June 24, 2024

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Best senior travel insurance 2024

14 min read

A canceled flight, illness, injury, lost luggage or natural disaster can wreck your travel budget and plans. That’s why it’s important to purchase travel insurance before leaving home. Senior citizens can face travel challenges that younger travelers don’t, like sudden illness or unexpected family emergencies.

We’ve analyzed dozens of insurers and plans, comparing cancellation terms, coverages and premiums to find the best senior travel insurance. Along the way, we’ve found a few travel insurance packages that offer affordable prices, exceptional emergency medical coverage and outstanding trip cancellation and interruption protections.

Methodology



To identify the top travel companies for seniors, we examined almost 800 data points across 21 travel insurance plans from 14 companies, 16 categories and five bespoke formulas that helped us get a sense of how companies performed across multiple areas of categories such as premium value and travel delays. We then used that data and our editorial judgment to select our winners. Read our full methodology here.

Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice

Best for emergency medical coverage

Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice

Why we picked it

Among the travel insurance packages we studied, Seven Corners’ RoundTrip Choice plan offers the highest emergency medical protection, up to $500,000 in medical emergency coverage and up to $1 million in medical evacuation protection. Meanwhile, the group average was $244,048 for emergency medical coverage and $785,714 for medical evacuation coverage. The plan also earned the highest overall score in our analysis.

Pros

  • Highest-rated company
  • Excellent premium value
  • High CFAR reimbursement rate

Cons

  • Below-average per-item coverage for lost baggage and personal items compared to other plans

Who should use it

Travelers who want peace of mind from knowing they have sufficient medical coverage for accidents abroad

HTH TripProtector Preferred

Best trip interruption reimbursement

HTH TripProtector Preferred

Why we picked it

HTH’s TripProtector Preferred package pays up to 200% of trip interruption costs, which was far above the group average of 149% and 50 percentage points higher than the next plan.
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On the downside, HTH TripProtector Preferred’s overall travel delay score (per person limit, daily limit and activation time) was lower than other top plans.

Pros

  • Offers 200% reimbursement for trip interruption coverage
  • Second-highest rated company
  • Excellent coverage per premium dollar

Cons

  • Premium is higher than other high-scoring companies
  • Travel delay coverage lags behind other top companies

Who should use it

Travelers who are concerned that weather at their destination or unexpected family emergencies could require them to cut their trip short

Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector

Best for unexpected travel delays

Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector

Why we picked it

Travel Insured’s Worldwide Trip Protector travel delay insurance kicks in after just three hours of delay, which is three hours better than the group average of six.
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While the plan’s travel delay benefits kick in much faster than the group average, its coverage amounts are right around the average for the group. The daily reimbursement limit for the plan’s travel delay coverage is $200 (versus the study average of $195), and its per-person limit is $1,500 (versus the study average of $1,440)

Pros

  • Only requires a three-hour delay for trip delay benefits to kick in
  • Better-than-average premium
  • $1 million in medical evacuation and repatriation coverage

Cons

  • Travel delay coverage limits are average compared to top competitors
  • The emergency medical coverage limit is considerably lower than group average

Who should use it

Those who worry that inclement weather or work stoppages could delay travel plans and require a hotel stay or flight changes

USI Affinity Diamond

Best overall medical coverage

USI Affinity Diamond

Why we picked it

The USI Affinity Diamond plan’s combined score for its medical emergency, medical evacuation and repatriation, primary coverage designation and preexisting condition coverage was the highest of the 21 plans in our study. The company offers $1.5 million in combined medical coverage, provides primary coverage (you don’t have to go through your health insurance first) and covers preexisting conditions.
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Though USI Affinity Diamond has excellent overall medical coverage, its trip delay coverage is below average.

Pros

  • Top score for four key medical coverages
  • Above-average medical coverage per premium dollar
  • Above-average baggage protection coverage

Cons

  • Below-average per-item coverage for lost items baggage
  • No interruption-for-any-reason coverage

Who should use it

Travelers with existing medical conditions who want a worry-free travel experience

AXA Assistance USA Platinum

AXA Assistance USA Platinum

Why we picked it

AXA Assistance USA’s Platinum plan received the highest combined score for baggage delay coverage limits, baggage delay activation time and lost and damaged baggage coverage limits. Its overall score in those areas was more than 1.5 times higher than the group average.
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AXA Platinum’s top-tier baggage coverage will cost you though; the plan’s rate was more than $100 higher than the group average.

