Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

June 1, 2013

Perspectives: Travel insurance reduces fears

In the world of aging, there are three different forms of the “future”: First, there is the future we hoped and planned for; then, the future that is in fact the present; and finally, the future that follows the next year or two.

Earlier in our lives, many made financial plans with the hope we would not have to stand in line at local markets when canned beans went on sale. We took into consideration mortgages, car payments, educational costs, insurances and the usual living costs.

When the future arrived (and became the present), we checked our savings and benefits and made plans based on these realities. Many probably even factored in some inflation and rainy-day funding. (And too many were severely harmed by investments or retirement promises that would never come to fruition.)

The third stage is the one in which we look ahead three to five years and begin to make decisions about where we would like to live, what support systems we will need and what positive events we would like to make happen in our lives. If you could see yourself traveling, where would you like to go? Who would be your travel buddy? Too often, when the idea of travel comes up, people shy away because, “How do I know what my health will be like in two years?”

I know and understand that feeling and it isn’t so very different from the one that whispers, “What if I save all these years and then something catastrophic happens?” Earlier in life, many of us bought life insurance — to “insure” our families, businesses, etc., in the event of our “premature” death. Whether “term” or “whole life,” there was an assurance of some stability even without our presence.

Now, as we age, there is another insurance that helps us plan for the next future. The insurance industry has long had a “travel insurance” that covers a variety of situations, but most importantly, the right policy will reimburse you if, for medical or family emergencies, you are unable to travel. I find this insurance freeing, and its availability helps me to look forward to trips and experiences.

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