Travel insurance provides peace of mind, giving travelers a safety net in case things go wrong while away from home. Senior travel insurance can help elderly travelers relax and enjoy their journey, whether it’s relocating to a new home, going to a family reunion or finally taking that trip to Hawaii they’ve dreamed of for decades.
For seniors, the first step is to answer the question: “What is medical traveler insurance?” Essentially it provides coverage for travelers if they are hurt when away from home. The policies cover the duration of the trip and can include coverage for medical expenses such as emergency care at hospitals, physician charges, emergency dental costs and some transportation costs if a person is evacuated from a remote area.
Getting a good medical travel insurance policy is often the most important part of a trip. People should not confuse it with trip insurance, which helps people recover the loss of expenses such as tickets or hotels. Medical travel insurance can pay to return someone home in the event of an injury, illness, or in some cases natural or manmade disasters.
Medical travel insurance is often inexpensive but can save travelers tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars. It covers all the “what ifs” of travel not covered by standard trip insurance and can prevent an accident from becoming catastrophic.
Why Senior Travel Insurance Is Important
Many people decide to get medical travel insurance because it allows them to enjoy their trip better knowing they have coverage if something happens. This is especially important to seniors who may have chronic physical conditions, illnesses or less physical mobility due to age-related issues.
The nature of the trip also impacts the decision on whether to get senior travel insurance. A short flight to a nearby city to visit grandkids may seem less likely to involve any type of accident. But a trip that involves a lot of walking, biking, canoeing, or other physical activity – no matter the location – makes getting insurance a better idea.
It’s also important to work with a professional travel agent who can support travelers if something goes wrong, quickly fixing tough travel problems. People hire professionals in other areas of their lives – attorneys and financial planners, for example – but try to handle everything themselves when it comes to travel. In a crisis, having a professional to work with is invaluable.
Factors to Consider With Senior Travel Insurance
Before deciding to buy travel insurance, seniors should honestly assess their own physical health. The major factors to consider include:
- Current state of health and level of physical activity
- Type of activities planned for the trip
- Length of the trip
Those with chronic medical conditions and low levels of physical activity may want to consider senior travel insurance for a long trip that will involve a great deal of walking. That includes everything from walking tours of historic sites to hiking nature trails. A lengthy trip also is more enjoyable if the senior involved knows he has coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
Some of the other costs covered by medical travel insurance include:
- Emergency trips to the hospital due to an accident
- Seeing a physician because of illness.
- Emergency dental costs
- Emergency medical evacuation from a remote area and transport to a medical facility
- Transporting a body back home in the event of death
How Much Does Senior Travel Insurance Cost?
The price of travel insurance depends on the level of coverage, as well as the traveler’s age, state of residence, length and cost of trip, and destination, according to Forbes, which analyzed travel insurance costs and found that, on average, they cost about 7 percent to 9 percent of the total trip cost.
Senior travel insurance covers portions of the trip that are pre-paid and non-refundable. Seniors should always read a policy in great detail before deciding, as the level of coverage varies. Forbes recommended that travelers look for the following in their travel insurance.
- At least $150,000 in medical coverage for each person. This includes coverage for everything from ambulance service to X-rays, tests and medication.
- At least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. This covers transportation to a hospital, but also frequently covers transportation from one hospital to another in a situation where the second hospital has better facilities to treat the illness or injury.
- Coverage of pre-existing medical conditions. This requires what is known as a pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver. This waiver removes any exclusions in the policy for conditions the senior already has.
- Consider upgrading to a “cancel for any reason” policy. Most policies allow the traveler to cancel for specific reasons. The cancel for any reason policy does just that – seniors can cancel for whatever reason they like and still get most of the policy costs back.
It’s important to know that some medical travel Insurance are primary policies that provide direct coverage. Others are secondary and fill gaps in existing medical coverage. Secondary coverage is less expensive than primary coverage, but you must have an existing Primary Medical Insurance policy. Senior travel insurance can make the difference between an enjoyable trip or one where anxiety continues to nip at the back of the traveler’s mind. Although not needed in every case, it provides peace of mind for certain seniors, especially on long and potentially strenuous journeys.