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Travel Insurance for Seniors After a Pandemic: What Do You Need to Know?

Retirement isn’t the end of the road — it’s the start of an entirely new journey that can lead seniors to new cities, new countries, and even new continents. But like any journey, you’ll want to embark on new travels with the peace of mind that you’ll be safe in the case of an emergency, medical or otherwise. So, how can seniors travel safely now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted?

The truth is, travel after a pandemic is much like travel before a pandemic, just with additional safety precautions. One such precaution that any senior should consider is travel insurance. Travel insurance for seniors helps protect both your finances and your health while you’re away from home and can even help get you back to the U.S. safely if something were to happen abroad.

Here’s what anyone over 60, including travel lovers in their 70s and 80s, needs to know about travel insurance for seniors, as well as how to avoid common post-pandemic travel concerns.

Travel insurance as you age

So, what are the benefits of senior citizen travel insurance? Travel insurance specifically for seniors accounts for the fact that older people are 60% more susceptible to injuries like broken bones, so it provides medical and evacuation coverage to keep you safe while you travel, no matter what.

As you age, travel insurance serves as a backup plan if you fall ill or take a tumble, lose your personal belongings or medication, or even need to cancel unexpectedly. Consider how different age groups use insurance, from international travel to domestic travel insurance for seniors.

Travel insurance for over 60s

What are the potential risks for travelers over 65, and how can travel insurance help? For travelers 65 and up, travel insurance protects against unexpected hiccups, such as last-minute cancellations, scheduled airline failure, and even medical emergencies that stem from pre-existing conditions.

Travel insurance for over 60s can provide up to a 100% reimbursement for unforeseen circumstances, like cancellations or medical emergencies. Even more, travel insurance for over 65 with pre-existing medical conditions can provide high-quality care if you fall ill while abroad.

Can companions also be covered under a travel insurance policy? Yes! Companion care is a benefit provided by many travel insurance for over 60s policies that will cover the costs associated with a companion who assists in medical care or who travels to escort you or your family home.

Travel insurance for over 70s

A common question among senior travelers is can I get travel insurance if I’m over 70 and have health problems? The answer is yes. Travel insurance for over 70 with pre-existing conditions is prevalent and does not need to be expensive to provide peace of mind.

Instead, travel insurance for older people in their 70s often accounts for many who will have health problems and includes provisions to provide medical care and evacuate the individual via helicopter or other transportation should better medical care be necessary elsewhere.

Travel insurance for over 80s

You might be wondering, what is the cutoff age for travel insurance for senior citizens? The short answer is, there isn’t one. While it’s true some travel insurance companies may charge a higher premium for older travelers, others like GoReady provide insurance no matter the age.

One thing to be aware of with travel insurance for over 80 is that companion care is applicable here, too. This coverage protects the health and finances of a family member or caregiver who attends the trip with you. It will also make the carer eligible for cancellation coverage if you cancel a trip due to poor health.

Happy senior female international traveler looking with tenderness into the eyes of her husband as they prepare to go on vacation

International travel insurance for seniors

Overseas travel insurance for seniors has become a hot topic since more countries have begun allowing travel to and from the United States. Now that older people can travel abroad once more, what should they know about international travel insurance for seniors?

What issues do seniors face when traveling abroad?

Older travelers will face the same issues traveling abroad as they would at home, but without the comforts of having their usual doctor or surgeon on speed dial. Medical emergencies while traveling are the primary cause of unexpected travel costs for senior citizens.

However, it’s not just a surprise fall or heart attack that can dampen travel plans. Overseas travel insurance for seniors can protect against financial despair in the case of travel cancellation, travel delay, and even baggage delay.

What coverage do you need?

Travel insurance for seniors is offered to protect older travelers from the unexpected — whatever that may be. For some, that may be protection for emergency medical expenses. For others, it may be coverage for trip interruption caused by pandemic restrictions or the loss of a friend.

1. Trip Cancellation

Trip cancellation is a must for international travel insurance for seniors. There are several reasons why a senior citizen might need to cancel a trip, from the birth of a new grandchild to the loss of an old friend. If you must cancel a trip before even embarking, insurance can help reimburse the cost.

