Winter Snowbirding

October 2019

More than 3.7 million Canadians visited Florida in 2016 according to Visit Florida.  Many more went to Arizona, California, Hawaii and other warm weather states.

Visiting the U.S. for short periods of time does not require much in the way of advance planning.  Those away from Canada for more than six months, or those visiting the U.S. for more than six months, may be required to deal with certain residency issues.

Staying in the U.S. for more than 182 days may qualify you as a resident in that country.  Being outside of Ontario for more than 182 days may disqualify you for residency status or OHIP coverage.

Owning property in Florida can be surprisingly expensive.  Property tax for non-residents is high as is flood and hurricane insurance.  Pest control is another large expense along with year round pool or lawn maintenance.  For those with assets in the U.S. such as a home, there may be unexpected U.S. estate taxes upon death.

Health insurance is an importance consideration.  OHIP only covers a fraction of expenses to a maximum of $400 per day for emergency in-patient services.  Illness requiring hospitalization will likely cost more.

To save money on exchange rate and foreign transaction fees use a U.S. dollar credit card.  A Canada – U.S. phone plan can keep mobile phone calling and data plan charges to a minimum.

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