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Travel Insurance For Seniors - Affordable Yet Comprehensive

A no-frills cheap travel insurance policy maybe all you need if you're planning a relatively inexpensive holiday to a safe destination and willing to travel without expensive possessions.

However, if you paid for a round the world trip and have put considerably effort into planning your holiday, then it may be wise to obtain a comprehensive travel insurance for seniors policy.

You of course have to agree to their specific insurance policy conditions before approval is allowed. Many quality travel insurance for seniors companies will tailor a policy to your personal circumstances but you'll pay a higher price for the privilege.

Not all travel insurance for seniors policies are the same.

If you're planning to obtain travel insurance for seniors then make sure that your level of cover matches the type of activities you and your family are planning to pursue on your overseas trip.

Ensure that the travel insurance for seniors policy you choose covers you if you need to cancel or shorten your holiday due to:

  1. Severe weather
    • - If a storm or another type of weather event damages your accommodation and thus cannot accommodate you or is unable to provide you with alternate accommodation, then you should be able to cancel your trip or obtain trip interruption benefits. In this case, you'll need to send a copy of your itinerary together with your travel insurance claim showing the details of your travel arrangements.

      Driving in snow

      Is it possible that flooding, heavy snowfalls/blizzards, severe storms or some other type of natural hazard (i.e. earthquake and/or tsunami) will occur at any point on your trip?

      Ensure that your travel insurance company will pay the associated costs of a missed connection if these types of natural hazards are the cause of the missed connection.

      Just beware of the fact that if natural hazards are common at your destination, then it's highly unlikely that the travel insurance company will pay for a missed connection.

      Also, nearly all travel insurance companies will not be willing to process a claim for a missed connection if you do not use the same mode of transport (as stated on your travel itinerary) that you were going to use before you filed the claim. That is, if you were originally taking a cruise and then decided to catch a flight to make up for lost time because of the missed connection then you would not have a valid claim.

      If you plan to travel during the official cyclone/hurricane/typhoon season to areas that are regularly threatened by such weather systems, then it's very important that your travel insurance policy covers you for this as well.

      What would you do if you were asked/forced to evacuate your accommodation because of personal safety concerns and had to relocate to a new location following the declaration of a cyclone/hurricane or typhoon warning. What happens if this new accommodation is unsuitable. Do you want to pay for it?

    Sick man
  2. Unexpected illness or accident - About 50% of travellers encounter some form of health and safety problem while they travelling to developing countries.

    The most common complaint you're likely to encounter is diarrhoea, headache, food poisoning, nausea and vomiting.

    While these can be treated at most small medical centres, you need to find out whether the healthcare resources at your holiday destination can adequately cope with more serious medical issues.

    Many developing countries do not have specialised medical and dental facilities and staff to cater for life threatening medical emergencies. While you wait for your travel insurance company to act upon your request for assistance, you'll be treated by local practioners who may or may not be equipped to deal with the situation.

  3. Personal liability -

    You may gain sympathy from a travel insurance company if you file a claim after you injure yourself or someone else in a car accident overseas if you accidently drove your rental car on the wrong side of the road.

    The key here is that a quality travel insurance for seniors policy will offer personal accident cover which will protect you if you accidentally injure someone or damage someone's property. However, if you fall off a balcony and suffer serious injuries since you were drunk or damage someone elses possessions whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs and state that you didn't know what you were doing, then it's highly unlikely that your claim will be accepted.

  4. Lost and/or theft of personal belongings -

    All travel insurance companies will ask you have to provide proof of ownership for the lost or stolen items. So before you travel, ensure that you can show photographic evidence as well as original receipts, warranty cards and credit card statements to prove that you own the item in question.

    Even after you provide all of this, you may asked to provide a statutory declaration attesting to ownership. If your items were stolen you'll need to go to a local police station and show them your photo ID and then file a police report and send this in with your travel insurance claim.

  5. Airline insolvency - You're most at risk if you pay for the fare directly through the airline rather than through a travel agent. If you plan to take advantage of an online discount airline fare, then make sure that your travel insurance policy covers you.

    If you're after a first-class travel insurance for seniors policy that covers airline insolvency, then you need to shop around.

    Never commit to buying travel insurance if you have not read all of their terms and conditions. The last thing you want is to be left stranded at an international airport with no financial means of paying for an alternative flight.

    One of the main causes of airline insolvency in recent times is the increase in the crude oil price. The price of crude oil has risen steadily from 2004 before peaking in 2008 and it's anticipated that the oil price will rise higher than 2008 values in the near future.