Not to mention, the evolving COVID-19 pandemic means that travel plans can’t be set in stone for seniors or anyone else for that matter. Sudden flight cancellations and frequent flight delays paired with unexpected positive rapid tests make trip cancellation coverage incredibly valuable.

2. Travel Medical

Travel medical insurance is necessary for seniors to protect older travelers against emergency medical expenses, from last-minute stitches to critical care for a heart attack. Unfortunately, your domestic health insurance, such as Medicare, may not cover you if you seek medical care outside of the U.S.

Without your typical health insurance, you will pay for all emergency medical expenses out of pocket. In addition, medical treatment may be more expensive internationally, and without the help of your insurance company to navigate care costs or the language barrier, debt can amount quickly. In comparison, travel medical insurance helps seniors find treatment and alleviate financial concerns.

3. Emergency Evacuation

Emergency evacuation is something no senior wants to think about, but medical evacuation insurance is crucial for older people traveling abroad. Emergency medical travel insurance for seniors can save you time, money, and potentially your life if you cannot receive adequate care at your current location.

Beyond a medical evacuation, international travel insurance for seniors also protects older travels in a natural disaster or terrorist attack. If catastrophe breaks loose internationally, travel insurance can help you return to the United States safely and quickly.

Annual travel insurance for seniors

From trip interruption to trip cancellation, travel insurance for the elderly can be time-consuming (and confusing) when spread across multiple trips from trip interruption to trip cancellation. However, as opposed to single-trip insurance, annual travel protection covers all of your travel within 365 days, so you’re set to jet multiple times per year.

Who needs annual travel insurance?

Anyone who plans to travel multiple times in one year should consider annual travel insurance.Sometimes referred to as “multi-trip” insurance, annual travel insurance provides coverage everytime you travel away from home, so long as you return home before beginning your next vacation.

Rather than customize your travel insurance each time you plan a trip, establish annual travel insurance that accounts for your specific conditions, such as the need for extensive travel medical coverage, for the entire year. Then, your insurance will be ready to go next time you travel.

Will your age affect your eligibility for travel insurance? Perhaps. Many preferred annual plans do increase in price as the age of the traveler increases. However, with an increase in price also comes the ability to purchase unique upgrades to craft annual coverage that best suits your needs.

What does annual travel insurance for seniors cover?

Annual travel insurance for seniors covers more than one trip within 12 months, meaning seniors can take as many vacations throughout the year as they wish. Sure, it’s possible to take out individual single-trip insurance policies for each trip — but the costs involved with multiple policies seem silly when you can save money with an annual, multi-trip policy.

Annual medical travel insurance for seniors has the same coverage as single-trip insurance, but that coverage is around the clock with added peace of mind. Annual travel insurance can cover everything from emergency medical care and evacuations to lost luggage or stolen medication. Plus, seniors are automatically covered for last-minute trips, like visiting an ill friend or relative.

Travel insurance for seniors with pre-existing medical conditions

There’s a running joke that travel insurance for seniors with pre-existing medical conditions should just be travel insurance for seniors since most older travelers will be vacationing with at least one medical condition. Luckily, you can still be insured, regardless of medical history.

How do you get back to the United States if you have an emergency medical condition? For example, suppose the acute onset of a pre-existing condition was to force-stop your vacation in a neighboring country. In that case, emergency evacuation travel insurance can help transport you to the nearest American hospital and connect you with your doctor.

If your condition were to worsen an entire continent over, emergency evacuation travel insurance can transport you to the nearest adequate medical facility to be stabilized. If your medical situation allows, you can arrive back to the U.S. on a regular commercial carrier once stable.

What counts as a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is any illness, injury, or diagnosed medical condition that caused an individual to seek treatment before purchasing a travel insurance policy. An insurer may review changes to an individual’s medical status 60 to 180 days before the policy was purchased to confirm the condition was pre-existing.

When it comes to travel insurance for the elderly with pre-existing conditions, the most common include degenerative diseases like arthritis and cardiac conditions. The types of illnesses a travel insurance provider may consider pre-existing for seniors include but are not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Back pain or joint problems
  • Chronic illness, including cancer
  • Respiratory issues, including asthma
  • Heart conditions, including heart disease
  • Circulatory issues, including stroke and high blood pressure

How do you get a waiver for a pre-existing medical condition?

