It’s never too late to see the world. Seniors, more than ever, are planning bucket list vacations, taking cruises, and traveling to see family and friends. While the freedom to travel is a huge benefit to being retired, seniors can face increased health risks while traveling. This, combined with the uncertainty that comes with travel in general, makes researching and buying travel insurance a crucial component of your trip planning process.
Though it sounds complicated, don’t let the thought of buying travel insurance overwhelm you. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about senior travel insurance for those over 70 and 80 years old, including why it’s important to have travel insurance and how to choose the right travel insurance plan for your needs.
Travel insurance is recommended for all travelers, but it is especially important as you get older. Seniors are more likely to have a health issue while traveling and injuries may be more severe or complex, requiring medical attention. Though not limited to travelers over 70 and 80 years old, travel complications on any trip can occur and it is useful to have coverage in case of trip cancellation and interruption, transportation delays, lost or delayed baggage, rental car damage and other events that may occur.
Choosing a travel insurance plan can feel daunting at first, but it is easy to research and compare plan benefits and prices at TravelInsurance.com. It is important to research and compare plans, rather than just buying the first one offered to you, because coverage and pricing can vary significantly.
What Should Seniors Consider When Buying a Travel Insurance Policy?
If you are a senior buying a travel insurance policy, it is useful to consider all aspects of your trip. Will you be traveling abroad? Will you be renting a car? Is it possible that you might need to cancel your trip before your departure date? By considering the specifics of your trip, you will be able to find a travel insurance policy that meets your particular needs. Below we discuss a few considerations that are of importance to seniors when choosing a travel insurance policy.
A senior traveler is, unfortunately, more likely to experience a medical issue while traveling, making travel insurance an absolute necessity. Without insurance coverage, you may not receive access to the same medical care you would receive in your home country, and the cost of care could be very high. Medicare and private U.S. health insurance will likely not provide any coverage when you are outside of the U.S. (and certain private insurance plans have significant limitations even within the country). As a result, you will likely need to buy travel medical insurance to ensure you have sufficient coverage when you leave home.
Travel medical insurance typically covers urgent care, hospital stays, prescription drugs, emergency medical evacuation expenses, and repatriation costs. You can also buy a travel insurance plan that includes dental benefits.
In addition to potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical expenses, having travel insurance will also alleviate stress if you need medical care while abroad. Many travelers find it reassuring that they can call their travel insurance company in case of a medical emergency to discuss treatment options and coverage. This is especially helpful if you will be traveling to a country with a poor medical system or where you don’t speak the local language.
It is prudent for all travelers to have a travel insurance policy that includes medical coverage, but it is most important for seniors. The cost of receiving medical treatment without insurance could be prohibitive, so it is better to be safe and secure the coverage that you need before traveling.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Many seniors have chronic health conditions that may need attention while traveling. A pre-existing condition is typically defined as a medical condition with respect to which prescription medication was taken, you had doctor visits or hospitalizations or were otherwise treated for in the 60-180 days prior to purchasing the policy. Examples of common pre-existing conditions include allergies, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiac conditions.
Pre-existing conditions are typically excluded from travel insurance coverage. Thankfully, travel insurance companies often offer exclusion waivers that allow a pre-existing medical condition to be covered by your travel insurance policy. To be eligible for a pre-existing medical condition waiver (if available on a policy), the travel insurance coverage typically must be purchased within two to three weeks of making your first trip deposit and 100% of your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs must be insured by the policy. In addition, you must be medically able to travel at the time of purchase.
If you will be traveling with a pre-existing condition, it is important to make sure that your condition will not be excluded from coverage under your travel insurance policy. Be certain to buy a policy that offers a waiver for your condition and purchase the policy in a timely manner before leaving on your trip.
Some travel insurance providers will not cover travelers above a certain age. For instance, some policies are only offered to travelers 65 years old and younger. Other policies are not available to travelers over the age of 79. It is also important to know that the cost of travel insurance will increase as you get older. This is because seniors are more likely to need to file a claim, in part due to health-related events. For these reasons, it is important to compare available travel insurance policies to find the best policy for the best price.
Tip: When you compare and buy travel insurance on TravelInsurance.com for those over 70 and 80 years old, plans available for your age bracket will show up in the quote results considering you will enter your age into the quote form.
Trip Cancellations and Reimbursement
Trip cancellation coverage is an important part of travel insurance for seniors. Without travel insurance, you may have limited recourse if your trip is canceled. If you have significant pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs, it is critical to be covered for cancellations. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies will cover cancellations for the specific covered reasons such as:
- weather delays
- carrier (airport, train, ship) delays
- death, illness or injury of you or another person in your travel party
- natural disasters
- hospitalization or death of a family member
Make sure to read the details of your policy to understand the specifics of when you can expect to receive reimbursements and any exclusions that may apply.
If you think you might cancel your trip, especially if you might want to cancel due to worries about health or other matters that would not be considered a “covered reason”, it is wise to consider purchasing a cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) upgrade to your travel insurance policy.
A CFAR upgrade will allow you to cancel your trip for any reason at all, so long as you do so within the allotted time frame (usually at least 48-72 hours before your scheduled departure) and be reimbursed for a certain percentage (usually up to 75%) of your pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs. A CFAR upgrade must be purchased shortly after your initial trip deposit, so if you need to be able to cancel your trip for any reason, make sure that you research and buy a travel insurance policy and a CFAR upgrade right away.
The cost of a travel insurance policy for seniors depends on several factors, such as age, destination, length of stay, existing health issues, the number of travelers on the policy and the total cost of the trip. Age is a critical factor in determining the price of a travel insurance policy and you may notice that policies get more expensive the older that you are. Generally, you can expect a travel insurance policy to cost between 7% and 9% of the total trip cost. For those over 80 years old who require the most comprehensive plans, the cost may be higher. It is best to shop around to find the policy that best meets your particular travel needs.
How to Be Cost Efficient When Choosing a Senior Travel Insurance Plan
Comparison shopping is an important step when buying travel insurance. Compare plans and choose one that meets the specific needs of your trip and financial situation.
Reviewing the coverage limits, age restrictions, and pre-existing condition clauses for each plan is important to make sure you understand the policy that you are buying.
Do you already have an insurance policy? Perhaps a member of your family thought to include you in their travel insurance policy? Some policies can extend coverage to include parents or other senior family members.
Checking the details of your existing coverage can save you money when selecting a travel insurance policy so you don’t pay for duplicate coverage.
Reading reviews can be a helpful way to decide which travel insurance policy is right for you. Look for reviews of travel insurance companies to help determine which are reliable and pay claims on a timely basis. Testimonials from other travelers can help you make an informed decision.
Before buying any travel insurance policy, read through and understand all the coverage details. Carefully review any exclusions or limitations in coverage that may affect you. If anything is unclear, you should ask for clarification.
Be aware of which insurance benefits are most important to you, instead of buying unnecessary coverage. For instance, if you are going on a short trip without airfare or hotel costs, you may need very little trip cancellation coverage. If you are taking a three-week vacation to Africa and you have a complicated medical history, you may wish to buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy as well as a CFAR upgrade.
If you are a senior and planning a trip, know that traveling without proper insurance coverage is a risk. Don’t let unexpected events ruin your long-awaited vacation. TravelInsurance.com offers comprehensive travel insurance options for seniors at competitive prices.
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