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Seniors Travel Insurance

While many seniors enjoy traveling as they get older because they have newly freed-up time to do so, it can get more complicated than traveling when you’re younger.

As you get older, you may fall victim to thieves or your health may impeded your plans. That’s why it’s more important than ever to invest in travel insurance. It’s important to note that Medicare does not typically provide medical coverage outside of the United States. The cases where it does are extremely limited. So, if you are traveling abroad, you will want to seriously consider getting travel insurance.

What is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is insurance that can cover medical coverage, trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage, as well as deal with other issues that may arise. The cost of travel insurance is in addition to the cost of your trip. While it is something that is not mandatory, it is often advised for those 65 and older.

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

While you may envision a hassle-free trip free of any problems, we all know life can happen at any time and throw as a curve ball. Travel insurance can make dealing with those curve balls a bit easier. Here’s a look at some common scenarios where travel insurance will come in handy:

  • Your reoccurring condition returns. You were perfectly healthy when you made your travel plans six months ago. A week before your trip, your reoccurring medical condition decides to return. Perhaps you begin your trip and that same health problem returns. What do you? Making any changes to your itinerary is going to be costly unless you purchase a pre-existing condition waiver. The policy on what a pre-existing condition waiver will cover varies from company to company. Typically you can protect your travel investment and be covered if you need emergency medical treatment while you’re away.
  • Medical coverage. While a pre-existing condition waiver can help with illnesses due to a pre-existing condition, medical coverage can protect you if you suddenly get sick.
  • Medical evacuation. Not to be confused with medical coverage, medical evacuation will pay the transportation costs needed to get you back home should you need to leave your vacation due to medical reasons.
  • Baggage coverage. If your luggage is lost or stolen, baggage coverage will cover the cost of what is missing.
  • Financial default coverage. These days a company can be in business on a Monday and shut down by Friday. In order to protect yourself and the money you paid for the trip, get financial default coverage. This will reimburse you any money you paid to a travel agent that closes because of financial issues.

When Can I Buy Travel Insurance?

It’s advised to buy travel insurance when you make the initial deposit on your trip. But, you can typically purchase it up to the day before you leave and it will still be valid. There are, of course, some companies where this is not the case.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

The cost will vary depending on your trip and length of stay. On average the cost of travel insurance is anywhere from 5 to 8 percent of the total cost of the trip.

Things to Consider Before Buying Travel Insurance

As with anything, you need to read the fine print before purchasing travel insurance. While the benefits of travel insurance cannot be argued, you want to make sure you are getting everything you think you’re paying for, so you’re not left in the lurch.

  • Ask about exceptions. If a travel insurance carrier tells you everything is covered, be skeptical. No insurance policy covers everything under every circumstance. Ask for a specific list of the items that are not covered.
  • Ask about exclusions. This is different than exceptions because exclusions can cap coverage in certain situations. For example, if you take the risk of going skydiving and get break your leg, your travel insurance may not cover any costs associated with that event but may cover the costs if you were simply sight-seeing and got hurt.

Although many companies allow you to buy travel insurance up to one day before you leave, there are others that may require you to purchase it 10 to 14 days before your trip. The best advice is to not wait until the last minute when it comes to travel insurance so that you don’t miss the vital coverage that you may need.

Where Can I Get Travel Insurance?

If you book your trip through a travel agent, he or she will likely refer a company or broker you can contact. You can also do your own research through an online broker if you want to compare coverage and cost.

Regardless of which avenue you choose, here’s a look three of the top insurers when it comes to travel insurance for seniors:

  • Travel Guard Travel Insurance – A perk here is that you can build your own plan so that you’re solely paying for the coverage you want, not scenarios that don’t pertain to you or your travel plans.
  • Travelsafe Travel Insurance – This company also offers many options as well as a basic, classic, and classic with trip coverage plans. You can find the one that best suits your trip and your budget.
  • Allianz Travel Insurance – Allianz provides both domestic and international travel insurance plans. Besides the three plans offered by Travelsafe Travel Insurance, Allianz also offers a fourth plan called essential.

No matter which company you decide to go with, you should ask about the following:

  • High age limits (at least 70)
  • High medical coverage (at least $50,000)
  • Pre-existing condition coverage
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Hospital choice in case of medical evacuation

Do your homework and read reviews about various companies when you’re considering buying travel insurance. Be sure to choose one that not only has a solid reputation but will provide you with the coverage you need.

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