To get the best travel insurance for seniors over 70 you need to know:
Your travel destination: if you are travelling outside of Europe you usually need worldwide cover.
How long you plan to be away: standard policies usually cover you for trips up to 31 days long. If you will be away for longer, you may need to look for specialist cover.
Your personal details: these include your medical history and any pre- existing illnesses.
You can then compare the policy options each insurer offers and get quotes to find the cheapest cover.
Pick the right level of cover
Most over 70 travel insurance policies automatically include medical cover with their policies, but you need to decide exactly what other protection you need.
You may also want to add extra cover for some activities, including:
These added extras may make your policy more expensive but could offer valuable protection if you are planning to do any of these activities on your trip.
Annual or single trip cover?
You should also decide if you want a single trip policy, that covers you for one trip away, or annual cover which lasts for 12 months and covers multiple trips overseas.
Is there a maximum age?
If you are an older traveller, you will usually pay more than younger travellers for insurance. The cover you get may also include certain limitations.
As you get older, it is likely the prices available to you will go up and the level of cover will go down. Many travel insurers start charging higher premiums once you get to 65 years old, with some even increasing premiums once you hit your early 30s. Once you reach a certain age, some insurers may not offer you any cover at all.
Most insurers limit their cover to customers below a certain age, such as 85 for single trips and 80 for annual trip policies. Different insurers will have different age limits, so make sure you check each policy carefully to make sure it is right for you.
If you are over these limits, you still have options for cover as some insurers specialise in policies for older travellers, which they may offer with no age limit.
Why is it more expensive?
Most insurance policy prices are based on how likely you are to make a claim. If you are an older traveller, insurance companies will see you as relatively likely to require some form of medical treatment while you are away. In certain countries, such as the USA, this could lead to a significant payout.
You will therefore usually have to pay more for a policy than a 30 year old because you are more likely to require money from the insurance company in the form of a payout.
Why is older traveller cover different?
In many cases, cover for older travellers is no different to standard travel insurance. However, some insurers will adjust the cover you get based on your age.
This could mean they reduce the maximum length of time you can take a trip for, limit the number of countries you can travel to, exclude certain countries or reduce your personal accident benefit.
Therefore it is crucial to check the policy documents carefully before you apply to make sure you have the cover you need before you travel.
How do I keep costs down?
Even though travel insurance will likely get more expensive as you get older, there are still steps you can take to reduce the price:
Shopping around is always a key step. For over 65s, the cost of travel cover can vary wildly between providers so always get a number of quotes. Keep an eye out for providers that specialise in cover for older people and compare the best deals.
Annual cover can save you a lot of money if you travel several times a year. It will likely cost you less to take out one annual policy than several single trip policies. Compare annual and single trip deals to find the best option for you.
Cutting your cover to make sure you only have what you need means you will only be paying for what is important for you. Most travel insurance policies drop your price if you remove some cover, like lost or stolen baggage protection. Don’t chop too much though, as having the wrong level of cover could cost you thousands if things go wrong.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, it is never a good idea to travel abroad without proper cover in place. It is even more important if you are an older traveller or have had health problems in the past.
Unlike in the UK, healthcare in other countries can be very expensive. In popular destinations like the USA, you could end up with a serious bill for even minor treatments.
For more serious issues, the cost of treatment and emergency travel back to the UK can run into the hundreds of thousands. For example, if you fell ill while on holiday in California and needed hospital treatment and plane tickets home, it could cost over £100,000.
Therefore, it pays to have insurance in place should the worst happen.
Can I cover a pre-existing condition?
The simple answer is yes. However, it is important to remember that every insurer has slightly different policies. Some might not offer you cover, while some will cover you but charge you more than the cost of a standard policy. This is because having a pre-existing condition means you are statistically more likely to make a claim.
You must be open and honest with your insurer, as you will only be covered for your condition if you declare it when you apply for your policy. Most providers will likely insist that you declare certain health issues, so if you do not tell your insurer about your medical conditions it could invalidate your policy and you will not be covered at all.