One of the things that many of our clients look forward to as they transition from their work life to their retirement life, is being able to start traveling more extensively and checking long dreamed of places off their bucket list.
If these travels include heading overseas, we believe that you should seriously consider travel insurance. This protects you against more than lost luggage and weather-related travel delays. It generally includes coverage for medical care in a foreign country and if necessary medical evacuation and travel back to the United States.
It's very important to understand that Medicare, the primary source of insurance for Americans age 65 and older, stops at the US border, and most Medicare supplement plans provide limited coverage overseas. If you are still in your working years and covered by group insurance or your own private insurance, you should check with your provider to see if there is oversees coverage before making this critical decision.
I have had more than one client and/or friend have to deal with these issues. This includes a client of mine who became ill with meningitis while traveling in India. After getting her stabilized, she was able to be transported back to the United States for additional treatment. If they had not had travel insurance, this would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I have a friend who fell in a gym at a hotel in Mexico and broke his arm. The care he received in the local medical facility was sub-par and overpriced at best. His travel insurance helped get him back to the United States for additional surgery.
We have found that travel insurance generally costs 6-10% of the total trip expenses. A recent travelinsurance.com survey found that 22% of retired Americans will spend more than $5,000 on leisure travel this year. We know that our clients, who have saved and accumulated wealth for their retirement years, generally have greater disposable income, take longer trips, and spend more time and money on vacation travel than they did when they were working.
Having a travel insurance policy could be a lifesaver for some people. If you are on vacation and have a medical emergency, you will not have to navigate a foreign healthcare system. You are just a phone call away from help. We wanted you to keep this in mind, as it is a topic that does not often occur during financial planning discussions. Please keep it in mind as you plan your trips in the future and make sure you ask your travel providers about this valuable coverage. We thought this was an important topic to cover as we all keep "Moving Life Forward", and possibly overseas.