The Best Travel Insurance Options for Seniors [Ages 65, 70, and Over 80]

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Our senior years can be some of the most exciting years of our lives. If we’re fortunate, we’ll now have the time, and hopefully, the resources, to make our travel dreams come true.

As we age, however, traveling may pose some additional risks. We may be more likely to have health-related issues and therefore the need to seek medical attention during our journey. We may also have occasions where we need to cancel our plans due to health issues or the health of those around us.

Now, more than ever, we need to think seriously about purchasing travel insurance. The good news is that comprehensive travel insurance, regardless of your age, is widely available and relatively affordable. With that being said, chances are you could use a little help getting started with the process of finding and purchasing the right plan.

If you’re 65 years of age or older and thinking about purchasing travel insurance, don’t pull the trigger without reviewing the information in today’s article on travel insurance options for seniors.

Why Purchase Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can protect you from financial loss due to unforeseen events that can cause you to cancel your trip or disrupt your trip once it’s in progress. As we age and our health declines, we may be more likely to experience such an event.

Travel insurance can cover the following situations:

  • You, a family member, or travel companion becomes seriously ill and you must cancel your trip
  • You slip and fall while traveling abroad, require medical care, and are forced to stay in a foreign city until you can travel again
  • You are on safari and break your ankle, requiring emergency evacuation to the nearest hospital

The types of coverage you can expect to find on travel insurance policies include the following:

You may also elect to add coverage such as cancel for any reason insurance (CFAR), a waiver for preexisting conditions, or car rental insurance.

What You Need to Know About Age and Travel Insurance

Ambulance Hospital Entrance
Purchasing travel insurance makes sense at any age, but especially if you’re a senior. Image Credit: Tana888 via Shutterstock

It’s possible to purchase travel insurance at just about any age. If you’re healthy enough to travel, you’ll generally be able to find coverage. You’ll normally be paying more to purchase coverage as you get older, however, and most policies may have preexisting health stipulations.

The Cost of Travel Insurance

As age increases, so does the cost of purchasing travel insurance. The good news, however, is that premiums tend to vary widely between companies who offer policies for older travelers, so it pays to compare.

The easiest way to compare policies is via insurance comparison sites such as SquareMouth, InsureMyTrip, or TravelInsurance.com. Travel comparison sites make it easy to compare travel insurance policy pricing and coverage options for all ages.

We’ve used these sites to find most of the comparison quotes provided in this article.

Preexisting Conditions

As we age, we’re more likely to have preexisting health conditions, which can be excluded from most travel insurance policies. Once again, the good news is that preexisting condition exclusions are generally limited to a specified timeframe previous to the effective date of your policy.

If you have shown symptoms or been treated within a specified time period before your trip, usually 90 to 120 days, your condition may not be covered for certain coverages such as trip interruption, cancellation, or emergency medical. Each company’s requirements may differ.

Also on a positive note is that many insurers allow you to purchase a preexisting condition waiver when you purchase your policy.

Travel Insurance and Medicare

Couple with Medicare
Medicare and health insurance may not be enough to cover you while traveling. Image Credit: Medicare

Health insurance may or may not cover medical costs abroad. And even if there is coverage, evacuation costs may not be included. The same scenario exists with Medicare.

Medicare will not cover medical expenses incurred abroad. There are very limited situations where Medicare may grant coverage, such as if you reside in the U.S. and a foreign hospital (such as a Canadian hospital) is closer to your residence than the U.S. hospital, or you’re traveling through Canada to reach another U.S. state or territory. Also, several terms and conditions apply.

There are Medicare supplement policies you can purchase that can cover you while traveling abroad. You’ll pay a standard $250 deductible, have coverage for 80% of eligible expenses beyond that amount, and have a lifetime cap of $50,000 in coverage.

So even if you have Medicare, a Medicare supplement, or other health insurance policy, there can still be plenty of gaps in coverage when you’re traveling abroad.

For this reason, and the need for additional coverage such as trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage coverage, and more, it’s prudent to purchase travel insurance.

Bottom Line: Medicare will generally not cover medical expenses when you’re traveling outside of the U.S. and its territories and Medicare supplement and Advantage policies provide limited coverage. Travel insurance is a wise choice for covering medical expenses and for other travel-related events that could cause you to cancel your trip or disrupt your journey in progress. 

