No matter the age, traveling will always be an exciting moment in a person’s life. However, frequent travelers know that traveling isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
Traveling comes with its fair share of risks and dangers, especially when traveling in unknown territory for the first time. From accidents to medical emergencies, it is important that anyone who travels feels financially secure in case an unfortunate event happens.
In this article, we will be delving into travel insurance for senior citizens—things to watch out for and remember when getting the perfect travel insurance for older adults.
Why Is Travel Insurance Important?
According to the World Economic Forum, the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to double, up to 1.6 billion, for the next three decades. This is a telling sign of the importance people have put in maintaining health and wellness. And it also poses a challenge to society and governments.
With more senior citizens reaching retirement age, traveling is constantly at the top of their to-do lists, whether temporarily or permanently. Many senior citizens looking up the best states to retire and the best countries to live in post-retirement.
When traveling, seniors should be prepared for medical emergencies. However, there are many things senior health insurance doesn’t cover, including medical care costs outside of the United States. That's where senior travel insurance becomes so important for senior citizens looking to travel inter-state or outside their home countries.
Travel insurance is even more important to senior citizens because they are the most prone to accidents and illnesses. Having travel insurance covers medical costs and other incidental costs specific to traveling individuals, like baggage loss or trip cancellations.
Travel insurance acts as a safety cushion to any medical accidents, emergencies, and illnesses, depending on the senior citizen’s insurance policy coverage.
RELATED CONTENT: Travel Tips for Seniors and the Family Caregiver
Considerations When Choosing a Travel Insurance Plan
Senior citizens reviewing travel insurance options for their next trip may want to consider the following important features:
Different medical insurance policies have different coverage, depending on the premium paid. Some of the general medical coverage inclusions that you must look for in travel health insurance as a senior citizen are:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Emergency dental expenses
- Medical evacuation
- Hospitalization cash allowance
- Body repatriation in case of death
- Accidental death
- Permanent disablement
- COVID-19 coverage
Some insurance providers require medical checkup results for those 45 years and older availing of travel insurance. While this varies by insurer, older adults should not discount the importance of getting regular doctor checkups even without the need for travel insurance.
According to Gerald Lombardo, CEO at cauZmik, “COVID-19 coverage became a standard inclusion in most travel insurance policies during and post-pandemic because most countries require individuals to be insured if they are infected with COVID-19 in their host country. Insurance companies saw a rise in profits because people are now scared to travel abroad without a comprehensive travel insurance policy.”
Limitations to preexisting conditions
Generally, travel insurance companies do not include pre-existing medical conditions in their medical coverage. For example, senior citizens suffering from dementia may find themselves in the following situations:
- Getting denied a travel insurance
- Paying significantly higher premiums
- Purchasing travel insurance with an explicit exception of reimbursement or coverage for any dementia-related cases
This applies to other preexisting conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and other medical conditions.
However, you can negotiate with your insurer for a medical condition exclusion waiver. This means you are still insured with the preexisting medical condition you have, subject to conditions and requirements. Also, there are insurance providers who allow coverage for senior citizens with preexisting medical conditions as long as they have a U.S. health plan like Medicare.
Personal liability allows senior citizens to be covered for any amount they may incur in case they are involved in any third-party damage. This includes bodily injury or property damage to a third party. Personal liability also covers legal and compensation costs.
Stolen or destroyed luggage
The Guardian reported that mishandled luggage in airports doubled globally in 2022. With this increasing trend of luggage loss and mishandling, make sure your travel insurance policies include reimbursement of destroyed, lost, or stolen luggage.
Most insurance policies cap reimbursement limits for baggage policies. So avoid putting costly items on your luggage (like laptops or jewelry). If you do need to travel with these items, make sure they are included in your travel insurance policy.
Trip delays and cancellations
Trip delays and cancellations are inevitable. So, your travel insurance policy should include reimbursement for trip delays and cancellations so you don't lost your trip costs. However, most types of travel insurance do not cover all trip delays and cancellations.
The time delay and cause for trip reimbursements differ by insurance policy. So reading the fine print on exclusions and exceptions is necessary, not only for trip cancellations but for the entire insurance policy as well.
RELATED CONTENT: How to Travel Comfortably and Safely as a Senior
Is There an Age Limit for Travel Insurance?
There’s no age limit when buying travel insurance. In fact, there are travel insurances specific for seniors aged 60 years old and above, depending on the insurance policy set by the insurer.
Tim White, Founder of milepro says, “The catch, however, in senior citizen’s cases is that insurance is priced based on risk—and the risk for seniors who are traveling is significantly higher than those who are younger, so premiums for travel insurance increase the older a person is.”
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost for Senior Citizens?
According to Forbes, the average cost of travel insurance for a senior citizen per trip is around $499. Depending on the insurance you choose and your coverage, you can get some travel insurance for cheaper.
If the insured is a retired person with a year-long travel plan, consider getting an annual travel insurance policy. This could be considerably more affordable than getting individual travel insurance per single trip.
Travel insurance is not cheap, but it doesn’t compare to the cost of medication and hospitalization in medical emergencies, especially during international travel. Senior citizens should be attentive in choosing the best travel insurance policy that fits their needs and conditions, from adequate medical coverage to preexisting medical conditions.
About the Author
Anthony Martin, CEO and Founder at Choice Mutual. Nationally licensed life insurance agent with 10+ years of experience. Official Member at Forbes Finance Council. Obsessed with finances, building tech and collaborating with other successful entrepreneurs.