What to Know About Senior Travel Insurance
After studying the travel industry in college and then working in the travel industry for many years, I have heard my fair share of travel horror stories. The ones that I always feel the worst about hearing involve people with declined travel insurance, finding themselves thousands of dollars in debt because something unexpected happened while away. This is why I always recommend that travelers should purchase travel insurance, and this is especially important for seniors. Here are some options for senior travel insurance and why it is so important.
What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a product that can cover a range of problems that may arise while someone is traveling. These types of coverage can range from medical coverage to baggage protection. You pay a premium fee and then if something happens, the insurance company covers the cost. What the company covers depends on the level of coverage you have.
Within the world of travel insurance, there are companies that provide senior travel insurance. For coverage, like baggage loss, the age of the client will not have any effect on the premium. However, medical coverage, trip cancellation and trip interruption, can all cost more for senior citizens because with age comes a higher risk of a medical emergency. Some companies will not even provide coverage for people over a certain age.
The Purpose of Travel Insurance
Senior travel insurance is probably one of the best investments you can make as a senior traveler. With medical coverage, you will not have to pay any hospital bills if you become ill while traveling. Depending on the company your insurance is with, costs of having a family member come to you while you are sick and abroad is covered too. If you need to be transported back to your home country, that will be covered too.
If you purchase a trip cancellation and interruption insurance, the insurance company will pay for any money you lost from having to cancel a trip. Trip interruption insurance will cover any additional costs that arise because your trip was interrupted.
These are all very good reasons to use travel insurance. There is, however, a downside to purchasing travel insurance as a senior citizen and that is that it can be quite pricey. Due to your age, the insurance companies consider you to be at a higher risk of having an emergency while abroad. Just like car insurance, if you are a higher risk you pay a higher premium. Most insurance companies ask for your medical history before making a decision on whether they will insure you or not. It can be a hassle to provide your medical history to the insurance company.
Types of Travel Insurance
Up to this point, I have mentioned the types of insurance, but what is really included in these different types of insurance plans?
Medical Travel Insurance
Medical travel insurance covers the costs of the bills if you have a medical emergency while abroad. Medical travel insurance will cover the hospital visits as well as any prescription drugs you may need. It can also cover follow up doctor appointments, the costs of tests and even surgeries. If you are alone and need a family member to be with you while you recover in a country, then the insurance often covers their expenses. Finally, if you need to be airlifted back to your home country, often the medical travel insurance will cover this as well.
Baggage Loss or Damage
Bags are lost or ruined by airlines all the time. I’ve seen pictures of luggage that have been plastic wrapped back together after it was somehow shredded during transit. I’ve also heard stories of luggage being lost by the airlines. Airlines almost never take responsibility for damaging bags. This is why there is baggage insurance. This insurance will cover a certain amount to replace lost, stolen, or damaged baggage, as well as their contents. The coverage does have a limit on the value allowed to claim per item.
The only time that a tour company or airline will refund money for a canceled flight or tour is death. That is harsh, but it is the way it is. That is why having trip cancellation insurance is useful. If something comes up and you cannot go on your trip anymore, then you can cancel, and the insurance company will cover any money that would have been nonrefundable.
Some insurance companies will even cover the cost of the trip if you decide that you just do not want to go on it anymore. People change their minds and with trip cancellation insurance, you will still be paid back those nonrefundable portions if you change yours.
Trip interruption is usually packaged with trip cancellation insurance. Trip interruption insurance will cover any costs that occur if your trip is interrupted.
An example of this would be missing one of your connecting flights. It happens frequently where time given for a layover is not enough time to get through customs or recheck bags. Sometimes there might not be enough time to get from one gate to another. Sometimes there is a chance that you can miss your flight, having to pay for a new ticket. If it is late at night or the airline is busy, you may even have to book a hotel room for the night.
Without trip interruption insurance, all of these costs would come out of your pocket, but with it you have the peace of mind knowing that you will get all of that money back from the insurance company.
Finally, most insurance companies offer packages where you can combine all of the types of travel insurances listed above. It will cost less than trying to purchase them individually and it will all be under one policy number. Not only for seniors but for everyone, I think it is important to have travel insurance because it will help you have peace of mind when you travel.