US Seniors Travel Insurance: How to Stay Safe Overseas, at 65+ Years Old

“Life is like wine – it gets better with age.” That’s a popular old adage that certainly applies to international travel. Senior citizens nowadays are definitely living up to it, by embarking upon cruises, taking that long postponed trip of a lifetime, going on second honeymoons and generally exploring parts of the world that they always wished they could visit. In essence, not only is there nothing wrong with this, but it’s actually recommended. After all, with retirement comes more time to spare pursuing your hobbies. To boot, people in the U.S. now live longer, are healthier, happier, and overall more affluent. The increase of health and life expectancy in the United States over the 1990 to 1999 decade alone was dramatic. The average life span for U.S. citizens lengthened by over 30 years and 25 years of that improvement can be chalked up to public health improvements. So, then, where’s the problem with traveling abroad as a senior? One answer to that question comes from exploring US seniors travel insurance.

As is the case with any other type of insurance, it’s difficult to get a hold of affordable coverage when you’re suffering from a chronic disease such as diabetes or a heart condition. What’s more, travel insurance is complex and needs to cover for travel interruption, luggage, air travel, and health.

1. Can you get affordable insurance for traveling abroad as a senior?

The elderly are more likely to use travel insurance, which is basically why they also end up paying more for it. Of course, if your overall health t2topis good, you might have to pay less on your US seniors travel insurance – yet chances are you’re at least suffering from some minor chronic health issue that will up your premium costs. So, do you stand any chance at finding affordable travel coverage as a US senior? Yes, you do. Here are a few tips and tricks:

  • Buy travel insurance through your travel agent or your regular insurance agent. Both should be able to score you a good deal, based on your pre-existent relationship with them. To boot, it’s also a way of testing your tour operator: the good ones have established relationships with insurers, which you should be able to benefit from.
  • Contact the American Association of Retired Persons to ask about medical coverage abroad, which can supplement your Medicare plan. Make sure to check out their message boards to ask questions and read about similar experiences from fellow senior travelers.
  • ‘Window shop’ online, via insurance comparison sites. Make sure to take all the variables and details into consideration. Some policies cover pre-existing conditions, while others don’t. The same goes for sports injuries, in the case of senior citizens and overseas travel.

2. Why do you need US seniors travel insurance?

What if you break your leg in Slovenia? How are you going to fly back home to nurse your injury? What about coming down with the flu three days before your scheduled trip to Paris? What happens if your cruise ship can’t leave your city, due to dramatic weather conditions such as a hurricane?

The answer and only viable solution to all the above scenarios is US seniors travel insurance. It’s definitely worth the money, since your regular Medicare or Medicaid health coverage will only pay for healthcare expenses you incur in the United States. Moreover, seniors who are insured via HMOs need to check out whether or not emergency healthcare outside the HMO’s service area is covered and comes with deductibles. Some HMOs don’t cover for overseas medical expenses, which is why travel insurance comes in particularly handy for some.

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs with the U.S. Department of State, evacuations for medical reasons (such as the broken knee situation described above) can come to cost as much as $10,000! Needless to say, premium costs on insurance for traveling abroad as a senior are far lower than that. Aside from healthcare costs, travel insurance also covers trip cancelation costs. Prepaid tours or cruises often come with hefty penalties for canceling and these penalties also greatly exceed the cost of coverage.

3. Is expensive travel insurance ever really useful?

Some sources, including Consumer Reports will tell you that travel insurance for senior citizens is unnecessary and many will frown upon recommending it. Indeed, the fact of the matter is that most travel insurance providers regard elderly citizens as high-risk members. The premium costs for an overseas travel policy incurred by a 70 year-old will usually exceed those that a 50 year-old needs to pay. This is true even if the older person is healthier or more physically fit than the younger one – travel insurance can increase the cost of your trip by as much as 10 per cent.

As such, if you find yourself traveling a lot as a senior, you might want to consider paying for a travel insurance membership plan. Perhaps the best part about such plans is the fact that they come with emergency evacuation benefits, all for the price of a couple hundred dollars each year. Such multi-trip packs often come with much lower age limits than regular insurance for traveling abroad as a senior.

4. What factors should you take into account before buying US seniors travel insurance?

If you’re over 65 and are looking to purchase insurance for traveling abroad as a senior, there are several factors that you need to take into account:

  • Overall health. As mentioned above, it doesn’t matter that much if you’re physically fit. As a senior, you will still end up paying more than a younger person. However, the overall state of your health matters when it comes to figuring out how much coverage you should take out. If you know you’re suffering from some pre-existing conditions, it’s best to take out a more expensive insurance plan.
  • Trip duration. Longer trips increase the risk of injury, so the longer your stay abroad, the more comprehensive your insurance plan should be.
  • Type of travel. Consider any high-risk activities, such as sports. Take into account the type of transportation you will be using – car fares, for instance, will increase your risks of illness and injury. Last, but not least, some trips will require you to take out coverage that also accounts for cancelations.