If you're planning a domestic or international trip, you'll want to consider purchasing travel insurance. As a precaution, travel insurance can cover unexpected trip delays, baggage loss, or more serious and costly issues such as emergency medical care or being airlifted after an injury. You can fully enjoy your trip knowing you'll be covered should any emergency arise!
In this guide, we'll go over the basics of travel insurance, including pricing, coverage recommendations, and our favorite providers.
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
It's a good idea to get travel insurance for unexpected situations that may arise during your travels. Instead of having to pay significant out-of-pocket costs for an emergency medical procedure or losing your personal belongings, you can get travel insurance, which can help reimburse you for certain costs and offer peace of mind. Seniors who are at higher risk for health issues should consider adding travel insurance, as well as those who plan to travel for a longer duration or internationally.
FYI: Since we're on the topic of insurance, head to our insurance guide to learn about other types of coverage you might need.
Recommended Coverage for Seniors Travel Insurance
Most travel insurance plans offer standard coverages such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage delays, and emergency medical transportation, along with optional add-ons like accidental death and dismemberment and car rental insurance. It's important for older adults with health concerns to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy with high medical insurance coverage or medical evacuation assistance.
Fun Fact: The global travel insurance market is estimated to reach $119.31 billion by 2030.1
We'll go over some of the main types of coverage we recommend for seniors below. Keep in mind that some coverages may already be included in your policy based on the travel insurance plan you choose.
- Accidental death and dismemberment: Should you pass away due to an accident or experience a dismembering injury, your beneficiaries will receive certain benefits.
- Baggage delay: This type of coverage provides reimbursement for the cost of purchasing essential items while your baggage is being returned to you. Check with your insurance provider to see what the minimum delay hours are.
- Trip interruption: If a family member passes away or your trip gets interrupted for other reasons, your provider may reimburse you for the cost of your nonrefundable trip with this coverage.
- Preexisting conditions waiver: This is an add-on coverage that provides peace of mind for older adults with a preexisting medical condition. Usually, the coverage for this waiver would need to be purchased at a time when you were deemed “medically able to travel.”
- Emergency medical coverage: If you're traveling and need emergency medical attention, this coverage can come in handy. Some travel insurance policies that offer emergency medical coverage may cover surgery, exams, or even emergency dental issues up to a limit.
- Cancellation: You can add this coverage to your plan to provide peace of mind in the event that you need to cancel your trip for any non-covered reason.
Did You Know: In most cases, Medicare coverage outside the United States is fairly limited. So, if you are traveling abroad, you may want to consider getting travel insurance.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost for Seniors?
On average, you should set aside roughly 4 to 12 percent of the total cost of your trip for travel insurance costs.2 The cost of travel insurance also varies depending on a number of factors:
- Duration of the trip
- Your age and health status
- Your state of residence/where you purchased the policy
- Coverage level
- Trip budget
- The number of travelers on the policy
- Optional coverages such as car rental insurance, emergency evacuation, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage
Did You Know: If you're traveling and looking for air, bus, and rail discounts, check out our list of senior discounts to help you save on your next trip!
Ways to Save on Travel Insurance
To save on travel insurance, we recommend the following tips:
- Compare travel insurance quotes. Be sure to compare quotes among different providers to find the best travel insurance package for your needs.
- Check the issue age. Some travel insurance policies have an age limit, so if you're over the age of 65, double-check the provider's issue age. If you have a preexisting health condition, check to see if your provider offers a preexisting condition waiver or other coverage.
- Don't delay. You typically can't purchase a travel insurance policy after your travels begin. Plan ahead and make sure you purchase a policy well in advance. This way, you'll have time to compare quotes and find the best package for your needs.
- Don't overspend. While it's important to choose a plan with robust coverage, you probably don't need to purchase every optional coverage available. Choose the coverage that you want, consider the provider's recommendations, and find a plan that works for your budget.
- Get more coverage for longer trips. If you're planning an international trip, you may want to look into more substantial coverage limits to protect yourself and your loved ones. This may include buying additional travel medical insurance if you're far away from your home country.
- Purchase directly through a travel insurance company. While it's convenient to book flights, accommodations, and travel insurance at the same time through a booking service website, it can be more expensive. We recommend purchasing your plan directly from a travel insurance provider, or working with a travel agent if needed, to save money.
- Bundle your insurance. Consider bundling your insurance for multiple trips, or choose annual plans if you are a frequent traveler and want to pay a lower premium.
- Group discounts. If you're traveling with a group of family members, you may be able to get a group discount to save on your travel insurance costs.
- Double-check your coverage and policy. Make sure you read the entirety of your policy, including any exclusions listed in the fine print. We also recommend making sure the standard or main coverages are available, including baggage delays, trip cancellation or interruption, and medical expenses.
When Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
When it comes to travel insurance, it's best to be an early bird! We recommend purchasing your plan at least one month in advance, though some insurance providers recommend purchasing it no later than 15 days before your trip. This should give you ample time to research and select your policy. You can still purchase a travel insurance policy closer to the start of your trip; however, it will likely cost more, so we recommend purchasing further in advance if possible.