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​​​Travelling is probably among one of the activities where age does not matter. Many people, irrespective of what age-group they belong to, love travelling. In fact, it has been observed that many people plan a foreign trip post their retirement either for a vacation or visiting a family member. Regardless of age, whenever you leave your country of origin, the majority of health insurance policies discontinue coverage. In case an injury or sickness requires treatment by a Physician, the cost of same can run into thousands of dollars, when on foreign land.
Though age might not be considered as a restriction for travelling to a foreign land, yet many would agree that older people are more exposed to medical emergency like situations. In this age of globalization, an increasing number of people are venturing out of their home country to settle abroad for professional reasons. With the NRI population growing, even senior citizens, especially the parents of NRIs, are flying across the world to spend time with their children or grandchildren.
Therefore, it is very important that if you as a senior citizen are planning a foreign trip, or as son/ daughter are planning a foreign trip for your parents, ensure to buy a travel insurance​ for senior citizens.
During a foreign trip, your senior citizen travel insurance policy will only make you more self-reliant. Such a policy will help you fight the high medical expenses, if required, during your overseas vacation.
Even if you don't make a claim on your travel insurance, it would be unwise to step out of your country without one. Medical costs in most foreign countries are high. Even consulting a doctor can burn a big hole in your pocket.
A travel plan provides cashless hospitalisation and, if needed, covers the evacuation cost. It insures you against mishaps such as loss of checked-in baggage or passport, trip cancellation/interruption and personal liabilities. It also pays for legal support in a financial emergency.
Senior citizens up to the age of 70 years can avail overseas travel insurance without any medical check-up. However, senior citizens in the age group of 71-85 can avail cover subject to clearance of medical tests.
By spending a few hundred rupees, you not only insure yourself against financial disaster but ensure that, if needed, you get the best possible service. Therefore, do not treat this as "just paperwork" and buy whatever the agent recommends or make a hasty purchase along with the air tickets. Doing so might not get you the best deal.
Your destination determines the size of the cover, that is, the sum insured required. Since medical cover is the main feature of travel insurance, decide the sum insured on the basis of how expensive medical services are in the country or city you are travelling to.
Premium is high for places where health costs are more. Medical treatment is significantly costlier in countries like the US and Canada than in South East Asia and this drives the premium difference. In Japan, given the history of natural disasters, premium rates are higher than in other Asian destinations.
Always compare the travel insurance plans. Don't buy only on the basis of sum insured and premium. Conduct a comparative analysis of companies and their offerings like online services, claims process, toll free number, payment options, network of hospitals, etc.
Since so many different covers are clubbed in one policy-medical, accident, passport and baggage loss, personal liability, trip cancellation, etc. -the claim procedures differ according to the situation.
Read the claim procedures, have the required documents ready, and save the helpline numbers of your insurer and the third-party administrator with you.
Article by Navin Kumar