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Travel insurance for older travelers

We are going on a Rick Steves trip. We generally buy travel insurance, and we decided we really need to start buying it every time since we are getting older. Does anyone have any tips for a decent policy for a healthy 70 year old? I found a very good policy for me, because I'm under 70. But it wasn't offered for anyone 70 or older. I'm familiar with buying travel insurance, so I think I know what to look for. But I'm wondering if anyone has a company they particularly would recommend.

Posted by
3164 posts

There was recently a thread on this topic, which you might want to read. The last two trips we bought our insurance through squaremouth.com If you go to their website, you'll see many, many companies listed, along with their various policies, and ratings. Both times I called and spoke to their (squaremouth's) agents, who were very helpful.

Posted by
507 posts

On the same thread as Rosalyn made reference to there is another website mentioned like squaremouth.com. Insuremytrip.com asks what you are looking for & presents policies that fit your requirements.

We have been on 2 trips since my husband's 71st birthday & he is now 78 yrs old. We embark on our 3rd trip next year. Like you, I am under 70.

We pay $261 ea for Travelex comprehensive ins policies from which the agent receives a commission. During our 2 trips we have not found the need to use the ins. So I am unable to tell you how well it works when you file a claim.

I stand to be corrected on this next question. Doesn't RS Tours offer an insurance policy to their clients?

May you find the policy you are looking for.
:-)

Posted by
1767 posts

If you are an AARP member I believe they have a supplement policy that includes Travel Insurance. That's what my mother uses.
You are wise to purchase it since if you are an American covered by Medicare you have no coverage outside the US.

Posted by
260 posts

Hi everyone. I am familiar with the comparison site insure my trip, and I certainly will check it again. I was just curious as to affordability. Will also check out the previous thread (although not sure exactly how to find it - was it in this forum (confused since they changed all the sites). In the past R. Steves has included info on one particular company - but it doesn't particularly give any breaks - pretty much on a par with the other companies I've checked. Unless this year they've changed it (haven't booked trip yet). I also note that someone posted in the R. Steves Tour forum today about insurance.

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi Laura, if you're taking a Rick Steves tour, they will send you info on Travel Guard insurance. I had to cancel a trip in 2012 and they paid everything I asked for.

Posted by
21249 posts

I think the OP was asking about medical insurance and not typical travel insurance. We buy an annual policy with Medivac.com. My biggest concern is getting home if something very serious happens.

Posted by
1829 posts

My wife is 69 and I'm a couple months from 75. We keep the question of insurance simple: we don't buy it. Never. And probably won't. We have seen quite a bit of Europe, Great Britain, some of India and Philippines, Ukraine, etc. Next April/May we will be in Romania and Ukraine again without any kind of insurance.

Posted by
21249 posts

That is really kind of an odd response to the original question. The fact that you don't buy insurance means nothing. It just means you are willing to accept the financial risks involved of no insurance. That is your decision. I have purchasing home owner's insurance for nearly 50 years and never had claim. I guess in hindsight that was stupid and a waste of money since I never needed it. We have never purchased travel insurance because we could always afford the lost. Now we look at it as self insurance. If we have a lost now, it is covered by the savings of prior years premiums that we didn't pay.

Medical insurance is a whole different question. If I cut myself or break a bone, I can handle the local expense. It is a different question if I am in a bad accident, have a stroke, heart attack, and need to get home quickly. Then thing get expensive in a hurry - maybe beyond what I can reasonably afford. For that reason we carry a year around medical evacuation policy that covers all of our travels anywhere. At about $350/year, pretty cheap coverage. It also includes a small amount of hospitalization.

Posted by
107 posts

Medical evacuation can be incredibly expensive. If you just get a stomach bug or something, then yes, the cost of treatment probably won't be that bad, but if something more serious happens, it can put a real dent in your pocketbook. I knew a girl who developed a very rare form of lung cancer while studying abroad in college. She had to fly back to the U.S. on a gurney (which requires removing seats from the airplane to accommodate it) and with a specially trained nurse. The medevac cost more than US$40k. Fortunately, she had insurance that covered it.

Posted by
1064 posts

Insurance of any kind is a waste of money -- until you need it. I have bought medical policies for my wife and me a couple of times for the evacuation provision and had the same good results as the times I decided against it. I do know one person who had a heart attack and had to be hospitalized in Turkey and then flown home without cost because he had travel insurance. I think of him when I consider buying a policy, but I also realize that of all the people I know who travel a lot, he is the only person I know personally who actually had to use his insurance.

Posted by
5689 posts

For anybody reading this thread who has not yet become Medicare-eligible, check on the Medicare supplemental insurance when you decide on your Medicare coverage -- certain policies contain emergency medical coverage outside the U.S. We count on that when we travel. But you need to get it when you start Part B coverage otherwise the insurer can decline to offer you a policy.
Also, certain Medicare Advantage plans offer foreign coverage.

Posted by
668 posts

since this is a forum for money-savings strategies, here is my advice. Insure only against costs that would be a burden to pay yourself. The way I look at it, we're already paying for the trip so if we lost the non-cancellable payments we'd be unhappy but not ruined. On the other hand an accident that led to hospitalization and a medical evacuation, while thankfully rare, could easily exceed $100K. That's a cost I want to insure against! Squaremouth offers policies if you select "no" for "Should this quote include trip cancellation coverage?" then you get quotes for policies with medical coverage along with a small amount of trip interruption. Playing with the calculator, a 75-year-old man could get a 2-week policy for around $100.

