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Senior Citizen Travel Insurance - 2021 Review

The vast majority of our work at AARDY concerns Senior Citizen Travel Insurance. Many of our travelers are retired and enjoying travel around the world.


And we do mean around the world.

Our older customers are far more adventurous than our younger ones. It's funny – the media portrays older people in a cautious, inactive light.

We see the reality of seniors traveling to Asia, Australia, Africa, Southern America, and Europe. They take exotic and expeditionary cruises or engage in reconstruction work within isolated communities.

We learned over the years that Senior Citizen Travel Insurance is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It needs to fit the needs of the individual.

In this article, we discuss the main concerns that our Senior Citizen Travel Insurance customers have.

Buy Senior Citizen Travel Insurance Early

If there was one piece of advice we could give anyone looking to buy Senior Citizen Travel Insurance: buy it early.

Almost every Travel Insurance policy has valuable Time Sensitive Benefits. These benefits provide additional coverage at no extra cost if you purchase the Travel Insurance shortly after your first deposit or payment.

Typically, the Time Sensitive Period is 14-21 days, and the clock begins on the date of the initial trip deposit. That is to say, the Final Payment date is not relevant, only the first day you pay money towards a trip.

We always get excited about early booking of Senior Citizen Travel Insurance because it unlocks a free Pre-existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver in our more comprehensive policies.

Pre-existing Medical Condition

One of the most frequent questions people ask us about Senior Citizen Travel Insurance is how to have coverage for Pre-existing Medical Conditions.

The short answer is that you probably do not have a Pre-existing Condition, as far as how the Travel Insurance Carrier defines it. Even if you have a Pre-existing Medical Condition, you can probably qualify for a Waiver to cover that illness or injury.

Travel Insurance Carrier Definition – Pre-existing Medical Condition

In Travel Insurance, Pre-existing Medical Condition is not your entire medical history. Instead, they only care about changes in your health in the 60-180 days immediately before you bought the Travel Insurance policy. If your health is clear for the past 60-180 days, then they consider you stable and offer full coverage.

For example, if you have lived with high blood pressure for years and medication kept it stable and under control, then it would not be considered a Pre-existing Medical Condition. The only exception would be if your doctor recently changed or prescribed a new medication. Then it might become a Pre-existing Condition.

The Travel Insurance Carrier cares about:

  • New Medical Conditions
  • Changes in the Severity of an old Medical Condition
  • A new recommendation for treatment
  • A change in medication

If you have not experienced any of these in the recent 60-180 days, then you are all clear as far as the Travel Insurance Carrier is concerned.

Since you had the same medications for over a long period for an older condition, do not worry. Travel Insurance can cover it.

Next, we detail how the 60-180 day period works. Travel Insurance refers to this window as the Look Back Period.

Look Back Period – Pre-existing Condition

Travel Insurance carriers each specify a window in which they Look Back at your medical history to determine if you have a Pre-existing Medical Condition.

The best Trip Insurance policies for Seniors will have short Look Back Periods. The best we have seen is 60 days.

Popular plans like Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice both have a 60 day Look Back.

Some Travel Insurance programs have 180-day Look Back periods. We do not like such long Look Back Periods in Travel Insurance. You may have trouble remembering all the changes in condition or medication you have had over six months.

If you are looking for Senior Citizen Travel Insurance, find one with as short a Look Back Period as possible.

A shorter Look Back period means that there is less chance that the Travel Insurance excludes your Medical Condition because it is Pre-existing.

But, there will still be some travelers who find that they have a Pre-existing Medical Condition, even with a short Look Back period. Usually, the policy would exclude that medical condition.

Let's find a way to get that Medical Condition Exclusion waived.

Pre-existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver

What you want to look for is a Pre-existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver. Many mid- and top-shelf policies offer a Waiver.

It waives the insurer's exclusion, so the policy will cover Pre-existing Conditions.

How Do I Get a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver?

Earlier, we mentioned there are advantages to buying your travel insurance early. Well, this is why.

Many policies offer additional benefits if you buy the plan promptly, within the Time Sensitive Period, usually within 14-21 days of the Initial Trip Deposit. One advantage is a Pre-existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver.

If you buy your Travel Insurance policy within the 14-21 day window after paying the Initial Trip Deposit, then the policy automatically includes a Medical Waiver.

