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With more than a year of travel adventures lost, it’s time to consider how you’ll explore the world again. Whether you’re going across the country or around the world, travel insurance for seniors can provide a valuable safety net if a trip goes wrong. Here are the best senior travel insurance plans based on our ratings of two dozen travel insurance policies.
All the winning travel insurance plans below include coverage for Covid in trip cancellation and travel medical benefits
Nationwide Cruise Choice Plan
Why we picked it: Nationwide Cruise Choice Plan offers superior benefits at excellent prices for senior travelers.
This plan provides $100,000 per person for emergency medical expenses and $500,000 per person for emergency medical evacuation. You will also get non-medical evacuation coverage of $25,000 per person, which covers transportation if you have to move to a safe location due to a natural disaster or civil/political unrest.
Nationwide’s Cruise Choice Plan has top-notch baggage loss coverage of $2,500 per person. Other highlights include missed connection coverage of $1,500 per person after only a three hour wait and the option to add “cancel for any reason” coverage.
If you are looking for an upgrade, it’s worth taking a look at Nationwide’s Cruise Luxury plan.
Potential drawbacks: Travel delay coverage of $750 per person is low compared to top competitors.
Trawick International Safe Travels First Class Plan
Why we picked it: Trawick’s International Safe Travels First Class plan has excellent prices for seniors and a wide range of solid benefits.
The plan comes with $150,000 per person in emergency medical expenses and $1 million per person in medical evacuation coverage. You’ll also get $2,000 per person in baggage loss coverage and $1,000 per person for missed connections (cruises and tours only).
The plan has good travel delay coverage of $1,000 per person but only after a 12-hour delay. And if you’re the type of traveler who wants the ultimate flexibility, you can add “cancel for any reason” coverage to your policy.
Potential drawbacks: Baggage delays and travel delays are only reimbursed after a 12-hour delay. That’s a long time compared to some top competitors that require only six hours (or less).
Related: Best Senior Travel Insurance Plans Of 2021
AXA Assistance USA Gold Plan
Why we picked it: Great prices for senior travelers make AXA’s Gold plan an attractive option.
The plan comes with $100,000 per person in emergency medical expenses and $500,000 per person for emergency medical evacuation. You’ll also get non-medical evacuation coverage of $50,000 per person in case you need to move to safety because of a natural disaster or civil/political unrest.
AXA’s Gold plan has good baggage loss coverage of $1,500 per person. It has generous missed connection coverage of $1,000 per person if you miss your cruise or tour. The plan also includes concierge services.
Potential drawbacks: AXA’s Gold plan does not offer optional “cancel for any reason” coverage.
Cat 70 Travel Plan
Why we picked it: Superior coverage for medical expenses at very competitive prices for seniors makes the Cat 70 plan a solid choice for senior travelers.
Cat 70’s Travel plan pairs a whopping $500,000 per person in emergency medical expenses with $500,000 per person in emergency medical evacuation coverage. Travelers seeking trip cancellation flexibility can add “cancel for any reason” coverage.
Potential drawbacks: Compared to some top competitors, reimbursement is on the lower end for travel delay ($500 per person), lost baggage ($500 per person) and baggage delay ($200 per person after 24 hours).
HTH Worldwide TripProtector Classic Plan
Why we picked it: Excellent prices for seniors make the TripProtector Classic plan worthy of consideration.
TripProtector Classic comes with $250,000 per person in emergency medical expenses and $1 million per person in emergency medical evacuation coverage. The plan includes good travel delay benefits at $1,000 per person after a six-hour delay.
Senior travelers looking for even better benefits (at a higher cost) may want to upgrade to the Worldwide TripProtector Preferred plan.
Potential drawbacks: Baggage delay benefits might be insufficient at $200 per person after a 12-hour delay and you won’t have the option of adding “cancel for any reason” coverage.
Tin Leg Gold Plan
Why we picked it: Tin Leg’s Gold plan offers ample medical benefits at competitive prices for seniors.
With $500,000 per person for emergency medical expenses and $500,000 per person for emergency medical evacuation coverage, Tin Leg’s Gold plan has some of the highest medical benefits among top competitors.
You will also have the option to add “cancel for any reason” coverage.
Potential drawbacks: Reimbursement is low compared to top competitors for travel delay ($500 per person), baggage delay ($200 per person after a 24-hour delay) and baggage loss ($500 per person).
USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services Ruby Plan
Why we picked it: USI Affinity’s Ruby plan has solid medical benefits and very competitive prices for seniors who are traveling.
The plan comes with $250,000 per person in emergency medical expenses and $500,000 per person for emergency medical evacuation. If you want the flexibility to cancel your trip, you’ll have the option to add “cancel for any reason” coverage.
