Travel Insurance Tips for Seniors

April 15, 2010

Seniors on VacationOne of the best things about retirement is more free time in which you can travel. After you’ve selected the perfect destination, don’t forget the critical step of buying travel insurance.

Travelling without insurance or without adequate insurance can be a financial disaster. You never know what could happen while travelling and you need to make sure you protect yourself and your family by purchasing travel insurance.

Older Travelers Generally Pay More for Travel Insurance

Unfortunately, the older you get the riskier you are perceived by insurance companies to cover. In one investigation, the same trip insurance would cost an 80-year old 10 times as much as a 50-year-old. Even if you are in great health you are subject to increased fees.

How to Get Affordable Travel Insurance

While your insurance premiums will be higher than someone younger, if you give yourself plenty of time to research you can find the right policy for your particular trip. The more time you have to look the better chance you have of finding the right policy for yourself at the right price.

If you already have life insurance or another type of insurance, see if they offer travel insurance. They are already familiar with your medical history and may even be able to offer discounts.

Medjet Take Trips Not Chances

Make sure you compare several different insurers and policies to get the best price. This doesn’t mean the cheapest plan but the least expensive plan you can find that still offers adequate insurance coverage.

If you plan on travelling more than once a year, look into multi-trip policies. It may be more cost effective and will save you time.

There are online services that allow you to comparison shop easily. Kanetix* offers Canadians the ability to compare offers from several different insurers in the same place. Blue Cross Canada* also offers online quotes. Even if you’re not comfortable purchasing policies on the internet, use sites like this to get a general idea of the costs for your travel insurance and use this knowledge when taking to insurance agents.

What Insurance Policy Should You Choose?

When selecting your travel insurance be sure to choose the best one for you and your needs. The cheapest or even the most expensive may not be the best fit for you. Be sure to look at items like deductibles, maximum coverage and items that are not covered.

If you are back-packing around Europe with just a few clothes and inexpensive items you may not need to pay extra for luggage insurance. If you can easily afford a deductible you may choose a policy with a higher deductible that still covers you in the event of a medical emergency. Everyone’s needs are specific and you need to find the right plan for you.

Things That May Not be Covered

Pre-Existing Conditions

Be aware that any pre-existing conditions you have may not be covered or you may have to pay more for insurance coverage. If the condition is stable and controlled it will likely be covered but double-check the fine print.

Be careful to disclose all pre-existing conditions even though it will likely result in a higher fee. It’s better to pay the upfront cost than risk having medical bills that are not covered.

Seniors Skiing on Vacation

Potentially Dangerous Activities

If you are planning an active vacation of sky-diving, mountain climbing or skiing be sure your policy covers these activities.


If you take any medications, be sure to bring enough along with you for the entire trip and unexpected delays. Most insurance policies will not cover prescriptions while travelling since it is an expected cost rather than an unexpected cost.

Other Travel Insurance Benefits

Travel insurance does not just cover medical bills. If your policy includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance it will cover you if you are suddenly unable to travel. Some policies will also cover your losses in the event that your luggage is stolen. Again, carefully review which incidences would be covered by this type of insurance. Having travel insurance also gives you access to a hotline where you can get advice on travel emergencies and you can be directed to the best local hospitals.

Don’t Travel Without Insurance

No matter how expensive your coverage may be, do not travel without it. Having a medical issue or accident while travelling can result in thousands of dollars worth of bills. Sadly, if you can’t afford the proper coverage, you really can’t afford to travel.

By doing your research you should be able to find an affordable solution. If the cost is prohibitive consider changing your destination, activity, or your trip length so you will be fully covered.

Have you ever had trouble finding affordable insurance?

*Please note the companies mentioned in this articles is in no way endorsed by Impowerage. We urge you to carefully research your policy and read all the fine print.

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  • Madeleine Kolb

    Insurance is certainly essential hen you travel, but there’s another crucial thing to consider before you travel. That is the type and quality of health care in the country (or countries) to which you plan to travel. One reason I raise this is that the wife of someone at my last job traveled to China where she suffered a stroke. Under the best of circumstances, a person who has a stroke needs to get excellent, appropriate care immediately. These were not the best of circumstances. Ultimately, she was brought back to the U.S. and cared for here until she died.

    I know how bleak this sounds, and I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but the quality of health care is a real concern as are language differences and even cultural differences, such as having family bring meals to the patient rather than the hospital providing them.

  • Rich

    Great article, thanks

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