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Snowbirds Off to a Flying Start

By AMA Staff

As the temperature drops and snowy weather approaches, hundreds of Albertans will begin a long-awaited winter ritual. Snowbirds are gearing up for their annual migration south of the border to seek sun, sand and serenity. 

The life of snowbirds

In a recent survey by Snowbird Advisor, 66 percent of snowbirds plan to spend at least three winter months abroad. With the cost of living in warmer states like Arizona and Florida above the national average, snowbirding could get pricey. Luckily, AMA’s travel medical insurance options can help members offset the expenses of their second summer.

“Snowbirders may not be aware that travel medical policies can be purchased with a deductible,” says Nikola Berube, AMA’s director of sales and member services.

So like car insurance, the deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket toward an insured loss. When you increase the deductible on your policy, it lowers the cost of your insurance premium. So, the higher your deductible, the lower the premium. The same principle would also apply to your travel medical insurance.

New travel insurance benefits to protect your trip.

The difference an adjustment could make

This flexible deductible ranges between $500 to $50,000 USD and it can save up to 45 percent of your premium for travel medical insurance. And as long as you visit a facility that supports direct billing, you wouldn’t pay out-of-pocket unless you have a deductible.

“You might not be able to afford high medical expenses if you’re caught out of the country in an emergency without medical insurance,” Berube explains. “However, you might be able to afford a higher deductible to pay a lower premium.”

Alberta snowbirds who spend a lot of time outside of the province might not be able to afford emergency medical expenses without insurance in a foreign country. Additionally, a more manageable scenario would be agreeing to a higher deductible to pay a lower premium. It’s a great way to reduce the expenses.

“This is most advantageous for people in higher-risk categories and has higher premiums,” Berube notes. Anyone over the age of 60 must complete a medical questionnaire to determine their risk category. But she notes, “no matter your age or risk bracket, a deductible can significantly reduce your upfront premium cost.” Think of it as a parachute during your southern migration, ready to deploy when and if you need it.

You can also apply the deductible to the single-trip medical plans or the multi-trip annual plan. There’s even a top-up option attached to multi-trip plans geared towards those snowbirds who are looking to extend their vacations. Visit to learn more or call 1-866-989-6595 to chat with a travel insurance specialist.