Planning matters

Travel Insurance – Good Idea?

Travel is looked forward to by many and is something most would equate with the word retirement. Anticipating upcoming trips often provides motivation to push through the day-to-day. But when it comes to booking your trip, a question pops up for many – is travel insurance a good use of my money? Younger travelers might dismiss the added expense as unnecessary, but seniors should seriously consider such protection. Why? Let’s take a look…

While travel insurance can certainly reimburse you for things such as lost luggage, flight delays and non-refundable trip costs, it can also protect you from something even more costly. It includes coverage for medical care in foreign countries and, if necessary, medical evacuation. That’s critical because Medicare—the primary insurance for Americans age 65 and older—stops at the U.S. border, and even the most generous supplemental Medigap policy provides limited coverage overseas. Many people don’t realize they aren’t covered when they travel abroad.

It is not a farfetched idea that someone could tragically incur costs exceeding $100,000 in medical bills from an unexpected illness or accident while adventuring in a foreign country. Unfortunately, this has been a reality for some who have not had the protection of travel insurance and ended up paying the entire cost on their credit card.

Travel insurance policies vary in price depending on what kind of coverage is desired, but even towards the lower range, you can receive up to $100,000 of medical evacuation and $50,000 of medical coverage per person. AARP makes the following points:

  • Buy from an online broker who will sell coverage from many providers rather than buying from travel agents, tour operators or cruise line reps. Some examples are travelinsurance.com and aardvarkcompare.com.
  • Differentiating factors such as destination, trip cost and age will all impact insurance prices, but it will generally cost between 4% and 8% of your total trip cost.
  • Consider if there are any specific scenarios you wish to protect for, then make sure that scenario is covered by the policy.
  • Don’t wait too long to buy travel insurance. You can buy trip insurance up until the day before you depart, but insurers often include benefits (such as pre-existing medical conditions) if you purchase your policy within one or two weeks of your initial trip deposit.

So, it’s not free, but many have found it worth every penny. You might just want to build it into your travel budget for that next adventure you’ve been dreaming about and saving for!

Written By Amanda Reynolds