COVID-19 and Travel Insurance

As we advance in age, the chance we will need to cancel a trip due to health-related issues increases. Fortunately, most travel insurance policies cover trip cancellations due to illness. However, travel insurance policies do not cover voluntary cancellations such as canceling your trip due to the fear of getting sick.

Cancel for any reason insurance (CFAR), when added to a travel insurance policy, will allow you to cancel your trip for any reason you deem necessary. It will even cover you if you simply decide not to go.

While CFAR insurance allows you to cancel your trip for any reason, including COVID-19-related issues, the coverage will not reimburse 100% of your costs. The coverage can only be purchased when you purchase your travel insurance or for a short window following the purchase. CFAR insurance can also be expensive.

Our article on COVID-19-related trip cancellations goes into a lot more detail.

Best Travel Insurance Options — Ages 65 to 69

Priorities change as we change and as a result, we may have different insurance needs at age 65 than we do at age 80. Here are some examples of travel insurance plans that might be a fit for travelers age 65-69.

World Nomads — Best For Active Seniors

If you’re under age 70, you’ll find comprehensive travel insurance coverage with World Nomads. What sets World Nomads apart from other insurance providers is that they’re experts at insuring active travelers who participate in adventurous activities.

While World Nomads does not offer CFAR insurance, COVID-19 is not excluded as an illness for trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage.

World Nomads only insures those travelers under age 70 and refers older travelers to its partner TripAssure.

For a traveler 68 years of age, traveling to the Netherlands for 8 days, with a total trip cost of $3,000, here are some sample costs.

World Nomads Quote
A single-trip travel insurance policy may be all you need to cover your journey. Image Credit: World Nomads

The main differences in these plans are that the Explorer Plan covers an expanded collection of over 200 covered adventurous activities, has higher limits for trip interruption/cancellation/delay and emergency evacuation, and includes rental car insurance.

Secure your own quote from World Nomads.

Allianz — Best for Annual Multi-Trip Policies

Allianz simplifies purchasing travel insurance with its offerings of travel insurance package policies. You can select from single trip policies with several levels of coverage options or annual multi-trip policies that cover every trip you make during the policy period, even ones you haven’t yet planned.

If you travel frequently, or even a few times each year, purchasing an annual, multi-trip plan could be a cost-effective way to protect all your trips.

Allianz Annual Plan
Cover all your trips for an entire year with an annual multi-trip plan. Image Credit: Allianz

To learn more about Allianz and its policy offerings, you’ll want to check out our review for details.

Hot Tip: Be sure to compare the price of an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy to a single-trip plan, even if you are only currently planning 1 trip. You may find a better value in the annual multi-trip policy and not have to purchase additional coverage if you should decide to travel again during the policy period. 

Best for Covering COVID-19 Cancellations

Many policies will cover trip cancellation due to getting the virus but none will cover cancellation due to the fear of getting the virus. To cover cancellations based on the fear of COVID-19, you’ll need a policy that allows you to add CFAR insurance.

The following are just a sampling of companies that offer this option on their policies.

  • John Hancock
  • Seven Corners
  • Tin Leg
  • Travelex
  • TRAWICK

Please note that not every policy these companies offer allows you to add CFAR coverage.

For more information on travel insurance covering COVID-19, we’ve put together an informative article.

Best Travel Insurance Options — Ages 70 to 79

There are a lot of reasons to embrace the wanderlust and travel in your 70s. By then, many have retired and perhaps have more money to spend on travel. There can also be a sense of urgency to travel while we’re still healthy.

As we’ve mentioned, however, as we age we are more apt to have health issues. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean we’ll be unable to purchase travel insurance. Even into our 70s, we’ll have plenty of travel insurance options, and coverage can still be affordable.

Best for Preexisting Conditions

Since travel insurance is meant to protect you from unforeseen events, having a preexisting health condition may rule out any chance of coverage for that issue. However, several companies allow you to purchase a waiver so that preexisting health conditions can be covered.

