What is Travel Insurance?
The most commonly understood meaning of travel insurance is a short term guarantee that a person purchases against emergencies or unforeseen expenses, that might be incurred during travel.
Those who travel internationally are recommended to always purchase insurance since it will cover them in the event of a medical emergency, but those who are traveling domestically may also benefit from an insurance policy, depending on the nature of their journey and the hazards they may encounter while away from home.
Basically, travel insurance covers several different insurance policies such as cancellation insurance, international health / travel medical insurance, evacuation only insurance and flight insurance.
- 1 What is Travel Insurance?
- 2 What is Senior Travel Insurance?
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 Motivation for getting senior insurance
- 2.3 Coverage options in a typical insurance plan for senior travelers:
- 2.4 Understanding pre-existing conditions:
- 2.5 A pre-existing medical condition is defined as follows :-
- 2.6 Medical conditions that are usually excluded from coverage in senior policies :-
- 2.7 Break down of senior policies according to age limit:
- 3 Comparison of the Top Seniors Insurance for Travel
- 4 Not Quite a senior? We’ve got you covered
- 5 Are you a long term traveler?
- 6 Other Types of Insurance for seniors
- 7 Conclusion; Time for a Holiday
How does travel insurance work?
Travel insurance begins to get consumed when you run into a problem, after you have purchased the insurance / coverage, and before or while you are on your trip. A problem is something that can threaten your plans or may lead to considerable expenses on your part that you would not normally incur.
In other words, your insurance will not cover items which are considered an integral part of your trip i.e. meals, lodging, connection times between flights etc.
After you are aware of the nature and detail of your problem (including its costs), you should contact your relevant insurance company, that you chose to go with, and speak to the claims staff explain your predicament to them.
They will assess your problem and instruct you on the course of action to take.
- If your problem has a moderate cost i.e. one you can afford, the company will ask you to pay for it on your own, keep records of the expenses and then collect reimbursement upon your return.
- For highly expensive situations such as an overseas medical evacuation, your insurance company will make arrangements on their own, to either pay for the cost of the emergency or have one of their partners assist you in the situation.
- Some insurance companies may also directly transfer funds to you in the event of an emergency, if you cannot cover on your own. This will be done after they are satisfied with your claim and have verified your policy and details.
Why should you purchase insurance for travel?
- Depending on the location of your travel, particularly to another country, there may be a particularly higher chance of getting ill or injured.
- If you intend to indulge in dangerous or adventurous activities such as canoeing, white water rafting, mountain climbing or wildlife hunting, there can again be a higher risk of injury or damage to your belongings.
- If you are carrying valuable luggage or vital documents, you need to be covered in case of damage or theft – which you won’t be able to handle on your own.
- If the country you are traveling to a country that has a dangerous reputation due to war, political instability or unrest, crime or attacks, you need to be covered in case you find yourself in the middle of a situation that requires costly evacuation.
Where to purchase?
As an Australian citizen, you will purchase the insurance for your international journey from an insurance company based in the country – this means that you will be evacuated to Australia in the event of a serious medical situation encountered by you on your journey, or by a loved one while you are away.
If you are traveling locally, you can get less expensive domestic insurance for your trip that can help you cover costs related to cancellations etc.
Obtaining insurance is as easy as contacting your travel agent, your usual insurers, or one of the many specialist travel insurers that are established in Australia. There is a chance that a travel agent may try to sell you an overpriced policy, however, instead of being roped into purchasing a specific policy (that could be expensive), you should look around and do some research.
There are plenty of Australian travel insurance websites that allow for in depth cost / benefit comparisons of insurance policies available from various companies – you should use these websites to their fullest, in order to find the policy which offers the best value for money.
Sometimes, you might not even have to purchase insurance for the trip because you are already covered by an existing deal. Credit card companies may offer basic coverage, provided you make the travel related purchases through the card.
Business travelers might also be insured through a policy implemented by their company. In any case, be sure that you check the “existing deal” thoroughly and get it confirmed in writing. If the deal does not cover all reasonable risks, shop around and go for a new insurance policy.