Potential drawbacks: Baggage delay ($300 per person) and baggage and personal items loss ($1,000 per person) are lower than top competitors and might be insufficient for senior travelers looking for higher coverage amounts.
Tips for Seniors Buying Travel Insurance
Travel insurance can be essential for many types of trips, but seniors are particularly vulnerable to travel-related problems. Most notably, travelers age 65+ should consider a travel insurance policy with medical insurance and medical evacuation benefits.
Understand Insurance Needs When Traveling Abroad
With the vaccine rollout and countries relaxing border restrictions, you may be thinking about taking that river cruise to Portugal or a wine tour in France.
It’s important to know that when you travel outside the United States a domestic health insurance plan will not generally travel with you. This includes Medicare.
A key focus for seniors should be travel insurance with high limits of travel medical insurance, says Jeremy Murchland, president of travel insurance company Seven Corners. “Some plans on the market limit coverage to only $25,000 or $50,000,” he says. “Depending on the type of care needed, this may not be enough to cover the cost.”
“Most Medicare plans will not cover a person outside of the U.S. or U.S. territories,” explains Gail Manganite, lead customer advocate for InsureMyTrip, a travel insurance comparison provider. She notes that there are some Medigap and supplemental plans that offer health coverage outside the U.S., but deductibles and copayments will still apply.
Find out if your current health insurance includes emergency medical coverage outside the country and what restrictions apply. Then you’ll know how much travel medical insurance you need to fill the gap.
If you want top-notch coverage, look for travel insurance plans that offer $500,000 in medical coverage.
Get Medical Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions
You don’t want a pre-existing condition to flare up during a trip, but in case it happens, have a travel insurance plan that covers it. You do this by getting a pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver.
The availability of this important waiver is time-limited: You’ll have to add it to a travel insurance plan within a specified number of days from the date you make your first trip payment. For example, Seven Corners’ RoundTrip Choice plan covers pre-existing conditions if you buy it within 20 days of the date of your initial trip payment.
But your plan might have a window of only 14 days to get pre-existing conditions covered.
Plan for Medical Evacuation Coverage
If you require an emergency airlift back to the United States, it could easily cost $100,000 or more for private, emergency transport. Emergency medical evacuation insurance pays to move you to a medical facility with appropriate and necessary care if the facility where you are located is unable to provide the level of care needed for your medical condition, says Murchland.
You can find travel insurance plans with up to $1 million in coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
Be Aware of “Cancel for Any Reason” Coverage
“Cancel for any reason” coverage is an add-on that you can tack on to some travel insurance plans. It will add about 40% to your travel insurance cost but gives you the widest flexibility to cancel the trip for any reason and get some reimbursement (typically 50% or 75%).
Without it, you’ll receive trip cancellation reimbursement only if you cancel for a reason listed in the base policy, such as an illness or injury that forces you to abandon travel plans. “Cancel for any reason” coverage will give you the option to cancel for reasons like a sudden fear of flying or simply changing your mind.
Consider Customer Service Options
Murchland says to pick a travel insurance company that has services that match your comfort level.
“For example, Seven Corners has found that a higher percentage of seniors wish to discuss a travel insurance plan over the phone and, in some cases, want assistance selecting a plan and executing a purchase,” he says. “In today’s world of chat bots and email, this is an important consideration for seniors who would prefer to talk with a person.”
Stay on Top of Your Insurance Timeline
Buying a travel insurance plan early and taking the time to read it can pay off later. In addition, a travel insurance agent can help you understand what the policy covers and find plans that fit your travel insurance concerns. It’s wise to:
- Buy your plan early (shortly after you make your first trip deposit) so you don’t miss out on key benefits like pre-existing conditions coverage.
- Review your plan information well before your trip. Understand what reasons are covered for trip cancellation insurance claims. If you want broader coverage, consider adding “cancel for any reason” coverage, which also needs to be added shortly after your first trip payment.
- Feel comfortable asking questions to ensure you understand your plan and how it works.
- Keep in mind that travel insurance plans offer 24/7 travel assistance help. If you run into trouble during your trip, make use of the professional help available for language translation, finding a pharmacy and much more.
Using data provided by Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider, we evaluated 24 travel insurance plans that have at least $100,000 in travel medical coverage and at least $250,000 in emergency medical evacuation coverage. Scores were based on:
- Travel insurance rates (50% of score) for a range of travelers age 65 and older, for trips in a variety of lengths, destinations and costs.
- Coverage benefits (50% of score) including travel medical expenses, cancel for any reason availability, Covid coverage, medical evacuation, baggage delay, baggage loss, missed connection, non-medical evacuation, travel delay.
Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in suburban Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today, and her writing credits include NBC News, U.S. News World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and Creditcards.com.