While most travel insurance policies include medical coverage, certain policies may require a “pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver” to compensate or reimburse travelers for medical expenses or nonrefundable travel costs brought on by a pre-existing illness or injury. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to obtain a waiver for travel insurance for older people.

  1. You must be medically (and physically) capable of traveling on the day you purchase your travel insurance.
  2. In most cases, you must purchase your insurance within 14 days of the first dollar you spend towards the trip.
  3. If you are medically stable to travel and have already purchased travel insurance, most companies will not charge extra for a waiver or impose an age limit.
  4. Should a claim arise, your travel insurance company may review your medical status from 60 to 180 days before the policy is purchased or ask specific questions to confirm the pre-existing condition.

It’s best to buy your travel insurance immediately after booking your trip (or putting down a deposit), so your policy can include the waiver for your pre-existing condition.

What conditions are not eligible for a waiver?

There are specific travel insurance exclusions for senior citizens with pre-existing medical conditions. Here’s a list of pre-existing conditions that are not eligible for a waiver.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Illness or injury related to alcohol or drug abuse

While some travel insurance companies have a pandemic plan, an illness like COVID cannot be considered a pre-existing condition. Trip cancellation or interruption due to COVID would be classified under general travel medical insurance.

Senior happy couple taking selfie on cruise ship with harbor background

Cruise insurance for seniors

No one plans to lose their bags or get sick on vacation, let alone on a cruise, but it happens nearly every day. From unexpected medical emergencies to family emergencies back home, seniors without cruise insurance can spend all their retirement savings just to get back to the U.S.

The best travel plans for seniors account for the nuances that accompany cruise vacations, such as the airfare and other non-refundable costs associated with the cruise itself. Here’s why a solid travel insurance policy can beat out the insurance offered by the cruise line.

What is cruise insurance?

As the name might imply, cruise insurance is a type of travel insurance policy that applies to a cruise vacation, from a riverboat trip down the Rhine to a multi-island trip through the Caribbean. Most cruise lines offer their own cruise insurance to protect the cost of the trip and moderate medical coverage and protection for lost baggage or medication.

What does cruise insurance cover?

Cruise insurance is often limited by the cruise line developing the policy; however, that’s not to say that policies purchased from a cruise provider are necessarily bad. According to Forbes, the best cruise insurance coverage typically includes emergency medical expenses. This is especially important for international cruises, as major health insurance like Medicare is unavailable abroad.

Aside from medical attention, a cruise travel insurance policy will also include coverage for lost personal items. So, if you embark on a 10-day sail across the sea just to learn that the ship lost your baggage, you will be compensated. Likewise, many policies also include coverage for lost medication and other medical items that are required by seniors, such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.

What doesn’t cruise insurance cover?

Cruise insurance covers costs within a range of dates, not individually components of travel. This can occasionally work in the favor of travelers, who can still receive coverage for missed or canceled connecting flights, so long as the flights were scheduled to occur within the policy’s date range.

However, not all cruise line insurance will provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, which can substantially impact seniors. Compared to cruise travel insurance offered by a travel agency, which offers waivers for pre-existing conditions, traditional cruise line insurance may not compensate or reimburse travelers for medical expenses brought on by a pre-existing illness or injury.

What is the best travel insurance for seniors?

The best travel insurance for seniors truly depends on the circumstances that surround your trip. For example, will you be traveling overseas or to the next state? Will you be traveling numerous times or just this once, and do you have any pre-existing medical conditions that could delay travel plans?

Travel insurance for older people is a must, but not just any coverage provider will have senior citizens’ best interests (or their budget) at heart. GoReady is a trusted insurance provider for travelers of all ages — yes, even senior citizens — that can help you freely explore the world post-pandemic without unnecessary stress or unexpected financial burdens.

With no exuberant hikes on travel insurance rates for seniors or special qualifications for older travelers, GoReady is the number one choice for senior citizens who are ready to travel. So whether you’re traveling to Canada or Cancun, get a quote for your next vacation today.

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