Insurance policies can be expensive, which is why you need to thoroughly check, prior to making a purchase. Be sure to check whether the policy in question covers all misfortunes that you might encounter during your travel.
It will be frustrating, at best, if you find out during the emergency that you aren’t covered – at worst, you will be in mortal danger, on your own. Here are some things you need to ask yourself before purchasing a policy:
- What are my requirements? The answer to this question isn’t straightforward – you will have to think about the nature of your journey in its entirety i.e. environment, climate, travel companions, luggage, reason for travel etc.
- How often do I travel? When you make only one or two journeys annually, insuring them individually will be economically feasible. On the other hand, if the nature of your family or business requires you to make frequent, unpredictable trips all year round, you would be best going for a policy that has annual coverage, as insuring each trip individually can be quite costly.
- Where am I traveling too? Most international insurance policies are designed to cover the maximum number of individuals for the maximum number of locations around the world. For example, if you are traveling from Australia to a safe country such as England or Spain, then there is no need to buy an expensive travel policy that covers the rest of the world too. By opting for a policy that covers just your particular destination, you will be saving yourself the expense of paying for extra premiums that only come in effect in places you will never visit!
- Will I require special lodging? This is particularly important in case you are aged or suffer from a disability as you will be required to pay additional premiums. Instead of opting for the first insurance company your airline suggests, do research before your journey to find a specialist provider which gives you the best economy.
What is Senior Travel Insurance?
Those who are past retirement age i.e. born prior to 1946, are especially keen about enjoying their leisure time by going on multiple vacations the whole year round. An average of four leisurely trips per year are taken, primarily to international destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and China. International senior holiday travel means having to be extra cautious about the arrangements in case of an incident or emergency.
Hence the need for a travel insurance policy is even more pronounced. Unfortunately, as your age goes beyond 50, obtaining insurance for your journeys becomes increasingly difficult, because most insurers start to view your age as a liability in itself. Your age may lead to different pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart problems etc.
These health problems can also lead most usual insurance policies to being ineffective. This is why seniors insurance travel is different from that which is in place for young people.
Motivation for getting senior insurance
There are several reasons why seniors should opt for an insurance plan to cover their travels, here are some of the most prominent ones:
- As you go on a journey to visit your grandchildren or set out on the dream vacation you had been saving for, an insurance policy will let you take care of any unexpected medical events that may otherwise hamper your journey. It is easy to get confused by a new location in your old age, so it is also reassuring that the insurance company will put you on the right course for medical treatment in an unfamiliar location.
- In case you suffer from an accidental injury that requires hospitalization, the insurance policy will arrange for ambulance transportation and any required physical treatment for injuries that are covered.
- It may also be a financial setback if you have to pay for prescription medications along the way – but an insurance plan will have you covered; you can get reimbursement for this expenditure once you get back home.
- If due to some misfortune such as rapid deterioration in health, you have to cancel your trip – you might have to suffer a penalty from the cruise line or tour agency you signed up with. If it was a luxury cruise or expensive tour, the cost of cancellation might be significant, in fact, more than the cost of getting it insured beforehand, just to be safe.
Coverage options in a typical insurance plan for senior travelers:
Here are properties of a typical insurance policy for seniors that set it apart from normal insurance:
|Benefits that are covered||Insurance for seniors||Typical Travel Insurance Policies|
|Guaranteed Acceptance||Yes: There is no requirement of medical underwriting for those who are eligible.||Yes. A number of companies have guaranteed issue policies.|
|Insurance for pre-existing conditions||Partly: A lifetime maximum of around $100,000 is available for onset of disclosed pre-existing medical conditions.||Varied coverage. Coverage can be non-existing or meager, just around $25,000.|
|Complete coverage for out-of-country injuries and accidents||Yes: Complete payment for medical emergencies, up to the limit of the maximum defined in the policy.||Varied coverage. You may have to pay coinsurance.|
|Complete coverage for injuries and accidents within PPO||Yes: For expenses that are eligible within the PPO network.||Varied coverage. You may have to pay coinsurance.|
|Sports coverage without any additional premium||Yes: Insurance for injuries that are eligible to come under sports.||No. It costs around 20% extra to add coverage for sports injuries.|
|24/7 emergency medevac||Yes, coverage of around $500,000 regardless of the maximum defined in the policy||Yes, but coverage amounts for medical evacuation are much lower.|
Australian seniors should take note that even though senior policies seem specifically geared towards their advantage, going through the details of the policy is mandatory in order to ensure that you are not being made to pay for anything you do not require.