Posted by
1275 posts

I just bought the flight cancellation insurance on a domestic flight for Feb. (bought it thru Travelocity when I bought the ticket) reading the fine print, it will rebook me for hijacking or quarantine !!! also will help me if I am in a documented traffic accident in route to airport, or if I got called to testify in court or serve on a jury. interesting. I bought it because of the complicated health of my 84 yr old mother, it will me rebook if I felt I need to return earlier, just need note from her doctor that she was "under care". a pretty nice bit of peace of mind for 20 dollars (about 8 percent of initial booking price.) It will also cover delays due to my health or if my business partner were sick. It does nothing to help with weather delays, which is a real issue in Feb. I know this is NOT the question the OP raised....but I had never read all 10 pages of rules and regulations on a domestic policy before, and found it interesting. (esp the bit about quarantine)

Posted by
193 posts

We are pretty young and healthy (43 & 50) but after a 'cheap cruise' bought last minute several years ago with no insurance - I doubled the cost of the cruise when I came down with horrible strep throat, had to see the ships doctor twice and spent 5 lovely days in my cabin feeling miserable!!! Now, we always buy it! We also have 2 kids at home, one with special health care needs, and we buy the coverage more for them now than us. We had a 7-day cruise planned in a suite since we were taking kids, and low and behold, the bird flu outbreak happened and yep, our son got it. The insurance allowed us to cancel and not lose anything but the cost of the policy. With 3 of us going to Europe @ 6K each (base price) we most definitely have it - and hope we never have to use it!! I'm a believer in it and won't leave home without it :)

Posted by
2 posts

I have found the same thing when looking for travel insurance. The other issue is that, even when you find a plan that will accept you, the total benefit amount is limited (low maximum benefit). So even if they will sell a plan to an older traveler, it is not worth much.

In doing research I found a good article (http://www.internationalinsurance.com/travel-insurance/seniors.php) on the subject which recommended a couple of options. The first is the Atlas plan (http://www.internationalinsurance.com/hcc/atlas/) which is somewhat expensive ($150-$200/month w/ $500 deductible) but does provide coverage up to $100,000. Atlas is available to any nationality/citizenship. Another option is the Globe Hopper Senior (http://www.internationalinsurance.com/apply/senior/) for US citizens on Medicare. What is nice about this option is that it offers maximum limits up to $1,000,000.

As always, do some research. Specifically, look into the benefits and exclusions, specifically around pre-existing conditions. It pays to know what you are getting yourself into!

Posted by
5657 posts

Re: ...if you are an American covered by Medicare you have no coverage outside the US.

Partly true depending on any Supplemental Medigap coverage you elect. See:
http://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/medigap-and-travel/medigap-and-travel.html

Medigap policy may offer additional coverage for health care services
or supplies that you get outside the U.S.

Standard Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N provide foreign travel
emergency health care coverage when you travel outside the U.S.

Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer for sale, but if you bought one
before June 1, 2010 you may keep it. All of these plans also provide
foreign travel emergency health care coverage when you travel outside
the U.S.

Posted by
503 posts

Many people feel comfortable taking a chance and most people will never need medical coverage while travelling overseas. However, I know of three people who ended up needed it. Two had the insurance and one did not. The one who did not has never told any of us what the ordeal ended up costing him. One colleague of mine was travelling with his life partner in Spain. Descending a steep, stone staircase, she tripped and fell. She died the next day due to blunt force trauma to
her head due to the fall. They had insurance. Another couple, while visiting England, the husband has a massive MI, and was in hospital for a month in London before being allowed to travel home to the States. The third couple, while on a hiking trip in Greece, the husband fell down the mountain, had several breaks in his leg, had basic surgery in Greece to prepare him for travel home and more surgery.
I buy the insurance now.

Posted by
193 posts

Goodness gracious, Lisa, those are scary events that happened to people you know! I, too, am a believer in trip insurance whenever I leave the country. We have a special needs son, and had to cancel a cruise (we had booked a suite to have more room for him, our daughter & us) and he ended up getting the swine flu when that was running rampant. Didn't lose any money as it was a covered event.

I also had to cancel a cruise with my husband and parents because of a major work change at my business. That one wasn't exactly covered, but I had airline credit available after my cancellation fee and I was able to get my father-in-law to take my place on the cruise, so he got to travel with his son and my parents. No cost to change names for the cruise; he just had to get his airfare.

I had the $300 'cheap cruise', that doubled in price when I had to see the ships doctor - for $300 - that was before we bought trip insurance:)

With this last, and most expensive trip, we just returned from - I had all the info I needed in case I had to cancel due to my father's illness. And it would have been a covered event, allowing me to recoup my costs; and it would have also extended to my entire travel group.

While in Europe, I almost twisted an ankle stepping off the bus (pretty sure my trusty compression socks saved the day!) and the cobblestone in Rothenburg was so slick I worried about stepping wrong. If I had been injured, the medical part of the trip insurance would have covered the issues.

So, I'm a believer for sure and I don't leave home (for international travel) without it! :)

Jacque

Posted by
518 posts

I have made a claim on travel insurance before for airfare and tour costs when I couldn't go due to illness and was paid without issue. I know there are those that feel like insurance of any sort is a "waste of money", but I wonder, of those people that say that, how many have had a major loss, injury, or accident WITHOUT insurance, and still say that. Even if one was wealthy enough to self insure and pay upwards of $50K for overseas emergency care, surgery, hospital stay, and a nurse-chaperoned flight home, it doesn't seem to make much financial sense to choose that over spending a few hundred bucks for travel insurance. And if one was truly "wealthy" it would seem they'd have the financial savvy to know that. ...unless they really do believe they are indestructible.