Pakistan has a sizable population of senior citizen who travel to visit their children settled in different parts of the world. While traveling always has inherent risks and challenges, these are significantly higher for senior citizens. Whether minor accidents or emergencies, travelers must be financially protected in case of unfortunate events.
Why Is Travel Insurance Important?
With more senior citizens retiring, traveling is usually at the top of their to-do lists, temporarily or permanently. Many senior citizens take up traveling between Pakistan and other countries where their children live.
Senior travelers should be mentally prepared for medical emergencies. However, there are multiple issues that senior health insurance doesn’t cover. This includes medical care expenses outside of Pakistan.
Travel insurance is essential for senior citizens because they are more prone to accidents and illnesses. Travel insurance offers financial cover for medical costs and other incidental costs specific to traveling. It also covers minor issues like lost baggage or trip cancellations. Depending on the senior citizen’s insurance policy coverage, it also offers a safety net for any medical accidents, emergencies, and illnesses.
This is why senior travel insurance is essential for senior citizens looking to travel outside Pakistan.
Considerations When Choosing a Travel Insurance Plan
Senior citizens assessing travel insurance options for their next trip should consider the following important features:
Insurance policies offer diverse coverage options, depending on the premium paid. Some of the general medical coverage inclusions that travel health insurance for a senior citizen should have are:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Emergency dental expenses
- Medical evacuation
- Hospitalization cash allowance
- Body repatriation in case of death
- Accidental death
- Permanent disablement
Some insurance providers require medical checkup results for those 45 years and older buying travel insurance. While this varies by insurer, older adults should not discount the importance of getting regular doctor checkups even without the need for travel insurance.
Preexisting Condition Limitations
Travel insurance companies do not cover pre-existing medical conditions in their medical insurance. For example, senior citizens who have Parkinson’s may find themselves in the following situations:
- Getting their travel insurance denied
- Being charged drastically higher premiums
- Purchasing travel insurance with an explicit exception of reimbursement or coverage for any Parkinson’s-related cases
These issues are valid for most other preexisting conditions like arthritis and heart disease.
However, buyers can negotiate a medical condition exclusion waiver with their insurance company. This means the beneficiary is insured with their preexisting medical condition, subject to conditions and requirements.
Personal liability coverage lets senior citizens be protected for any amount they incur in case of involvement in third-party damage. This includes bodily injury or property damage to a third party. Personal liability also covers legal and compensation costs.
Stolen or Destroyed Luggage
There is a growing trend of baggage loss and damage, so a clause covering this issue should be a part of your travel insurance policy. The cover should include reimbursement of destroyed, lost, or stolen luggage.
Most insurance policies place caps on reimbursement limits for baggage clauses. So avoid putting costly items on your luggage (like laptops or jewelry). If you need to travel with these items, ensure they are included in your travel insurance policy.
Trip Delays and Cancellations
Some form of trip delays and cancellations are unavoidable. This is why travel insurance policies should have a reimbursement clause for trip delays and cancellations, so you don’t have to pay for cancellations from your pocket.
The time delay and cause for trip reimbursements differ by insurance policy. So, reading the fine print on exclusions and exceptions is necessary, not only for trip cancellations but also for the entire insurance policy.
Age Limits for Travel Insurance
There are no age restrictions for getting travel insurance. Some companies have travel insurance plans specifically for seniors aged 60 years old and above, depending on the insurance policy set by the insurer.
However, most senior citizens’ policies are priced according to their higher risk. This makes travel insurance much more expensive than for those under 45. The premiums begin to rise for beneficiaries that are aged 45 and above.
Travel Insurance Premiums for Senior Citizens
While travel insurance premiums start to rise for people aged 45 and above, you can get some travel insurance for cheaper rates based on the insurance chosen and coverage clauses added. For frequent travelers, opting for an annual travel plan, ideally coupled with a general health insurance policy to get yearlong coverage, is advisable.
This will be much more affordable than buying individual travel insurance per trip.
Travel insurance is an expensive option but compared to the actual costs of medication and hospitalization for medical emergencies during international travel, it is significantly cheaper.
People should be attentive in choosing the best travel insurance policy for senior citizens. It should fit their needs and provide adequate medical coverage to preexisting medical conditions.