Understanding pre-existing conditions:
As already mentioned, one of the biggest hurdles faced by seniors while trying to obtain pensioner insurance is pre-existing medical conditions. Several travel insurers will indeed provide insurance for existing medical conditions – but this will be subject to a certain cutoff age limit. In Australia, most of the insurers will not cover for medical conditions for those seniors who are over the age of 75.
A pre-existing medical condition is defined as follows :-
• A medical condition that is ongoing, and of which the applicant has knowledge of, has a complication related to it, or has the symptoms of the said condition.
• A dental / medical condition for which the applicant is undergoing treatment, or has received treatment from a certified medical practitioner.
• Conditions which the policyholder takes prescription medications.
• Conditions which the policyholder has undergone surgery for in their past.
If you are past the age limit for which pre-existing medical insurance is applicable, you will still be able to obtain insurance. You will, in all likelihood, have to fill out a declaration form for the condition, which in turn, may make an exclusion, or you may be asked to pay an additional premium to get it covered.
Medical conditions that are usually excluded from coverage in senior policies :-
• All kinds of cancers or secondary cancers that have been already diagnosed in the applicant
• A condition linked to a surgery that the applicant has recently undergone.
• Conditions pertaining to spinal or brain surgery.
• Recurring / chronic pain for which the policyholder has consulted with medical professionals.
• Mental illnesses (this condition varies greatly between different insurance companies, it is critical to go through the terms and conditions carefully if a mental condition could be a factor).
• Cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease.
• Organ transplants (including both past and future ones).
• Conditions for which the applicant has been given a terminal prognosis with a life expectancy of two or less years.
There may be considerable variation in the conditions that are covered and excluded in the policy depending on the insurer. Which is why you should thoroughly browse through the options available to you in order to find the one which covers you to the maximum.
Break down of senior policies according to age limit:
The age limits for various travel insurances for seniors Australia will differ from insurer to insurer, and also on the particular policy purchased.
The majority of insurers will make several different options available to the applicant – and the general trend is that the cover gets reduced as the applicant progresses in age.
Here is an example of how general policy access gets broken down with age progression:
|Age||General Policy Access|
|Below 60||Seniors are able to buy any policy|
|60 and above||Seniors are able to buy any policy, but an age loading may be applicable|
|Aged below 75 years||Seniors are able to buy any policy with somewhat diminished cover / benefits|
|Aged below 80 years||Seniors are able to buy any policy with somewhat diminished cover / benefits|
|80 years of age and above||Seniors above this age may have to submit a medical declaration and pay for extra premiums|
Comparison of the Top Seniors Insurance for Travel
Seniors travel insurance compare, in the broadest terms, as follows: –
Gold, silver or bronze: A typical senior travel insurance agency will have three different tiers of coverage from which you can choose. The bronze category is the most cheap travel insurance for seniors, with standard coverage and a restricted list of locations to which it applies e.g New Zealand and the Southwest Pacific.
The silver designation has coverage for journeys to United Kingdom, India and Asia, besides the regions that fall under bronze packages. The Gold package will have the maximum amount of coverage – roughly forty pre-existing medical conditions, in the widest possible range of locales that include Africa, America and the Middle East.
Multi-trip travel insurance: If you are a senior who likes to take part in adventurous endeavors, then you’re likely to be making frequent trips and going out into the unknown.
