Travel insurance for seniors – what Aussies should know

Travel insurance for seniors - what Aussies should know

Among them is the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), which has reminded Australians that travel insurance is as essential as their passports if they intend to go abroad.

“You can’t leave Australia without a passport, and you shouldn’t leave Australia without travel insurance,” said ICA chief executive officer Andrew Hall in a statement. “Travel insurance remains essential for all the reasons it was pre-pandemic – to provide protection when the unexpected occurs far from home.”

Read more: What Australians should consider when buying travel insurance amid COVID-19 pandemic

Travel insurance, however, works differently when a person reaches a more senior age as the risks, particularly those health-related, become more pronounced.

Several personal finance websites have laid down ways on how Australian seniors can make the most of their travel insurance plans. But before they do, there are a few things that people in this age group need to understand about this tailored coverage. Here are some of the most common questions seniors ask, along with the answers from industry specialists.

How does travel insurance for seniors work?

Seniors’ travel insurance works just like a regular policy, but with benefits that are more suited to travellers who have reached senior age. The main differences, according to the comparison website Finder, are the amount of medical care and types of pre-existing conditions covered, as well as coverage for children and grandchildren travelling with them.

Money-saving advisory website Mozo categorised travel policies for seniors into the following types:


Basic travel insurance: As the name suggests, this provides basic coverage, including for medical emergencies, lost luggage, and cancellations. Some policies come with age limits, meaning when a person reaches a certain age, 75-years old, for example, they may not be eligible.
Comprehensive travel insurance: This offers a broader range of coverage, including those for pre-existing medical conditions. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies also have a higher age limit, sometimes up to 100 years or even older.
Single-trip travel insurance: This provides coverage for a single holiday or trip.
Multi-trip travel insurance: Also called annual travel insurance, this type of policy provides cover for multiple destinations within the year. Maximum trip length limits vary, usually ranging from 15 to 90 days.
Domestic travel insurance: This covers trips within Australia.

As with most policies, seniors’ travel insurance comes with a cooling-off period within which a policyholder can cancel coverage and get a refund. Depending on the insurance provider, this may last for a few days or weeks, although travellers are often required to cancel the policy before the trip starts.

Who qualifies as a senior?

There is no industry standard definition for a “senior” when it comes to travel insurance, Mozo adds. Typically, the age limit or other requirements vary from insurer to insurer, so it is best to get those details from each provider.

What should seniors’ travel insurance cover?

Price comparison website Compare the Market advised seniors searching for the right travel insurance policy to consider coverage for the following before purchasing:


Overseas medical costs, notably emergency transportation
Cancellation and delayed travel expenses, including alternative accommodation
Loss, damage, and theft of luggage and personal items
Personal liability

Read more: Trip cancellations to coronavirus hotspots unlikely to be insured

What pre-existing medical conditions does seniors’ travel insurance cover?

Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions varies from insurer to insurer, although most seniors’ travel insurance policies provide cover for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Some insurers impose sub-age limits for certain illnesses.

Insurance companies also have different restrictions and exclusions regarding particular conditions. Some carriers, for example, do not provide cover for stroke survivors who had incidents in the past five years, while some require only an incident-free period of two years.

One common advice experts have for Aussie seniors looking for travel insurance is to be upfront when declaring any pre-existing condition.

“You’re obligated to disclose any pre-existing conditions to your insurer before you leave on your trip.” Compare the Market explained. “Otherwise, your insurer may refuse to compensate you for any claim that’s related to your condition. When you disclose your pre-existing conditions, your insurer can factor this into your policy, although potentially at an extra cost. A travel insurance policy covering your pre-existing conditions can be a huge relief for travellers.”

“Tell your insurer about any condition you have or think you may have,” Finder added. “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.”

Read more: Travel insurance failing to keep pace with modern travellers – AIG

How does age impact travel insurance policies for seniors?

Different insurers impose different maximum age limits on their policies. While some providers set the limit as low as 65-years old, others will cover senior citizens aged 100 years or even older.

But because the risk of illness and injury increases as a person ages, the cost of cover likewise rises as they grow older. Once a traveller reaches 60 years of age, many insurers start applying an age loading to the policy.

“Irrespective of how active you are, many insurers add significant age loadings to policies and may limit the levels of cover that are available to elderly travellers,” the insurance comparison website Compare Travel Insurance noted. “So, even if you’re a young at heart traveller you might find your travel insurance is quoted based on age bands, rather than personal circumstances.”

How can seniors save on travel insurance?

Premiums for seniors’ travel insurance are generally priced higher than regular policies because of the risk level. However, there are still ways in which older travellers can save. Here are some tips from Finder:


Consider specialist insurance providers as these may be able to offer affordable policies.
Look for free cover for dependants. Some insurers provide free coverage for dependents up to a certain age, usually between 18 and 21.
Research and compare multiple policies.
Avail of discounts and coupons.

Which insurers offer the best travel policies for seniors?

Different insurers provide different levels of cover. Here are some of the top insurance companies in Australia offering travel policies for seniors. The list is arranged alphabetically. All details are up to date as of April 2022.




Insurer



Policy



COVID-19 medical cover



COVID-19 cancellation cover



Overseas medical cover



Cancellation cover







1Cover



Comprehensive



Yes



No



Unlimited



Unlimited





Australian Seniors



Top



No



No



Unlimited



$5,000 with option to increase to unlimited





Cover-More



Comprehensive



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



Policyholder can choose level of cover





Fastcover



Comprehensive



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



Unlimited





InsureandGo



Gold



No



No



Unlimited



Unlimited





RACV



Comprehensive



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



Unlimited





Southern Cross



Single Journey



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



$5,000





Travel Insurance Saver



Comprehensive



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



$5,000 with option to increase to unlimited





World2Cover



Top



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



Unlimited





World Care



Comprehensive



Yes



Yes



Unlimited



Unlimited