Retirement is an exciting time in which many seniors choose to spend their time exploring and traveling. Having travel insurance can ensure that you have a worry-free trip abroad by protecting you from baggage loss, medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and more. Seniors who travel frequently can especially benefit from finding the best travel insurance. 

In this blog, we’ll share information about what to look for in travel insurance as an older traveler so you can focus on seeing the sights without worry.

Key takeaways:

  • Seniors who travel may have concerns about health coverage, trip cancellations and interruptions, and lost baggage. Travel insurance can help with these issues.

  • It’s important to shop around and compare different travel insurance policies that include aspects that you need, including coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, emergency evacuation, and travel delays.

What is travel insurance?

Like other types of insurance, travel insurance covers you financially in the event of certain unplanned events while you’re traveling. It provides protection for many issues that can arise during your trip, including:

  • Trip cancellation and missed connections

  • Medical insurance

  • Rental car coverage

  • Emergency medical evacuation or security evacuation 

  • Lost baggage coverage

  • Travel delay coverage

  • Money to beneficiaries in case of serious injury or death

  • Personal liability

While travel insurance isn’t just for seniors, older people are more likely to have medical concerns while abroad. It’s important to address these concerns with both health insurance and/or travel insurance.

Common concerns for senior travelers

There are a few age-related concerns that seniors may have while traveling. Older adults with health conditions, for example, may have more challenges with tiring trip delays. Furthermore, losing baggage could mean the loss of important medications. Aside from health factors, here are some other things seniors may have on their mind while traveling:

  • Traveling with mobility devices like wheelchairs and walkers

  • Access to round-the-clock emergency assistance in a familiar language

  • Coverage for multiple companions  

Finding travel insurance that suits the needs of older adults can help bring a sense of peace. If you need to cut your trip short or get compensated for goods that were lost, you know that you’re covered. 

Does Medicare cover health insurance while traveling?

Original Medicare coverage while traveling

While Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover care needed while traveling internationally, some Medicare Supplement plans cover foreign travel emergencies. Coverage limits depend on the plan you purchase. 

If you have Original Medicare (with or without a Medicare Supplement plan), you can see doctors while traveling domestically. This is because Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement don’t have network restrictions, and over 90% of US doctors accept Medicare.

Medicare Advantage coverage while traveling

Medicare Advantage plans work a little differently. These plans provide coverage for specific networks of doctors, and those networks are generally local. With Medicare Advantage PPO plans, you can receive coverage for out-of-network doctors, but you’ll generally pay more for your care. Some Medicare Advantage plans provide some coverage while traveling internationally, but not all. If this is important to you, let your Medicare agent know when choosing a plan to ensure it’s factored into your decision. 

Factors to consider when choosing travel insurance for seniors

It’s a good idea to shop around and compare your options for travel insurance before settling on one policy. You may find that there’s another plan that fits your needs better. Pick a few different policies that look good to you and then check for the following.

Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: There’s a possibility that seniors may need to cut a trip short due to a health condition or injury. Make sure your travel insurance can reimburse you for cancellations and interruptions, like illness or a family emergency.

Travel delay coverage: Long travel delays can be quite exhausting and stressful for some seniors. Check insurance policies to see if you can be reimbursed for anything you spend money on due a delay. These expenses could include accommodations, meals, and transportation.

24/7 customer support and assistance: Some travel insurance policies include 24/7 emergency assistance services like medical referrals, cash transfers, and translation services. This can be especially useful if you’re looking for wheelchair rentals or other accessible devices in a new country.  

Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions: If you have a chronic condition, like heart disease, it may be in your best interest to purchase travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions. This aspect of the policy ensures that you’re covered for any health-related costs if you experience complications abroad.

Coverage for lost or delayed baggage, including medications and medical equipment: Lost and delayed possessions can be more than just a nuisance for seniors. Lost baggage containing important medical documentation, medications, and equipment could be dangerous for your health. Coverage for lost or delayed baggage can help you recover or replace materials quickly.

Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage: This travel insurance component is important for everyone. If you need to leave the country you’re visiting for a medical or safety emergency, make sure you have emergency evacuation included in your travel coverage.

Read the fine print: Some travel insurance policies include age restrictions. Understand policy details, including exclusions and limitations, to ensure it meets your specific needs.

Compare costs of coverage: Once you have your preferences covered for travel insurance, you can start comparing the costs of coverage between carriers. Pick the travel insurance policy that works with your budget and provides the coverage you need.

More tips for buying travel insurance for seniors

We have a few more tips for seniors buying travel insurance to help you fully prepare for your journey abroad. 

  1. Consider your Medicare coverage: If you have a Medicare Supplement plan or Medicare Advantage plan that covers foreign travel, make sure you understand your coverage. 

  2. Buy insurance early: Buying travel insurance early is the key to finding a policy that meets all your requirements. Start your research as soon as you confirm travel plans.

  3. Declare pre-existing medical conditions: There’s a more complex process for travel insurance that includes coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. You must meet certain requirements and fill out paperwork, so make sure you follow through with necessary steps if you need this coverage.

  4. Understand the claims process and familiarize yourself with documents: Read through your policy documents carefully and make sure you know what the claims process looks like in the event that you need to submit one. 

  5. Look into additional coverage if you need to: For seniors who travel more frequently, a multi-trip policy may be a more cost-effective and convenient option. 

Travel insurance is especially important for seniors who may find comfort in its many protections while in a foreign destination. Start the research process early and compare policies to find the coverage you need.

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