When this is the case, you should get travel insurance that covers for multiple trips throughout the year. Purchasing a separate insurance plan for every trip you make will be quite expensive, not to mention cumbersome, instead, you can get all your year long trips insured with one cost friendly package.
Just be sure that you carefully go through the policy’s disclosure statements and the fine print.
Based on the situations they cover, senior’s travel coverage policies and they are divided into the following types :-
Medical coverage: A health/medical insurance policy is one of the most frequently purchased senior policies, and as described above, it will take care of dental and medical expenses (inevitable in most cases as you grow old) that you may experience during your journey.
Closely related to the policy described above is the medevac coverage policy, which comes into play when your medical condition requires your immediate transportation to a hospital.
As a senior, particularly if you decide to try your hand at physically intense activities, you should seriously consider this. If the worse comes to worst, and you do not have an insurance plan for medical evacuation, you will be spending a fortune on arranging a helicopter.
There is also the option of an accidental death and dismemberment policy. To some it may seem a bit morbid, but being prepared in the event of one’s death is a realistic proposition, at any age.
This kind of policy will be in effect when you are traveling to your vacation spot, enjoying your vacation and when you are coming back home.
You can do what you always wanted, content in the knowledge that your companions / loved ones (i.e. your beneficiaries) won’t be empty handed in the event of your demise.
- Trip Protection: This insurance policy comprises of three components:
- Cancellation coverage: If your health fails for some reason during your vacation, this policy will provide reimbursement for your prepaid expenses. It will also come into effect if a family member back home is sick or passes away, requiring your urgent presence.
- Delay coverage: This part of trip protection deals with delays in transportation. If flights at your local airport are grounded due to bad weather and the trip has to be delayed for some days, the non-refundable amount you paid for to book hotels in advance will be reimbursed to you.
- Trip Interruption: This last component of trip protection deals with sudden interruptions that may halt your journey i.e. a sickness, the death or ailment of a family member, bad weather, bankruptcy of travel agency, a strike at the airline etc. Some may even cover jury duty!
- Car Rental/Luggage Protection: This kind of policy provides coverage for an eventuality in which you suffer from an accident that results in damage to your personal belongings and baggage. It also takes care of theft of said belongings or misplacement (not due to your own negligence). This policy will not cover for damage/loss during flight, and some expensive belongings may also be exempt from protection. The important thing is to scrutinize the fine print. This will help you get familiar with exactly what you are getting for your money. Also, your own auto insurance or credit cards may also have coverage for a rental car, so be sure to check them before you buy travel insurance of this type.
It doesn’t matter whether you go for one or all of the policies detailed above, getting an Australian seniors travel insurance that provides travel assistance besides the usual monetary protection should be on top of your list.
This service will be available to you round the clock to aid you while you are on your trip – anything from finding a good doctor or a seasoned translator, to recovering a lost/stolen passport, money transfers or legal issues in the foreign country.
Here is a price breakdown for a travel insurance plan from Australian Seniors™ Travel Insurance that will give you an idea of how seniors travel insurance compare.
In the case of one trip, the couple, both aged 65, will be traveling internationally to any location except Cuba, for seven days. They will have no dependents with them:
|One Trip||Annual Multi Trip|
|Total price (inclusive of tax)||AU$200.52||AU$562.28|
|Buy online at a discount of 10%||AU$22.28||AU$62.47|
|Overseas Medical / Dental Expenses||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Luggage / Travel Documents||$12,000||$12,000|
|One Trip||Annual Multi Trip|
|Maximum total days per each trip||Not applicable||45 days|
In the case of one trip, the individual, aged 65, will be traveling internationally to any location except Cuba, for seven days. They will have no dependents with them:
|One Trip||Annual Multi Trip|
|Total price (inclusive of tax)||AU$100.26||AU$373.27|
|Buy online at a discount of 10%||AU$11.14||AU$41.48|
|Overseas Medical / Dental Expenses||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Luggage / Travel Documents||$12,000||$12,000|
|Maximum total days per each trip||Not applicable||45 days|
Note: This particular comparison between the benefits / pricing of single trip and annual multi-trip insurance has specific factors which were defined prior to the generation of quote.