Pros

  • Best overall score for baggage coverage
  • Excellent overall value for trip and baggage delay coverage
  • Offers CFAR

Cons

  • Quoted rate was more than $100 higher than group average
  • Travel delay per-person limit was lower than group average

Who should use it

Travelers who want protection against baggage delays and those who may be traveling with valuable luggage

Trawick International Safe Travels First Class

Trawick International Safe Travels First Class

Why we picked it

Trawick International’s Safe Travels First Class offered the second-most medical coverage per premium dollar ($3,012), and its rate was around $100 lower than the plan with the best value, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice. Safe Travels First Class’s per-dollar value was around $1,000 higher than the group average, too.
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Safe Travels First Class’s value is excellent, but its travel delay coverage has below-average per-person limits and delay activation time.

Pros

  • Second-best coverage-per-dollar ranking
  • Lowest premium among top-three plans for value
  • Premium was around $150 lower than group average

Cons

  • Secondary medical coverage
  • Low per-person travel delay coverage limit
  • Requires a 12-hour delay for trip delay benefits to activate

Who should use it

Travelers who want a reasonable premium that provides excellent medical coverage amounts

TravelSafe Classic

TravelSafe Classic

Why we picked it

Of the 21 plans we examined, TravelSafe Classic ranked the highest in our analysis of the best cruise insurance companies with an overall score of 4.9. It offers more than $1 million in total medical reimbursement and provides primary coverage, which means you can go directly through TravelSafe instead of working through your health insurance company first.
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While TravelSafe Classic is great for cruises, its premium was nearly $50 higher than the group average.

Pros

  • Had a near-perfect score in our study of the best cruise insurance companies
  • Provides $1.1 million in total medical coverage
  • Provides primary medical coverage

Cons

  • Premium was around $48 higher than group average
  • Poor travel delay coverage
  • Value score for medical coverage was below average

Who should use it

Those who booked a cruise vacation and want an insurance plan that caters to cruisers and has more than $1 million in medical coverage

Trawick International Safe Travels Voyager

Trawick International Safe Travels Voyager

Why we picked it

Trawick International’s Safe Travels Voyager senior travel insurance policy pays up to $250 per person, per day, for trip delays, with a maximum benefit of up to $3,000 per person. The group averaged limits of $195 per person, per day, with a maximum benefit of $1,440 per person.
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However, Trawick International Safe Travels Voyager costs around $171 more than the group average of $521.

Pros

  • Top combined score for trip delay coverage
  • Emergency medical coverage is primary
  • $1 million in evacuation and repatriation coverage

Cons

  • Premium is around $171 higher than group average
  • Preexisting condition coverage includes look-back period of 90 days

Who should use it

Those who are traveling during seasons when weather conditions can delay travel plans

HTH TripProtector Economy

HTH TripProtector Economy

Why we picked it

Among the 21 insurers we analyzed, Highway to Health (HTH) offered the lowest senior travel insurance premiums with its TripProtector Economy plan. While the group’s average premium was $521, TripProtector Economy cost $287.55.
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However, HTH TripProtector Economy does not include a CFAR option and provides much lower emergency medical coverage than some plans.

Pros

  • Lowest premium of all travel plans in study

Cons

  • No CFAR available
  • Low trip delay coverage amounts
  • Only $75,000 in emergency medical coverage and $500,000 in medical evacuation coverage

Who should use it

Senior travelers who are in good health and do not plan to engage in high-risk activities during their trip

Our picks at a glance

What makes a travel insurance plan the best choice for seniors?

The best senior travel insurance plans include a comprehensive set of coverages, including:

  • Baggage delay and lost baggage: Pays for clothing and toiletries if your bags are delayed or lost
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR): Enables you to recover part of your nonrefundable costs if you cancel your trip for a reason not already covered under your policy’s cancellation coverage
  • Emergency medical: Pays for doctor’s fees, hospital bills, X-rays and lab costs if you fall ill or sustain an injury while traveling
  • Emergency evacuation: Covers transportation costs if you must be transported to another medical facility or return home due to illness or injury
  • Repatriation of remains: Pays to return home the remains of an insured who dies while traveling
  • Trip cancellation and interruption: Reimburses you for trip costs if you must cancel your trip or return home early due to covered reasons such as illness or injury

How much does senior travel insurance cost?

