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Travel insurance tips for seniors

Travel insurance tips for seniors

With an ever-rising number of senior citizens heading off on holidays these days, this intrepid demographic knows it needs to keep certain considerations in mind when shopping around for appropriate travel insurance.

Many mature travellers are aware that medical conditions, age, and the country they're visiting are factors that could cause a spike in their travel insurance costs.

What they may not know, is that certain insurers will not cover seniors for trips lasting more than three months.

Comparing policies is essential; so keep these tips in mind when you are choosing your coverage.

Policy pointers

Taking out travel insurance is not just about covering yourself once you've left the country.

According to Maureen Mullins, who represents NRMA Travel Insurance, purchasing a policy while you pay for your holiday means you can apply for a refund if the worst happens and you need to pull the plug on the whole trip.

Val Evans, 68, agrees. He took out cruise coverage for a European trip a couple of years ago.

Having never had any health scares, he says he begrudgingly paid the travel insurance fees.

Luckily, he was covered when he had to cancel after suffering chest pains and needed two life-saving stents inserted into his body.

He saved almost $6000 in what would have been lost travel costs.

A cruisy lifestyle

As the biggest island on the planet, it's perhaps not surprising that over a million Australians, a large number of them being seniors, went on a cruise holiday in 2014 – more than any other nation in the world.

Medicare is not available for Aussie citizens who need medical treatments after they board a cruise, even if they’re taking a trip around Australia.

This makes travel insurance a must for cruisers.

Additionally, Mullins suggests taking copies of your passport, visa, and itinerary, and also says you should write down your own travel insurance emergency numbers to store away in a safe place or with a travel companion.

Read the fine print

According to Understand Insurance, comparing and contrasting what policies offer is just as important as considering how much they cost.

“Most travel insurance policies have age limits or restrictions, but several travel insurers offer policies specially designed for retirees or senior travellers,” a representative for the agency says.

If you become ill or are diagnosed with another medical condition before you jet off, make sure your insurance company is aware of these changes as your policy could become void otherwise.

Make sure to be very honest with your travel insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have, even if they seem irrelevant to you.

In addition, pour over the Product Disclosure Statement to ensure you’re covered on the off-chance you’ll need to be evacuated medically from the country you’re in.

Reciprocal healthcare

There are countries that have reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia.

This means you can undergo emergency treatment if you're visiting these nations.

In total there are 11 countries including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Italy that offer this agreement, however travel insurance is still crucial.

It’s also useful to confirm with Medicare about which countries are taking part in the reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia and what exactly their rules are should you fall ill while visiting them.

Some countries ask for health insurance as a conditon of entry to older travellers, so again check before you leave.

Go for a check-up

Try to see your doctor before you pay for a trip to make sure you're healthy enough to go off on one.

Another quick visit ahead of the holiday is also necessary to ensure you have the correct inoculations.

In addition, your GP will be able to provide you with a copy of any medications you’ll need to take on the trip with you, as well as guidance on how often you should take them.

Put one list in your hand luggage and another in your main suitcase just in case.

Happy travels!


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