Pricing / benefits may vary depending on age, but you can easily find the exact details for yourself by using the quote generation tool available at every reputed Australian seniors insurance agency.
Not Quite a senior? We’ve got you covered
As you cross the 50 year mark in your life, you will realise that obtaining travel insurance isn’t as easy as it used to be. The majority of insurers will designate you into the 50+ category which means you’re no longer counted as a “young person” so to speak, and hence will face certain extra premiums whilst purchasing insurance.
Your health will become a determining factor when applying for insurance, and you will have to disclose pre-existing medical conditions – which may not be covered, or may render you ineligible for the insurance.
Your best bet is to choose from a number of reputed over 50s insurance specialists who have packages that are tailored to cater to the needs of the over 50 Australian populace: –
Australian Seniors Travel Insurance Agency
This insurer states their chief objective to be the provision of quality insurance services and products that are geared towards meeting the needs of Australians who have crossed fifty, with extremely competitive premiums which, in general, reflect the increased risk nature of their clients.
They provide a range of insurance that includes Home and Contents, as well as Car Insurance. Their Travel Insurance policies that start from as low as just $46 for one trip, and they welcome customers over 50, irrespective of whether they are working, retired, self-funded or pensioners.
This agency covers a number of pre-existing medical conditions by default, although this coverage is subject to certain conditions.
As an individual who is below 75, however, you have nothing to worry about; conditions that will be automatically covered, after passing their individual criteria (not related to age), include asthma, epilepsy, non-insulin dependent diabetes, hiatus hernia, gout, high blood pressure, hip replacement, peptic ulcer, high cholesterol, stroke, prostate cancer and under active thyroids.
This insurance company boasts an award winning history of 25 years, and guarantees reliability, borne from years of experience, for those who are over 50 through their specialist insurance products which have prices that compete with the other leading names.
Their existing customer base ranges in the thousands, which says a lot about the quality of service they offer.
Besides general benefits such as monthly payment of premiums at no additional charge, there are also a number of advantages specifically designed for Australians over 50 that largely comes under the umbrella of medical insurance.
The agency’s insurance for over 50 travelers, either single or groups, has significant features which include a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week travel assistance service, domestic / international coverage options, legal liability coverage amounting up to AUD 2,000,000, besides the regular bells and whistles that can be found in most policies at comparable pricing.
Over Fifty insurance
This agency provides travel insurance plans for 50+ aged individuals out for an adventure as well as families / friends headed for a fun time outside or inside Australia.
Their most prominent feature, deserving of a separate mention, is the 24-hour immediate global access to medical and travel aid they offer to their clients in the event of an emergency.
This service is provided through Mondial Assistance, which is one of the biggest worldwide assistance providers.
Comprehensive coverage benefits, wide ranging variety of choices, default cover for several pre-existing conditions without extra premium, bonus day, pre-departure medical advice, and children coverage at no extra cost are all part of their service’s description.
There are four designations for their insurance plans: Comprehensive International, Budget Cover, Australia Only and Frequent Traveler+.
This insurer claims to offer you mental serenity whether you’re traversing the Great Wall of China or sun-baking on a beach in Hawaii.
Another over 55 insurance specialist, they offer comprehensive cover in their travel insurance policies for both self-adventurous travelers, as well as those who are going on a trip with their family and friends.
Their personal commitment is towards the provision of insurance to seniors for their journeys and they promise to have a package for you, no matter what your age or your pre-existing medical conditions.
Boasting a number of outstanding features in terms of simplicity, affordability, variety and an easy claim process, Cota Insurance is a good choice for those seniors who want a hassle free insurance, as is evident from their own description of their services:
- Medical assessments are completed over telephone.