To find out the cost of senior travel insurance, you need to request a quote. Insurers determine plan costs based on individual factors, including your:

  • Age: Typically, the older you are, the higher your premiums will be.
  • Coverage amount: The more coverage you require, the more it will cost. Maximum coverage amounts may vary by age.
  • Optional coverages: Adding extra coverages such as CFAR will increase your premium.
  • Destination: Medical costs vary by country. Health care costs run high in the United States but are less expensive in some other countries.
  • Trip costs: Typically, travel insurance plans cost 4% to 10% of the cost of your trip.
  • Length of stay: The longer your trip, the higher your premium will be.

What is covered by travel insurance for seniors?

The level of coverage will depend on the insurer and plan you choose. Many plans cover:

  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Baggage and personal effects
  • Emergency evacuation (nonmedical)
  • Medical costs related to accidents or illnesses, including anesthesia, COVID expenses, diagnostic tests, doctor visits, emergency room visits, in-patient and out-patient care, laboratory work and surgery.
  • Medical evacuation
  • Missed connections
  • Repatriation of remains
  • Trip delays

When shopping for travel insurance, request quotes from several providers, paying close attention to included coverages and optional protections available.

What to look for in senior travel insurance

Start by looking for insurers that offer plans which fit the length of your stay. Some plans offer up to 90 days of coverage, while others provide coverage for extended stays.

Make sure a plan covers the activities in which you plan to engage. Some policies exclude medical care for injuries caused by high-risk activities such as mountain climbing, skydiving or off-piste skiing.

Find out if a plan covers your preexisting medical conditions. Note that Medicare provides limited medical coverage outside the United States.

Choose a plan that includes baggage and personal effects, personal liability (especially if you’re traveling internationally) and trip cancellation coverages. If you might extend your stay, you’ll need a plan that allows for policy extensions.

Methodology

Our examination of the best travel insurance plans for older travelers resulted in a scoring system that prioritized price and medical coverage (including preexisting conditions). As such, price and medical coverage accounted for 40% of a plan’s score. Here’s how we weighted each category we scored:

Average premium (20%)

Premium accounts for 20% of a plan’s score because it’s a key factor in travelers’ decisions about which travel insurance to buy. If a plan’s premiums are too high, a traveler might not choose it, even if it offers high coverage amounts. Therefore, plans with lower premiums received higher scores.

Cancel for any reason coverage (CFAR) offered (10%)

CFAR coverage allows you to cancel your travel purchase for any reason, whereas you’d normally be restricted to a certain number of covered cancellations with your plan’s standard trip cancellation coverage. CFAR plans typically reimburse you for a certain percentage of your trip cost, with many companies offering 50% to 75% reimbursement. Plans with higher reimbursement percentages earned higher scores.

Emergency medical coverage: primary or secondary (10%)

Supplemental insurance policies like travel coverage are either primary or secondary. Primary coverage means the plan covers you no matter what other type of insurance you have. Secondary coverage covers you after any applicable plans kick in. Plans with primary coverage earned a higher score because primary coverage simplifies the claims process.

Emergency medical coverage amount (10%)

If you face a medical emergency abroad and your insurance company covers it, you usually have a maximum coverage amount of anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000. Once you use up that coverage amount, you have to pay your expenses out of pocket if you don’t have any other insurance you can use. Plans with higher coverage amounts led to higher scores.

No look-back period for preexisting conditions (10%)

Travel insurance policies sometimes have rules about covering preexisting conditions that require medical care during a covered trip. A “look-back period” refers to the time you have to be symptom-free in order to get coverage for a preexisting condition.

Medical evacuation and repatriation limit (10%)

If you require evacuation from the country you’re traveling to because of your medical emergency (including return travel to the United States), travel insurance policies may pay up to a certain amount. This coverage tends to be higher than emergency medical coverage, with the best plans offering $1 million limits. Companies with higher limits earned higher scores.