When you purchase Travel Insurance early, the plan grants you a Waiver (if available).

Because a Medical Waiver is essential to many of our Senior Citizen Travel Insurance customers, we are always happy when you qualify.

We advise buying a Waiver throughout our site and in every piece of correspondence. Sometimes we worry that we are beginning to become a nuisance. But it is so important, and so easy to get the Waiver. Just book Travel Insurance promptly (within 14 days ideally) after your initial trip deposit.

How Much Do I Insure? When Should I Insure?

Many of our Senior Citizen Travel Insurance customers book their trips a long time in advance, paying an initial deposit and subsequent payments.

But how much should you insure?

Your insurable Trip Costs are all of the prepaid, non-refundable travel arrangements.

Your flights are probably non-refundable, so insure those. Your cruise will be non-refundable, so insure this. But, hotels might be different. If you can cancel your hotels and not receive a financial penalty, then there is no point in paying for travel insurance for hotels. That would just be a waste of money.

You can choose to insure the entire trip amount even though you have only made a deposit. That is fine. Many people prefer to do this so that they do not forget to insure the entire trip cost later on.

However, you have the other option of just insuring your deposit and then adding more travel insurance as your expenses increase. That's perfectly fine as well.

When deciding which travel insurance to buy, make sure to run your quote based on your full trip amount, not just the deposit. You are sure to find the cheapest Senior Citizen Travel Insurance plan this way.

What does Travel Insurance cover? In the next few sections, we go over the major protections of Travel Insurance policies.

Cancellation Protection

The second most asked question about Senior Citizen Trip Insurance relates to Trip Cancellation Protection.

We can break this down into three sections:

This article discusses basic cancellation and Cancel For Any Reason protection, but not Cancel For Work Reasons since most senior travelers are not employed.

Basic Trip Cancellation Protection

Every comprehensive travel insurance plan provides Basic Trip Cancellation Protection.

Here is the policy language that we see in the Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector plan.

Benefits will be paid, up to the Maximum Benefit Amount shown in the Confirmation of Benefits, to reimburse You for the amount of the Published Penalties and unused non-refundable Prepaid Payments You paid for Travel Arrangements when You are prevented from taking Your Trip due to:

1. Your, Your Family Member's, Your Traveling Companion's, Your Traveling Companion's Family Member, Your Business Partner's or Your Business Partners Family Member's death, which occurs before departure on Your Trip;

2. Your, Your Family Member's, Your Traveling Companion's, Your Traveling Companion's Family Member, Your Business Partner's or Your Business Partners Family Member's covered Sickness or Injury, which: a) occurs before departure on Your Trip, b) requires Medical Treatment at the time of cancellation resulting in medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a Legally Qualified Physician, and c) and prevents Your participation in the trip;

3. For the Other Covered Reasons refer to Trip Interruption; provided such circumstances occur while coverage is in effect.

Note that Family includes brothers- and sisters-in-law (a frequent question).

First, if a physician determines your medical condition not fit for travel, you can receive reimbursement. But, if a family member requires medical treatment, the policy only covers if their sickness prevents your participation on the trip because you are required to care for the sick family member.

There is a long list of Other Covered Reasons that trigger a full refund. They include:

  • Jury Duty
  • Theft of Passports or Visas
  • Airline Strike
  • Employment Termination
  • Bankruptcy of Airline or Cruise Line
  • Hurricane warning from NOAA

Travel Insurance with Cancel for Any Reason coverage offers more flexibility, which we discuss next.

Cancel for Any Reason Travel Protection

Many of us want to have the flexibility to Cancel for Any Reason.

You will find Cancel for Any Reason helpful if you booked your trip months or years ahead of time, and you want to have the option to cancel if circumstances may change.

If you have an expensive trip, it is much better to get 75% back rather than nothing at all.

Usually, customers who buy Cancel for Any Reason with their Senior Citizen Travel Insurance have high-cost trips like a cruise or safari.

Senior travelers often ask about CFAR coverage, worried their traveling companion might get sick. If so, they do not want to travel.

But they don't need Cancel For Any Reason. Standard Trip Cancellation protection covers Traveling Companion illness. Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance covers anything that the policy does not list as a covered cancellation.

Travel Medical Health Insurance

Another essential Senior Travel Insurance coverage that is important when heading overseas is Travel Medical Health Insurance.