- The claims process has been streamlined and is as simple as possible, to help you out swiftly, when things do go wrong.
- Bonus days at no additional charge.
- Coverage of dependents (children/grandchildren) at no additional charge.
The truth is that there is no need for concern when you go over the 50 year mark as far as insurance policies for your trips are concerned.
You have entered the age range where you aren’t yet subject to the more stringent conditions imposed on true seniors, and can still reap the rewards that are available in the vast variety of tailor made insurance policies for senior travelers!
Are you a long term traveler?
A standard insurance package purchased from a reputed insurer is good enough to protect you through a typical vacation that lasts a week or two, but what if you need to go on an extended expedition into the wilds of a foreign country? In this case, the coverage of your standard package will expire after a month or so, and you will be left without any kind of insurance protection.
A long term travel insurance is designed specifically to address the needs of those travelers who will be going away from Australia for an extended period of time. This type of coverage should not be mixed with backpacker cover.
Like standard insurance, go through the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you do not violate any clause inadvertently and have an idea of how much you will have to pay for the long stay travel insurance.
Although you may be tempted to go for a cheap package, remember that it will be of no or little benefit. if it doesn’t cover your particular requirements.
Other Types of Insurance for seniors
Besides insurance for travel, there are a number several other insurance policies that you can purchase as an Australian senior for complete peace of mind:
|Home and Contents Insurance||This insurance can be purchased to provide protection to your home and belongings from common perils such as theft, storm and fire, which can become a source of constant worry as you age.|
|Car insurance||Car insurance is meant to provide protection against damages that your vehicle may be exposed to, especially because of the diminished reflexes due to old age, as well as theft, accidents etc.|
|Final expenses insurance||This policy is designed to ensure that, in the event of your death, your funeral and final resting place arrangements are hassle free, and that all of your outstanding debts, mortgages etc. can be paid by your beneficiaries|
|Others||Other insurance plans for seniors may include an accident cash plan and landlord insurance|
Seniors car insurance and seniors funeral insurance are two types of insurance (besides travel) that deserve a detailed explanation: –
A car insurance policy for seniors may come in handy if you are past your prime and find yourself unable to drive as well as you used to. Accidents due to your negligence or slower reflexes, due to the other party’s negligence, loss due to theft or random damage are all taken care of by a car insurance. Most insurers offer customizable plans that you can choose from based on your budget and requirements.
You may be successful in your old age, no major outstanding debts or mortgages, no dependents to worry about, but one can never be sure when their time is up!
If you pass away in the middle of your holiday that requires payment on your part, it could be a burden on your beneficiaries if you have not made funds available to them during your life (specifically for these purposes).
A funeral insurance policy will ensure that not only are your funeral costs paid adequately, but also that your next of kin can wrap up your affairs without spending any of their own money.
Most of these policies cover accidental death for an initial period and then cover death due to any cause. You may have to keep paying a premium until a ripe old age e.g. 90.
Conclusion; Time for a Holiday
Your retirement age means that you do not have to worry about the hectic routine of a working life. You are free to pursue your hobbies and relax with your friends and family.
There are few outlets for your newly obtained freedom better than taking the dream vacation you had been thinking about for years.
However, old age also means that your body isn’t the powerhouse it used to be. Whilst you enjoy taking a trip to a foreign country, you may overexert yourself or find yourself in a situation where you just cannot handle it on your own.
It is in these situations that you will realise the benefits of paying a travel insurance company to watch your back.
No matter where you are, regardless of what difficulty you are facing, if you had the foresight to get your trip insured adequately, you will be able to extricate yourself from trouble and, in many cases, continue your vacation where you left off.
Even if you do not face any trouble during your trip, you will still find peace of mind knowing that you will not be stranded, if a disaster does strike.
That being said, it is time to quell the naysayers who say that old age and retirement mean staying at home and leading a boring existence.
The world is waiting to be explored, and you have all the time in it, so take the trip you always wanted to – just be sure to have a sound contingency plan by signing up for an insurance policy to cover your travels.