Snowbird Travel Insurance Nightmares – Don’t Let This Happen to You!

Snowbird Travel Insurance Nightmares
If you’re over 55 and travel outside Canada, you’re probably familiar with the dreaded medical questionnaire you need to complete when applying for medical travel insurance for seniors and snowbirds.

What you my not know is that any inaccurate answer you provide on your questionnaire can be used by your insurance provider to void your policy and deny any claim you make, even if your claim is unrelated to the medical condition covered by the inaccurate answer.

If you make a claim under your snowbird travel insurance policy for any significant amount, you can be 100% certain that the first thing your insurer will do is go through your medical questionnaire answers with a fine tooth comb and request medical records, test results and reports from your doctor to look for omissions, errors and inaccuracies.

While it may seem shocking that your claim could be denied for even the most trivial error, here are just a few real life examples of travel medical questionnaires gone horribly wrong for Canadian snowbirds: 

Tripped Up – Travel Medical Insurance Questionnaire Pitfalls

Every Canadian snowbird should watch the following Marketplace episode before buying travel medical insurance. It features cautionary tales, pitfalls  and tips related to travel insurance medical questionnaires for seniors and snowbirds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G08phgECt3I 

2 Six-Figure Snowbird Travel Insurance Nightmares

Avoid the fate suffered by these Canadian snowbirds. Watch out for confusing question on your medical questionnaire and be sure to include all of your medical conditions, no mater how old or minor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCB-ebfn0Is 

Another $100,000+ Medical Questionnaire Nightmare

A mistake about prescription medication on a medical questionnaire cost this Canadian snowbird couple over $100,000

The $50,000 Cost of One Wrong Travel Insurance Answer

Watch out for confusing or misleading questions! See the potentially misleading medical questionnaire question that cost this Canadian snowbird couple $50,000.

6 Tips for Filling Out Travel Medical Insurance Questionnaires:

A common mistake made by some snowbirds is to treat travel medical insurance as an afterthought. Don’t fall into this trap! Make sure you take the necessary time to carefully research and apply for your snowbird travel insurance. Your financial well being could depend on it!

Here are a few tips to follow when filling out your medical questionnaire:

  • Consult your doctor(s) – If you are unsure about the answer to a question, consult your doctors before answering. It may be time consuming, but providing the correct answer is far more important than providing a quick one. 
     
  • Include your ENTIRE medical history – Just because something happened a long time ago or was minor, it doesn’t mean you can exclude it. Make sure you accurately disclose everything!
     
  • Err on the side of caution – If you think there is even a remote chance that a medical question applies to your situation and you are unable to confirm 100% that it does not apply, you should consider treating the question as if it applies to you. While this may increase the cost of your insurance, it will avoid giving the insurance provider ammunition to deny a claim down the road.
     
  • Review your answers before you travel – Your travel insurance provider should give you a copy of your final questionnaire answers when you get your policy. Review these carefully to make sure the answers are accurate and reflect the ones you provided.
     
  • Don’t rely solely on insurance agents or brokers – While insurance agents and brokers may be able to provide you with some guidance on medical questionnaires, do your own homework about your medical history and don’t rely on them to provide you with the correct answers to complex questions.
     
  • Track your own medical history – If possible, try to keep your own records, including dates, of any changes to your medical conditions, treatments and medications. This should include any doctor prescribed increase or decrease in medications and any abnormal test results, as all of these can affect your travel medical insurance premiums.

Disclaimer: The material provided on the SnowbirdAdvisor.ca website is for informational purposes only and does NOT constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, real estate or other advice, and should not be relied on as such. If you require such advice, you should retain a qualified professional to advise you.