have been out of the country? Usually they probably won’t, but if you should ever have a claim, you will have to prove that the claim happened within your allotted trip segment and you will need to provide proof of your dates of travel: credit card receipts, air tickets, passports stamps, etc.

What makes this product especially attractive is that it is cheaper than buying single trip plans in that the price is based on the 7 or 15 or 30-day segments you have purchased.  The rationale is that the longer you are out of the country, the greater the chance you will encounter a claim, and so the per diem rate for shorter trips is less than the per diem rate for longer ones. It’s a considerable saving.

Among experienced travellers, the multi-trip plan has gained a lot of traction. It works for them; it can work for cross-border hoppers just as well.

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