Travel Insurance: What Boomers Need to Know

Baby Boomers continue to drive trends in travel, perhaps the biggest is in the travel insurance category, which sees $3.5 billion purchases  in the U.S. annually and is expected to grow more in 2018.

“The travel insurance industry is entering a period of high growth set by a confluence of factors, which together shift the way travelers view the need to protect their trip investments,” says Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com.

Catastrophic disruptions by Mother Nature and unpredictable political events, including terrorist activities are fueling much of the attention in this sector. In fact, since 2012, travel insurance has been growing consistently at more than ten percent (10%) per year.

Boomer travel will continue to increase, leading to greater purchases of travel insurance. Baby boomers, who represent one of the largest demographics, are entering their retirement years, and one of the first things retirees do is travel. This will be a significant driver for travel insurance purchases in 2018 and over the next decade. This demographic represents the ideal travel insurance consumer – high levels of discretionary spending with the time and desire to see the world. They are also conscious about their health.

While travel can be complicated at any age, retirees are faced with additional considerations, especially when it comes to medical coverage,” says Sandberg. “There are not only ways to save on these travel insurance policies, but also things to keep in mind to ensure they take care of unforeseen circumstances.”

Here are five things retirees should consider when purchasing travel insurance:

Medicare doesn’t provide coverage outside the United States

Health care received outside the U.S. is generally not covered under standard Medicare plans. Travel insurance can provide emergency travel medical coverage with limits that can reach $250,000 per person or more. For extreme situations where an overseas hospital can’t handle the emergency, most travel insurance plans offer Emergency Evacuation coverage with limits up to $1.0 million per person. Retirees planning to travel overseas multiple times a year should consider purchasing Medicare supplement insurance or a Medigap plan. However, since Medigap plans can have deductibles, lifetime coverage limits up to $50,000, and limits on the length of trip, most retiree travelers may find single-trip travel insurance a better option.

Purchase travel insurance early to qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver

Most travel insurance plans will exclude coverage for losses that stem from a pre-existing condition. However, many plans offer a Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver (meaning pre-existing conditions will be covered). To qualify, one must meet certain requirements, the most important being to purchase the travel insurance plan within a strict time window – usually 7 to 21 days – from when the initial payment was made. Also, travelers typically need to insure 100% of their pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, this is one of the most important considerations in purchasing a plan: prior injuries, illnesses, diseases or other types of medical conditions where treatment or care was sought in the 6-12 month period prior to the policy effective date all fall into this category. Travelers should speak to a licensed agent to see if they qualify for a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver or read full coverage details prior to buying.

When traveling with a group, travelers can save money with Group Travel Plans

Some Group Travel Plans do not factor in traveler ages when pricing the cost of travel insurance, which can make plans more affordable to older travelers. Typically, to qualify for this coverage, the group must include at least 10 individuals all traveling on the same itinerary on similar dates. Group plans are also designed for easy administration by a group leader who can manage sign-ups and changes on behalf of each individual.

Trip Cancellation provides greater flexibility for those who need it

Unlike Medigap coverage, travel insurance can offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage. This coverage can cover the reimbursement of trip costs due to a range of unexpected circumstances, from last-minute illnesses to severe weather and natural disasters. For the most flexibility, travelers may consider purchasing a plan with a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade, which provides reimbursement for up to 75% of the total trip costs for a cancellation for any reason, as long as the cancellation occurs more than 48 hours prior to the trip departure date. This benefit is usually only available if the policy is purchased within 7-21 days of the initial trip payment and 100% of pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs are insured.

Travelers can buy insurance for adventurous activities

Just because travelers are retired doesn’t mean they aren’t adventurous. For the active or adventure traveler, there are plans that offer Hazardous or Adventure Sports coverage, which provide coverage for higher risk activities, such as heli-skiing, off-trail snowboarding, bungee jumping, rock climbing or SCUBA diving below a certain depth. If travel entails any of those activities, travelers will need travel insurance plans that offers coverage for those specific activities.

 

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