Travel insurance can be particularly valuable to seniors, who generally experience more health issues than younger travelers. When preparing for a trip, individuals should consider plans that cover medical emergencies, as well as the following travel insurance offerings:
- Trip Cancellations. In addition to personal reasons, a trip may be canceled due to weather disturbances and other unforeseen circumstances that can leave travelers on the financial hook.
- Stolen Luggage. In addition to clothing, luggage may contain medicines, and other valuable items that travel insurance should cover.
- Preexisting Conditions. Those with preexisting medical conditions may need to purchase waivers in case their basic travel insurance doesn’t provide holistic coverage.
- Medical Emergencies. Because seniors are more subject to medical emergencies than younger travelers, they should secure full medical coverage that pays for potential transportation costs.
- Medical Evacuations. Medical coverage might not automatically pay for transportation, in the event an evacuation necessitates an emergency trip back home.
- Travel Advice/Emergency Assistance. In the event of a language barrier, senior travelers may need to make toll-free calls, in order to obtain medical advice in their native tongues.
Focus on the Fine Print
It is vital to thoroughly scrutinize policies, which often mandate the purchase of coverage at least 10 to 14 days before starting travel dates. Make sure that there is a free look period, with an option to cancel and receive a full refund. Other important fine print items include:
- Exceptions. No single insurance policy covers all expenses, so it’s wise to examine the exceptions listed in the fine print to learn about hidden additional costs.
- Exclusions. Exclusions restrict coverage in certain situations, such as self-inflicted injuries, trauma from extreme sports like bungee jumping, or losses incurred due to intoxication or criminal activity.
- Incomplete Documentation. When filing a claim, be sure to fill out the paperwork thoroughly and accurately. Failure to do so may result in delayed or canceled coverage.
According to Consumer Reports, online brokers offer advantages over travel agents or booking sites, when it comes to purchasing travel insurance because the former lets you compare various plans and choose the most suitable one. Online brokers also feature sales reps who can present sample policies and answer individual coverage questions.
Brokers to Consider
The following four popular online brokers top the list:
- InsureMyTrip. This site lets users compare hundreds of policies from 23 different carriers.
- TripInsuranceStore. This site offers side-by-side policy comparisons from ten different insurers.
- QuoteWright. Quotewright screens insurance companies before listing them, to provide an additional quality control layer. The site lists 12 insurance companies.
- Squaremouth. This site offers 93 policies from 23 providers and features thousands of customer reviews.
The following companies consistently offer highly-rated travel insurance offerings:
- Travel Guard Travel Insurance. In addition to offering standard cancellation coverage, this company features plans that cover preexisting conditions and full medical expenses. Users may tailor plans to meet their individual needs. This provider’s underwriter is National Union Fire Insurance Company, which boasts an AM Best rating of A, which is considered excellent.
- Travelsafe Travel Insurance. Travelsafe offers basic, classic, and classic plus full-featured plans, all of which offer both trip and medical coverage, with a full menu of options. This insurer has a BBB rating of A+.
- Allianz Travel Insurance. This provider covers domestic and international travel, including cruises. Coverage options include medical emergencies, trip cancellation, lost baggage, rental cars, and change fees. The company is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company, which has an A- rating, and by Jefferson Insurance Company, which has an A+ rating. Allianz has a BBB rating of A+.
The Bottom Line
Travel insurance costs typically range from 4% to 10% of a trip’s total cost. It’s important to remember that Medicare generally does not provide coverage outside the U.S. Finally, online brokers can help source the most suitable insurance for seniors.