Get the right travel insurance for you
Unfortunately, travel insurance providers consider the over-65 age group greater risk, even if you're in rude health, and push up prices. So how do you find a deal?
The increase in premiums compared to policies for younger travellers can be a barrier to travelling for the older person.
Sometimes the cost can be as much as double the price of a policy for a younger traveller and the older you get the more expensive taking out insurance becomes. In some cases insurers may even refuse to cover you at all.
The higher price of policies for older holidaymakers makes it particularly important to compare those available online, and study the terms and conditions carefully as no two policies are the same. Each insurer will have slightly different rules on ages and price.
While it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest cover, this may prove foolish in the event of a claim if you find the small print means the policy won't pay out. Remember that as an older traveller you should check the medical and cancellation limits, as you're statistically more likely to claim than younger travellers. Also check the excess level - or the sum you are liable to pay yourself in the event of a claim - to make sure you're happy with this, and can afford the cost should you need to pay it.
At TravelSupermarket, we recommend the following as the minimum level of cover you should look for in a policy, for any age group:
Medical expenses - Medical cover should be around £2million, and should also cover the cost of emergency repatriation.
Personal liability - Cover for personal liability should amount to around £1million.
Cancellation Cover - Cancellation cover should be either £3,000 or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday, including the cost of any
Baggage Cover - Minimum level of baggage and possessions cover should be £1,500.
Holiday Money - Minimum cover will usually allow for £250 worth of cash - if you plan to carry more with you ensure your policy reflects that.
Policy Excess - This should ideally be under £100.
Scheduled Airline Failure - Cover for this should be included, along with end supplier failure if you are not travelling on an ATOL backed package holiday
Delay Cover - For example, this could be £20/hour for first 12 hours.
Why do policies for the over 65s cost more?
Simply because you're a greater risk for the insurer. While it's understandable that travel insurance providers are more cautious in providing cover for older people, as they are considered more likely to get ill, this is frustrating for the customer. Likewise, if you have an illness or health condition there is a chance an insurer will sharply increase your premium, whatever age you are.
If you travel more than a few times a year it will make sense to opt for an annual, multi-trip policy that will cover you for all the trips you do that year...
This way, you don't have to worry about taking out travel insurance each time you go away, which means less admin and more time to plan your holiday.
However, the upper age limits on annual policies are typically lower than for those covering single trips. A limited number of insurers offer these policies to the over-65s. Also bear in mind that you will face a higher premium cost if you plan to travel outside Europe and need worldwide travel insurance. And greater still if you are going to North America, owing to the cost of medical treatment there.
Anyone who has any existing ongoing conditions or has had treatment at any time for any medical concern should declare it to their insurer at the time of purchase...
Bear in mind that if you have a pre-existing condition, and fail to mention this when you buy your insurance, you won't be paid in the event of a claim for this.
Also, if you take out an annual, multi-trip policy, you must inform your insurer if you develop a condition during its term. If you're worried and need clarification on what you're covered for, talk to your insurer before you set off.
Remember that while you may find it frustrating that you face paying more than younger travellers, taking out travel insurance offers you peace of mind...
It's not worth taking the risk of travelling uninsured - particularly if you're more at risk of developing a health condition. In recent years the market has improved for older travellers, with some offering cover up to age 99, so it's worth shopping around for your cover and comparing policies. If you find you're struggling to get cover as an older traveller, try approaching a specialist insurer such as Age UK or Saga.
The best place to find high quality but cheap travel insurance is through TravelSupermarket's free and independent quotation service. It allows you to compare policies from the leading insurance companies to help you find the right product for your needs.