Travel Insurance for Seniors

One of the best things about retirement is finally having the time to travel. Whether you are travelling overseas or domestically in Australia, it is important to be properly insured for any mishaps that may arise. Travel insurance can cover everything from lost bags to missed flights or major medical expenses incurred while travelling.

The cost of premiums can vary greatly and people over 50 can find themselves facing some pretty steep premiums if they don’t shop around. However the most important thing to remember about travel is “If you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel”.

When choosing travel insurance it is important to understand what you are covered for and what your travel insurance policy does not cover. For example it is very important if travelling overseas to ensure that you are covered for medical costs and repatriation/medical evacuation costs, as this is an area where the wrong illness or injury in the wrong country could completely wipe-out your life savings. If you have an accident or illness overseas, you are responsible for the full cost as the Australian Government /Medicare does not cover these costs. Likewise you your Australian private Health insurance will not cover overseas medical expenses. That is why you need travel-specific insurance. At the very minimum you should be looking for insurance that covers medical expenses. For instance in the USA, a broken bone can set you back tens of thousands of dollars. A medical evacuation can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even in Asia, generally considered cheap for travel, medical expenses can easily run into thousands of dollars a day.

Travel insurance premiums are based on an assessment of risk by the insurance company so they do depend on things like the level of coverage you need, the age of the insured, pre-existing health conditions, your travel destination, and any risky activities that you may undertake (e.g. things like scuba diving or skiing can incur extra costs in the premium). So have a good idea of where you plan to go and what activities you will undertake before taking out a travel insurance policy. As with any contract, take a careful look at the insurance policy being offered before you commit and make sure to declare all pre-existing medical conditions so that in the event of any claim your policy can not be refused (even an unrelated condition might be denied coverage if it is found you have not fully disclosed all conditions in the policy).

It is also important to make sure your policy covers you for the full duration of your trip, so don’t be caught out a day short because of time differences (e.g. if you fly from Europe on the 20th of the month, with the travel time and time difference you may not arrive in Australia until 21st or even 22nd so make sure you have factored that into your dates).
Travel insurance can also cover loss or damage of valuables, missed planes, cancelled hotel bookings, and damage or theft of rental cars etc. So with the range of options it may be best to use a good travel insurance comparison site. For extra protection when overseas, always remember to register your plans with the Australian Government through its Smart Traveller website.

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