    Nearly all of the aviation fuel being used today is extracted from crude oil. The main problem is that aviation fuel accounts for just over 30% of the airline operating costs and so it's highly likely that these costs will be passed down to you, the passenger.

  6. Hospitalisation and financial stress because of a pre-existing medical condition - If you have a pre-existing medical condition (asthma or diabetes), ensure that your travel insurance company knows about it. Failure to disclose your full medical history to a travel insurer will mean that you're not insured and you maybe forced to pay for all the medical and associated costs if you do need urgent medical treatment whilst you're on holidays. There's only a small number of specialist travel insurance for seniors companies that provide policies that cover serious pre-existing medical conditions (i.e. cancer or renal/heart failure).

    If you have trouble finding a travel insurance for seniors policy that covers you, then you may even want to consider going to see an insurance broker. Just be aware that it's much less expensive if you put the effort into finding a specialist insurance company rather than letting the insurance broker do it for you. While there's no such thing as inexpensive travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition, just think about the financial stress you would be under if you required immediate medical treatment and didn't have this type of cover written into your travel insurance for seniors policy.

    If you received medical assistance while on a trip overseas, it's important to attach all your original medical, hospital or dental receipts with your travel insurance claim.

  7. Terrorism and hijacking - It is vital that your policy covers you for the whole time you're on vacation. What you need to do is check your countries Foreign Affairs travel advisories to see if the country or parts of that country you're planning to travel to is labelled as dangerous. That is, the advisory clearly states "Avoid non-essential travel or avoid all travel" to a country that you're planning to visit. If you do travel to a so-called unsafe country, most if not all travel insurance companies will not cover you if an official travel advisory warning is issued before your trip was booked.

As I have previously mentioned, travel insurance policies vary considerably and so you'll need to carefully read through the product disclosure statement to see if the policy suits your travel requirements. Most travel insurance companies offer a 14-day 'cooling off' period, during which time a full refund can be obtained if you feel that the policy is not suitable.

If you currently own a travel insurance for seniors policy and wish to change insurers, then unfortunately you'll be charged quite a high cancellation fee. The key is to make sure that you're thoroughly happy with the terms and conditions as well as the price of the travel policy before you commit to a particular travel insurance company and then you'll never have to worry about switching to a different insurer.

If you feel that you've been unfairly treated by your travel insurance company, then you can always get in contact with the Financial Ombudsman Service and ask them to check out your claim.

Many quality travel insurance for seniors companies provide excellent policies but you need to examine each insurer individually

Do you realise that some (not all) cheaper travel insurance companies use the services of a call centre since they don't have enough staff to deal with all of their policy holders?

The person who answers your call does not know if you're insured and so they will put you on hold while they contact the travel insurer. This can be problematic if you're calling from a location where you know phone calls are expensive.

Of course, you can email but that's impossible if your location does not have internet coverage or an internet cafe.

A quality travel insurance for seniors company can be contacted 24-hours a day no matter what country you're in. Do not obtain a travel insurance policy from a company that does not offer this. You don't want to be placed in a situation where you do need to call them at 3am and all you get is a pre-recorded message that asks you to leave your contact details and they'll get back to you. If the travel insurer is particularly bad you might have to wait until normal business hours to speak to anybody since the phone just rings out.

Also some cheaper travel insurance companies as well as those that provide travel insurance for seniors contract the services of a separate evacuation company if they need to relocate a person who needs urgent medical care. Some of the evacuation companies are slow or reluctant to respond straight away since they are undertaking other jobs at the time. You need to check that your travel insurer is well equipped to deal with this type of situation just for your own peace of mind.

Additional matters to consider

If you're physically unfit and plan to participate in a physically demanding outdoor activity while you're on holidays, then you're far more likely to make a travel insurance claim than someone who is already fit.

While most travel insurance for seniors companies will do all they can if you do need help, there is a limit to what they can do. Many people think they're entitled to special treatment just because they have travel insurance. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You'll still be in a situation where you have to wait before a travel insurer can act on your request.

You're far more likely to seek the services of a medical practioner while you're overseas for a minor illness if you are covered by travel insurance for two reasons:

  1. You're likely to be far more cautious about the possible implications of medical complications if you don't seek medical attention.
  2. You know that you don't have for the medical costs.

When you're on holidays, act as if you are uninsured. In that way you're far less likely to make risky decisions. Do not leave your luggage unattended thinking it will be safe. Never leave your luggage outside the public toilets at an airport. There should be no difference in your behaviour whether your insured or not.

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