Most health insurance plans do not work outside the USA. If it does, the coverage is weak, and there are higher than normal co-pays. Check with your health insurer to be sure. Do not assume that your health insurance will work outside the USA. It could be a huge financial mistake.

If you rely on Medicare, there's no need to check. We can provide the answers now. Medicare does not and will not cover travelers outside the USA.

The US State Department urges US citizens and residents to buy adequate medical insurance when they leave the USA. The US Government will not pay any international medical costs.

If you have a Medicare supplement plan, you may have some global medical coverage.

Medicare supplement plans C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M or N, may offer:

  • Emergency treatment for foreign travel care if it begins during the first 60 days of your trip, and if Medicare doesn't otherwise cover the care.
  • Pays 80% of the billed charges for limited emergency care deemed medically necessary outside the US after you meet a $250 deductible for the year.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medicare supplement policies have a lifetime limit of $50,000.

Note that the limit is only $50,000, and there is a huge 20% co-pay ($10,000 or more). Even if you have a valid Medigap plan, we do not recommend it as your sole international travel medical plan.

You need additional Medical Insurance.

How Much Travel Medical Insurance should Senior Citizen Travel Insurance Include?

We offer consistent advice to buy a minimum of $100,000 Travel Medical Insurance. Any less than this feels as though you take unnecessary risks.

International private hospitals routinely charge $3,000-$4,000 per day. Therefore, the minimum we ever advocate is $100,000 in Travel Medical Insurance.

You also want to make sure you have at least $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation insurance unless you venture to a more remote part of the world like Antarctica, the Galapagos, or Southeastern Africa. In this case, please take at least $500,000 of Medical Evacuation coverage. Private jets with doctors and nurses on board are extraordinarily expensive. Make sure your Senior Travel Insurance can pay for these costs.

What if I Just Want Travel Medical Insurance?

If you don't want to insure your Trip Costs at all, you can get a policy with just Travel Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation protection.

A simple way to do this is to run a quote with $0 Trip Cost. We still need to know ages, dates, and destination, but you declare $0 as your trip cost.

Then, you receive a range of quotes that offer you much lower-priced Travel Insurance. In essence, you are only getting Travel Health and Medical Evacuation coverage.

Why is this so helpful? Many Travel Insurance Carriers that offer just Travel Health Insurance (without Cancellation and Interruption) restrict coverage when travelers reach age 75. GeoBlue is an excellent example of a Travel Health Insurer that restricts medical insurance to people as they age.

Our $0 Trip Cost method is an easy way to work around this. Additionally, the plans tend to have better prices than dedicated Travel Health Insurance.

But we have one word of warning.

Some carriers insist that you insure your entire trip costs to receive a Pre-existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver. If a Waiver is important, bear this in mind.

Primary or Secondary Travel Health Insurance

Primary Insurance is preferable because the Travel Insurer is likely to set up direct billing with any international health provider.

When a Travel Insurer provides Primary Travel Insurance to a Senior Traveler, they are the only insurer who will pay towards treatment. So, it is in their best interest to set up direct billing with the hospital. The traveler does not have to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

Secondary Medical Insurance is not bad at all, but it will almost always involve more paperwork. We prefer less hassle and will opt for Primary Medical Insurance when we can.

Lowest Price Senior Citizen Travel Insurance

When you run a quote with AARDY, you will find a range of different Travel Insurance Plans from the leading Trip Insurance carriers in the USA.

We guarantee our prices will be the same as if you had gone to each insurance carrier directly. You will not pay a cent more for the use of our services.

Our system allows you to compare all the different plans on a single page so that you get the best value. Feel free to talk with us at any point to receive more personalized advice.

We have built a reputation for offering the best Senior Citizen Travel Insurance advice in the USA. We will do our utmost to ensure that you can secure the least expensive trip insurance policy that fulfills your needs.

Remember our first piece of advice – book your Travel Insurance swiftly after your Initial Trip Deposit, to enjoy all the available benefits in your policy.

Safe travels.

**Please Note: AARP do not provide sponsorship or endorsement of travel insurance brokers. No such endorsement or sponsorship of AARDY exists and none is implied. At AARDY we strive bring world-class travel insurance to our customers, so they can compare and contrast mulitple insurance plans to find the right plan for their travel needs, and travel with confidence.

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