When it comes to travelling, age is no bar. It may excite the inner wayfarer of a 25 year old or one over the age of 60. People in their old age are embarking on domestic and international tours and the ratio is growing rapidly. After their retirement, senior people want to spend quality time with their families residing abroad or in other states in India and travelling together with the family or dropping by for visits is the easiest way to nurture the family bonding. However, travelling comes with certain risks as well that, we can’t ignore and owing to their advanced age, senior citizens are prone to illnesses or health issues which need immediate attention. Some are not able to acclimatize to a new weather and environment in foreign lands. Contingencies are unpredictable, so it’s better to be prepared beforehand.
Senior citizen travel insurance is the only solution for all the qualms and misfortunes that may arise while travelling. As we already know, medical treatment expenses are considerably high in foreign lands and one hospitalisation is enough to wipe off a significant portion of your savings. With an adequate travel insurance plan, you can enjoy your trip without the mental stress. Senior citizen travel insurance schemes are specifically designed, keeping the needs of the elderly in mind so that they can safely travel whenever or wherever they want! It covers unplanned expenses when travelling such as, medical expenses, loss of checked-in baggage, trip cancellation etc.
Being an older traveller has its own perks. Firstly, the elderly have more spare time to invest on travelling and secondly, they have a comfortable income that allows them to afford adventure holidays. However senior citizens generally have a few pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from travelling, as they feel more vulnerable and fear hospitalisation abroad. Since nothing should stop us from living some of the best years of our life to the fullest here’s why you need senior citizen travel insurance that covers you for every possible eventuality.
When you’re at 60 or older, you’ll have to prepare yourself for a few reality checks. Foremost of which, is that the premium gets higher as you get older. It tends to escalate every 5 or 10 years. Conventionally, most insurance companies don’t cover you once you enter the magic age of 65, and if they do the premium is sky-high. They may, in fact, continue to increase the premiums as you cross 70. So, it is judicious to have one while you’re young. However, in this article we discuss why one should buy senior citizen plans and relevant facts:
Benefits of Senior Citizen Travel Plan
- Many travel insurers offer cashless benefits during hospitalisation. This can be a great boon for senior citizens while travelling.
- In case you lose your Passport or other important documents, loss of checked-in baggage, your insurance policy covers you for that as well.
- Expenses of medical evacuation to the homeland, the expenses incurred in a dental treatment, repatriation costs while sending the insured’s mortal body to India are covered.
- Availing medical caretaker services for senior citizens.
- One can avail compassionate benefits where if the insured is hospitalised for more than a specific period and the family members are visiting, the expenses of the family members are covered.
- Adequate compensation is offered in case of accidental death or permanent disability.
- Arrangement for emergency funds in case of theft.
- Special distress allowance is offered in case the flight is hijacked.
Keep the below-mentioned tips in your mind while buying travel insurance for your next trip:
Decide the sum assured keeping your health condition and budget in mind. It is advisable to choose a higher sum assured for countries like the USA as medical costs are comparatively higher there than in India.
Pre-existing Health Conditions
Always go for the plans that cover you for pre-existing illnesses like Diabetes, Heart diseases, BP etc. However, most travel insurance plans exclude life-threatening pre-existing conditions, while some offer limited coverage for the same. So, you can buy an add-on cover for critical illness.
At this age, many insurers opt for insurance plans with no medical tests. But bear in mind that, plans with medical examinations always offer better services and benefits with fewer claim hassles. If your trip is for a long duration, you should opt for senior citizen travel insurance plan with a medical test. This way you can keep a check on your health before heading to a new land, as it requires prior medical check-ups and doctors’ assurance before the trip.
Cancellation, Trip Delay and Curtailment
Look for the plans that cover trip delay, cancellation and curtailment. This way one can be financially safe in case of flight delay, cancellation or curtailment owing to the unforeseen reasons.
Avoid plans with Per Diseases/Accident Restriction
Don’t buy plans with per illness or limitations on the accidental cover. For instance, you could purchase a plan with a sum assured 1lakh with 20 thousand per illness limitation. In such a case, you will be eligible to claim only 20k per illness, though you are living under the impression of getting an insurance cover of 1 lakh when required.
Insure Your Home
This is needed when you are travelling for a long time and there is no one back here to look after your home building. It is necessary to buy a plan that offers protection against Burglary and safety of the building.
Policy Renewal Process
Always opt for plans that are renewable. Some insurers do not allow renewal of the policy if any claim is made during the policy tenure. It is a wise idea to purchase a policy with a maximum compliance with the expected trip period or if you expect your trip to be extended, it should be flexible.
Your policy premium is based on coverage amount, benefits that are offered, duration of your trip, age etc. However, the premium should not be your sole factor in buying any plan. If you are getting better benefits by paying a slightly higher premium than the normal one, there should not be any issue. Similarly, higher premiums don’t mean more benefits. So, first decide your requirements and research accordingly. This way you can deal with the best options only.
Exclusions are equally important to consider while buying a plan. Normally, in a senior citizen travel insurance plan, pre-existing illness, general medical check-ups, eye-related treatments, maternity and childcare benefits are not covered. However, different plans have different clauses regarding exclusions. So, read it thoroughly before opting for one.
While making a claim, you would be required to inform the insurer or Third Party Administrator (TPA) immediately. They have tie-ups with network hospitals globally, where you can receive cashless treatment or whatever your policy entitles you to.
Additional Benefit of Offered for Elderly Persons
Apart from the above benefits, senior citizen insurance plans have the following additional perks as well:
Enjoy Higher Tax Benefit: The elderly people get extra tax benefit on buying insurance be it travel or health. The health coverage offered in senior citizen travel insurance keeps one stress-free during a crisis. And, the premium paid for the policy is exempted from the tax deduction.
Earn Extra on FDs: Senior citizens can earn extra on Fixed Deposits. A senior citizen can earn up to 0.5% extra on rack rate.
Discount of Flights: Discounts for senior citizens are off and on the affair. Some airlines on frequent intervals offer a discount of flight tickets for the age group above 60. SpiceJet recently offered a flat 15% discount on base fare. For every discount, a defined travelling period is mentioned and one’s travel plan should fall within this time to avail the benefit.
Passport Verification: Normally, to obtain Passport, prior police verification is mandatory. When it comes to senior citizens, it can be done after issuing the Passport, subject to some conditions. By submitting an existing passport of their child residing abroad, senior citizens can avail police verification post-issuance.
Railway Concession: Those who want to travel within India; the good news is that Government has applied a concessional price for trains.
Don’t Forget to Compare
We always recommend that you compare the plans online. There are various online aggregator sites that help you compare the plans on different grounds. You just need to open the website, click on insurance calculator and compare the plans regarding benefits offered, features; claim process. Also, don’t buy a plan on the basis of sum assured or premium only. Do consider other influencing factors as well. You should look for claim ratio of the insurer; premium offered; benefits covered in a plan and finally make a decision. This way you can buy an informed senior citizen travel insurance plan, which meets all your travel time requirements.
Keep in mind that the claim procedures may differ insurer to insurer owing to so many different covers are clubbed in one single policy like trip cancellation, flight delay, medical expenditure, baggage loss etc. So, read the claim procedure thoroughly and be prepared with all required documents, contact the insurer immediately once you need to claim and follow the instructions. Have a safe flight!
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