Travel delay (9%)

Travel insurance policies usually cover the costs of trip delays, such as when a flight is canceled and you have to make a last-second hotel booking for the night. Travel delay coverage has three parts to it: per-person limits, per-day limits and the minimum number of hours you have to be delayed to get the coverage. Companies with higher limits and lower minimum delays earned higher scores.

Baggage delay (6%)

Baggage delay coverage is similar to travel delay coverage in that it provides a daily dollar amount you’re entitled to if your baggage delay meets the minimum hour requirement. Policies that offered higher limits and shorter minimum delay times earned better scores.

Baggage and personal items loss (6%)

Should your baggage or personal items become lost, stolen or damaged during your travel, baggage and personal items loss coverage can help offset the cost of replacing or fixing what was lost. Insurers usually provide a per-person and per-day limit; those with higher limits earned higher scores.

Trip interruption reimbursement rate (3%)

Trip interruption coverage can help reimburse the cost of any travel you don’t get to participate in because your trip is cut short by covered reasons. Trip interruption coverage is usually expressed as a percentage, like 100% or 150%. We gave higher scores to companies with higher trip cancellation reimbursement rates.

Interruption for any reason (IFAR) coverage (3%)

The usual trip interruption coverage only covers you if you have to interrupt your trip for specific reasons. IFAR coverage reimburses you if you have to interrupt your trip for any reason not already covered by your policy. Like CFAR, IFAR coverage offers to pay a percentage of your trip costs. Companies with higher reimbursement rates earned higher scores.

Hurricane and weather delay (3%)

Hurricane and weather coverage can help reimburse the cost of a trip, in general, if weather cancels your flight, makes your lodging uninhabitable and, in some cases, requires a mandatory evacuation of the area you’re staying in. This coverage is often associated with hurricanes and typhoons, which is why it requires you to purchase the coverage before a storm is named. Companies with lower minimum times to activate coverage received higher scores.

What didn’t make the cut

Twelve companies did not make it into our selections of the best travel insurance plans for seniors. Though all of them scored over the three-star threshold required to be considered for a category winner, each company that didn’t make the cut was either held back by a poor score in a certain category or, as is the case with some companies, they didn’t stand out enough in any single category. Some of the insurers that didn’t make it into our rankings included Berkshire Hathaway, John Hancock, IMG, Tin Leg and Travelex.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

In some cases, yes. Of the 21 plans we looked at, 17 offered preexisting condition coverage with no time requirements. Four plans had a “look-back period,” which means the insurer likely won’t cover a condition if you received treatment for it within a certain number of days before purchasing your policy.

For plans that do cover preexisting conditions, they still may not cover mental health issues or pregnancy. Seniors with preexisting conditions must carefully read a plan’s fine print to ensure their condition is covered.

If you purchase a single-trip travel insurance plan, then you will only have coverage for that particular trip, meaning you will have to buy another policy (and review the coverages provided) for future excursions. Some insurers also offer annual travel insurance policies, which can cover multiple trips you take throughout the year under the one plan.

Senior citizens that have an annual plan should review their travel insurance plans each time they plan a trip. Your health may have changed since you last traveled, making protections such as emergency medical coverage or medical evacuation protection a higher priority than it was in the past. Traveling during winter months, during hurricane or tornado seasons or to locales with active volcanoes can also make trip cancellation and trip delay coverages critical to a successful journey.

Travelers who are older often are more prone to sudden health issues, and some have preexisting medical conditions that limit the travel insurance plans available to them.

Many seniors invest more in travel and take longer trips than younger travelers because they have more time and money. Insuring an expensive trip can make the cost of travel insurance prohibitive to some older travelers. Plus, if you’re planning on traveling for an extended period of time, you may need a special long-term travel insurance policy.

Senior travelers may face difficulties filing a claim if they sustain injuries due to alcohol or drug use, or while participating in high-risk activities such as water sports or riding all-terrain vehicles.

Seniors can also face challenges if their travel insurance policy provides inadequate emergency medical coverage.

Most major travel insurance companies aren’t solely focused on travelers who are older. That being said, many of the features the top travel insurance plans have are a good fit for older travelers: the option to buy cancel-for-any-reason coverage, high medical coverage limits, primary medical coverage and acceptance of preexisting conditions.

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