Many would agree that it s the ability to see the world without much worry that makes post-retirement years truly the golden phase of life! But a pragmatic way to ensure that elderly travellers actually enjoy their trips without much worry is to sign up for a comprehensive travel insurance plan. These plans, tailor-made to address multiple concerns of senior citizens, offer a wide range of meaningful benefits that protect them from a number of inconveniences that they could face during their trips in foreign countries.
However, travel insurance policies differ a lot from one another in terms of benefits offered. Hence it makes a lot of sense to carefully go through the policy document before making the final decision. So, to help you make an informed choice here s a lowdown of some of the common benefits offered by senior citizen travel insurance plans.
1. Travel insurance cover up to the age of 99 years
A number of travel insurance policies can be purchased by senior citizens till as old as 99 years. This is really helpful as basic travel insurance policies usually apply to travellers who re not older than 60 years. Also, a number of insurance providers have specific policies for different senior citizen age brackets (like 60-70 years, 71-80 years and 81 to 99 years) offering customized protection.
2. Cashless hospitalization across the world
This is really useful as the medical costs in a number of countries, like the US, UK and Germany, are extremely expensive. Many travel insurance plans offer cashless treatment at network hospitals (at times only for hospitalization exceeding 24 hours) across the globe something that comes to the rescue if policyholders undergo a medical emergency during their trip. There are some plans that cover for dental treatment and out-patient medical checkups too.
3. Cover for pre-existing medical ailments (leading to a life-threatening condition)
It s obvious that many senior citizens will have certain pre-existing medical conditions, and therefore travel insurance plans that cover for these is a major plus! There are many policies that cover for expenses of treatment arising from pre-existing conditions under life threatening conditions. However, make note of the coverage capping, if any, for this specific protection. Also, non-life-threatening conditions arising from any pre-existing ailment are usually not covered.
4. No medical tests required to buy the policy
There are many travel plans out there that do not ask for a medical checkup before buying the policy. This feature can make the policy-buying process quick and hassle-free. That being said, always get clarity on whether the absence of any prior medical tests will have a bearing on the medical protection of the insurance plan. Also, you ll be well-advised to declare all known pre-existing ailments before signing on the dotted line to minimize the scope of any unpleasant surprises later.
5. Personal accident and personal liability protection
Majority of senior citizen travel insurance plans come with personal accident protection to cover for accidental death or dismemberment of policyholders. There are also many policies that give coverage for death, injury or loss of property accidentally caused by the policyholder which is paid to a third party. However, both personal accident and personal liability protection often come with sub-limits.
6. Loss or delay of luggage, loss or theft of money and passport
Almost every major senior citizen travel insurance plan will compensate for the loss or delay of checked-in luggage. A number of policies will also cover for expenses incurred to buy personal belongings (like toiletries, clothes and medication) if the luggage is missing for more than 12 hours. Similarly, most travel insurance plans also cover for costs incurred to obtain a duplicate or new passport following its loss. However, no claim is entertained if the passport is stolen or misplaced when left unattended or if the insurer doesn t lodge a complaint with local police authorities. There are some policies that also provide you with emergency cash if your money is stolen while you re on a trip. Interestingly, there are plans that also compensate for a burglary at your home while you re travelling abroad!
7. Delayed or cancelled trips, delayed or missed flights
Again, most travel insurance plans reimburse for additional expenses incurred if a trip gets delayed by more than 12 hours. Similar coverage is also given if a trip is cancelled or interrupted, or a connecting flight is missed for a delay of more than 3 hours. However, do note about the usual caveats a trip delay/cancellation/interruption is only covered when it s caused because of a medical problem, a personal employment issue, an airline issue or owing to a natural disaster.
8. Emergency evacuation
Some senior citizen travel insurance policies also compensate for an emergency medical evacuation back to the insured s country of residence. Similar coverage is also given if the insured needs evacuation owing to a catastrophe or a political turmoil in the visited country. At times a distress allowance is also provided if the insured s flight is unfortunately hijacked for more than 12 hours.
9. Compassionate visit
Many senior citizen travel insurance policies reimburse the return airfare of a family member to visit the insured if the latter is hospitalized in a foreign country for more than 7 days.
10. Repatriation of mortal remains
This benefit may sound morbid but it s really significant. A number of senior citizen travel insurance plans cover for costs incurred if the insured s mortal remains need to be repatriated following his/her demise in a foreign country.
As such, you ll be well-advised to closely go through all the benefits offered by your travel insurer before taking the plunge. You might have to take add-ons for some of the above-mentioned benefits, which will increase your premium, but guess it will be worth it if you think it s a meaningful feature. Also, be mindful of riders like sub-limits and other restrictions. Compare all your options before making a decision, and don t buy a policy just because it comes with the cheapest premium. Wish you all a very happy journey!
(The writer is CEO, Bankbazaar.com)