Skip to main content

Retirement PlanningTravel with Confidence: Senior Travel Insurance, Explained


This article was reviewed by Jay Brecknell, CFP®.

When you retire, everyone asks the same question: what are you going to do with all your free time? For most of us, the answer is automatic, and years of untaken trips and dream vacations burst to the surface answering the question immediately. But turning those dreams into reality in your retirement years requires planning. Depending on what age you retire and your current state of health, your next big adventure will require more forethought than a simple click and confirm. Travelling as a senior is an exciting time, but in order to travel with confidence, you need to have the proper travel insurance.

Travel Insurance for Seniors 

Multiple types of travel insurance are essential for all travellers, but today we’re going to focus on emergency medical insurance and travel accident insurance for seniors. Firstly, emergency medical insurance is your basic, essential insurance that covers the cost of medical emergencies, hospital stays, and medical transportation. Secondly, travel accident insurance provides coverage in case of serious injury or accidental death while travelling. Both of these types of insurance get more expensive as you age, with premiums increasing, and can become harder to obtain due to increased risk and age-related health concerns.

So, what do you need to know about travel insurance if you’re planning to travel as a senior? Let’s take a look.

Age Restrictions

Most insurers enforce age restrictions when it comes to travel insurance due to liability concerns or they limit coverage over a certain age. Other insurance providers have age brackets that determine pricing, with premiums increasing as you age. Because there are fewer insurers offering travel insurance policies for seniors, they are often more expensive, and the coverage is limited. Before you purchase travel insurance, consult with an insurance agent or broker (or several–it’s useful to shop around!) who specializes in travel insurance for seniors—especially if you have a pre-existing condition or your health has recently changed. They’ll be able to source the most cost-effective yet comprehensive policy for your specific needs, addressing your unique situation to bring you additional peace of mind.

Pre-Existing Conditions

You should always be upfront about any pre-existing medical conditions you have when purchasing travel insurance, however, there are also some important pieces of fine print to consider. Every policy has a pre-existing clause which can cover 30/60/90 days before travel, with some policies covering a longer term. Factors falling under that pre-existing condition umbrella can be as simple as a medication change. Minor treatments or changes in medication dosage, removing medication, or taking new medication can activate this clause and result in higher premiums, coverage limitations, or additional medical assessments. 

It’s important to start the insurance process early on so you’re aware of your policy’s pre-existing conditions clause, allowing you time to time to make any of these small medical changes outside of the window. Some policies allow you to buy out the pre-existing clause, and this is an option you can talk with your provider about if it applies to your circumstances.

If you have a serious medical condition, you may be required to undergo medical evaluation to qualify for coverage, and the coverage—if you do qualify—may be quite expensive. Compare quotes from different providers to find the best and most comprehensive policy, but be prepared for higher costs, higher deductibles, and limited coverage.

Length of Coverage

To keep costs down, you’re going to want to make a game plan when it comes to your trips in retirement. The length of each trip can dramatically change the cost of your medical coverage, with longer trips incurring a higher cost. Wondering why? Long trips result in higher premiums due to the greater potential for incidents to occur, making shorter trips easier to get travel medical insurance for. You’ll also want to ensure your insurance policy covers not only the duration of your trip, but potential delays and even trip extensions.

Travelling as a Senior is all About Planning

Travelling once you retire is an exciting opportunity, and if you want to make the most out of your budget, you’re going to want to plan ahead. From anticipating increased medical insurance costs to booking your more adventurous trips in your early retirement to keep premiums down, there are numerous tips and tricks to keep you checking all those dream vacations off your bucket list. If you are unsure of who to talk with about travel insurance, give us a call. Together we can come up with a plan, allowing you to properly anticipate and budget for the cost of travel insurance in your retirement.

If you’re interested in learning more about retirement planning or if you’d like some light reading, check out our resources for how to create a bucket list and the 15 best places to travel in retirement.