Seniors looking for travel insurance don’t need to feel limited by their age since there are plenty of brands that cover people over 80 and a few that don’t have an age limit at all. Get peace of mind knowing that you can travel without worrying about overseas medical expenses, accidents or theft. Just make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions and any activities you plan to do, such as cruising or hot air ballooning, to make sure you’re protected.
Here’s how to find the best seniors travel insurance
We recommend getting a policy that offers comprehensive coverage and includes the following as part of your travel insurance plan when you’re elderly.
Emergency medical evacuation. The cost of sending you home or to the nearest medical facility for treatment during an emergency will be covered.
Overseas medical expenses cover. If something happens to you while you’re away requiring you to go to local doctors or hospitals, you’ll be reimbursed for all eligible medical costs.
Local medical expenses cover. This benefit will ensure that you’re reimbursed for the medical expenses you incur in Singapore when you return from your trip (within a certain time frame)
Trip cancellation or disruption. If something happens to you or a family member before you leave and requiring you to cancel your trip, this benefit will help cover the costs until the stated limit.
Coverage for delays. If you require an additional night’s hotel, for example, if you have a change in your schedule, your policy will cover the extra cost.
What is seniors travel insurance?
Seniors travel insurance is a regular policy that has benefits more suited to senior travellers, including the following:
Cover for pre-existing medical conditions
Increased age limits
Cover for health care and accidents overseas
Cover for your immediate family if they’re travelling with you
Travel insurance for seniors with pre-existing conditions
A pre-existing condition is an ongoing medical condition that you are aware of, even if you’re only aware of the symptoms. If you’ve been treated by a doctor, had surgery or have taken medication for any conditions or symptoms prior to your policy’s start date, you will need to declare your condition to the insurer if you want to be covered.
Here are a few key points you should be aware of when searching for the right policy for seniors:
Cover costs more for seniors. Unfortunately, the risk of illness and injury is higher as you age, so the cost of cover also increases as you grow older. Once you reach 60 years of age, many insurers will start applying an age loading to your policy.
Fewer pre-existing conditions covered. Some pre-existing conditions that are automatically covered for younger travellers may not be covered for travellers 70 years or older. For example, some insurers won’t cover seniors for claims that arise due to asthma.
Terms and conditions differ between insurers. Different insurers impose different restrictions and exclusions on cover for seniors with pre-existing conditions. For example, some insurers only cover conditions such as asthma, eczema, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. This means that if you suffered a stroke previously, you may not be eligible for cover.
Age limits apply. Insurers impose maximum age limits on their policies, so you’ll need to check the fine print to make sure you’re eligible for cover. While some providers set this limit as low as 65 years of age, others will cover you regardless of age.
Disclose everything. Don’t be tempted to save on the cost of cover by withholding information from your insurer. Disclose all the details of your pre-existing conditions when you apply for a policy.
How does medical screening for travel insurance work?
The easiest way to declare a pre-existing medical condition is to complete an online medical questionnaire, which is the same thing as medical screening. This is usually done just before you confirm your policy to make sure you’re getting the right level of cover. Depending on your condition, you might be asked a few simple questions, but questions can get more detailed. If you don’t have access to the Internet, most insurers can conduct medical screening over the phone as well.
If your condition is more serious, your insurer may require you to obtain a doctor’s report, undergo a medical examination or fill out a detailed medical assessment form. Critical information required in such a document can include the following:
Personal details such as height, weight, age and smoking status
General health questions such as how mobile you are and the amount of exercise you do
Medical information such as pre-existing conditions (including date of diagnosis and medications prescribed) and details of recent health treatment or hospitalisation (if any)
Your insurer may also require you to have your doctor sign your assessment form before you submit it and to declare in writing whether you are considered to be fit to travel.
When declaring a pre-existing medical condition…
Be upfront. Tell your insurer about any condition you have or think you may have. If you make a medical claim and it’s not related to a condition you’ve told them about, they will investigate to find out if it was pre-existing or not. If it can be proven that you’ve experienced symptoms, they might consider it to be a pre-existing condition.
Take the assessment. If the insurer isn’t sure how serious the condition is, they may want you to take an assessment before they can approve you. Sometimes this is as easy as answering a few questions online. In other cases, you may need to provide medical certificates and/or do a short physical.
Keep your options open. Each insurer has different rules for different pre-existing medical conditions. For example, some insurers will not cover you for heart diseases, while others do. If one insurer doesn’t want to cover you, there’s a good chance that another one does.
Yes, brands such as NTUC Income and MSIG don’t have an age limit on their policies, but you might be restricted to a maximum trip duration. You’ll also have to declare any pre-existing medical conditions.
Yes. Most insurers will cover dependents (children) for free as long as they are travelling with you. Depending on your chosen insurer, they’ll usually provide cover if they’re under 21 and not working full-time.
You can access a full range of policies for international travel insurance, comprehensive or basic cover, and single-trip or annual multi-trip cover. However, you should be aware that stricter age caps apply to some policies, for example, annual multi-trip travel insurance.
Specialist seniors insurance providers are specifically set up to meet the needs of older travellers, so you may find the application process with these providers runs more smoothly than with other companies. Just remember that these brands have the same underwriters and the same terms and conditions as other travel insurance brands, so there will often be no real difference in the cover provided.
Many insurers add a loading to your premium based on your age bracket or reduce your maximum cover benefit, so living an active and healthy lifestyle won’t necessarily lower your premium with these insurers.
We recommend that you buy cover as soon as you book your trip. This way, you can take advantage of trip cancellation cover from the moment you purchase your policy.
Yes. Cover is available for trip cancellation costs and non-refundable deposits in these circumstances.
An expensive set of golf clubs can cost more than your policy’s “lost, stolen or damaged items” cover will allow for. In this situation, you’d have two choices:
Take out high-value items cover. This is an additional add-on that allows you to cover specific items that have a value higher than your policy’s standard benefit limits. It will cover lost, stolen or damaged golf clubs or anything else you decide to have covered.
Take out a golf trip add-on (if your travel policy doesn’t already include this). This covers your clubs in the same way high-value items cover would, but it also covers missed greens fees and lost or stolen hire equipment. It may even have “hole-in-one” cover. This entitles you to a round of drinks if you sink your first shot. But remember… no mulligans!
Zyane Tan is an associate editor at Finder. An experienced copywriter and content creator, Zyane enjoys writing on a wide array of subjects. When she’s not busy typing away, she’s reading and musing over a pint.
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