Some will go, most will stay: Canadian snowbirds weighing options, association says


With the land border closed for the foreseeable future and only so many of our seniors and retirees with vehicles already down south, the Canadian Snowbird Association says it expects less than 30 per cent of snowbirds will go to the U.S. this winter.  

“The issue is you have over 70 per cent of our members from the Canadian Snowbird Association who when they travel to the U.S., they travel by their Canadian vehicle and they use that vehicle,” director of research Evan Rachowvsky said. 

With the land border cutting off the main mode of transportation, Rackowvsky said that’s split members into three camps. 

Those that will travel down no matter what, especially if they have U.S. vehicles waiting for them, those that won’t because of health concerns and those that are waiting to see what will happen to the border. 

While many he says will still stay home even if they’re able to travel down because of COVID-19 later on, he said others that are determined to go may get creative. 

“They’re making plans for example to fly into a neighbouring border state and then have the vehicle shipped to that border state and then drive down the rest of the way and then re-enter Canada with that vehicle,” he said. 

The CSA is urging snowbirds that do go down to carefully review their insurance plans. 

For example, a plan may have an overall benefit of $2-$5 million, but payouts of up to $200,000 for COVID emergency claims. 

“In the U.S., that’s not going to cut it,” Rachovsky said. “They are absolutely going to want to ensure that that $2-$5 million emergency coverage also includes COVID claims and that they’re not going to be capped.”

The impact on the local U.S. economies will likely be significant, as a Canadian government survey says our snowbirds contribute about $6.5 billion to the Florida economy every year. 

“If you have around 30 per cent or less of Canadians snowbirds that typically go to Florida actually visiting during COVID, that’s going to have a tremendous impact,” he said.