Here are just a few companies that offer this waiver:

Each company has its own requirements for adding a preexisting condition waiver to your policy. You must purchase the policy within a specific time period, such as within 14 to 30 days after making your first trip deposit payment. You may also be required to insure the entire cost of your trip and your health must be medically stable when purchasing the coverage.

Best Travel Insurance Options — Age 80 and Above

Age 80 with CFAR
Prices for comprehensive travel insurance can vary widely between companies. Image Credit: SquareMouth

As a senior, it becomes more and more likely that we will actually have to use our travel insurance coverage as we age. However, even at age 80 or beyond, you’ll still find travel insurance widely available and relatively affordable. Some companies are willing to insure older travelers but charge higher premiums, so it’s wise to compare the pricing of several providers.

Above you’ll find a sampling of 4 SquareMouth quotes for single-trip travel insurance policies that include CFAR insurance for a traveler 80 years of age. The trip’s total cost was stated at $3,000 and was 8 days in length. Quotes ranged from $382 (Seven Corners) to well over $1,000 to insure the trip (not all quotes are shown). Coverage limits can also vary greatly, so it can be beneficial to compare policy limits.

If you’re looking to purchase travel insurance and you’re 80 years of age or older, it’s imperative to compare policies for the best pricing and coverage.

Hot Tip: Seniors ages 65 to 99 who are not interested in CFAR (cancel for any reason) insurance, may consider an annual multi-trip travel insurance plan. Allianz is a company that charges the same premium, regardless of age, for its annual plans for travelers ages 65 to 99

Credit Card Travel Insurance

Senior Travel
Image Credit: pasja1000 via Pixabay

There is 1 type of travel insurance that will cover you, regardless of age. U.S.-issued credit cards come with various types of travel insurance coverages that apply to all primary cardholders.

Typical travel insurance coverage found on credit cards includes the following:

Premium credit cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® card also come with valuable emergency evacuation coverage. Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is known for its comprehensive travel insurance benefits, including primary car rental insurance.

To learn more about which credit cards come with travel coverage, check out our article on the best credit cards for travel insurance benefits.

Bottom Line: The travel insurance benefits that come with U.S.-issued credit cards do not generally have age limits for coverage. However, many credit card travel benefits may be secondary to other insurance you might have. This means that you might first have to file a claim with your own insurance before the credit card insurance is valid. 

Final Thoughts

As seniors, purchasing travel insurance should be a priority for protecting your investment and preventing losses you might incur due to unexpected medical expenses during your travels.

With wide availability, regardless of age, it’s not only a prudent economic move, but it’s also a move that delivers peace of mind before and during your trip.

Finally, always make sure to compare policies as coverages and prices vary widely between travel insurance providers.

You can learn more about the best travel insurance companies for travelers and the basics of travel insurance in our informative articles.


Frequently asked questions

What is the best travel insurance for seniors over 65?

Since travel insurance is widely available, even for seniors over 65, the best policy can be found by comparing companies and policies.

Using a travel insurance comparison site such as SquareMouth, InsureMyTrip, or TravelInsurance.com can assist you in comparing coverages and costs between only highly-rated financially stable travel insurance companies.

If you travel more than once per year, consider an annual, multi-trip, policy that covers any trip you take during the policy period.

Does travel insurance cover COVID-19?

Travel insurance is meant to cover unforeseen events. Once COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, it became a known event and is not covered as a reason for canceling your trip plans.

However, there are situations where COVID-19-related claims can be covered. If you become ill with the virus before or during your trip, you may be covered for trip cancellation, trip interruption, or emergency medical.

Does travel insurance cover preexisting medical conditions?

A standard travel insurance policy does not cover ongoing preexisting health conditions. However, many companies will insure you if you have a condition that is stabilized with medicine and no recent treatment has been sought. Requirements vary by travel insurance provider.

Also, many companies allow you to purchase a waiver that will then cover you for preexisting conditions.

Does credit card travel insurance cover flight cancellations?

The trip cancellation, interruption, or delay coverage that comes with your credit card does not cover voluntary flight cancellations.

The coverage does cover some flight cancellations due to unforeseen events such as becoming ill prior to, or during your trip. Coverage varies by credit card issuer but you will find a list of specific covered events in your card’s guide to benefits.

You can also call the number on the back of your card and speak with the claim administer.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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