It's no secret that people aged over 65 are more price sensitive and one area where costs are still higher is travel insurance. At a time when you want to see more of the world, premium rates for over 65's are often twice as much as for younger people - and travellers over 70 often pay three times the standard rate. It's also a potentially huge market with over 9 million people in the UK aged 65 or over.
Whilst availability is improving, it can still be difficult to get travel insurance if you're over 65. Around 30% of policies exclude claims from travellers aged over 65 and many exclude claims from those aged over 70. Different companies also have different upper age limits; for example Marks and Spencer travel insurance has an age limit of 70 for it's annual policy and no age limit for it's single trip cover (except for those over 80 for USA trips).
The main reason why travel insurance is so expensive for senior citizens is the high cost of medical treatment abroad and the increased risk of a claim. Not surprisingly, people aged 65 or over are three times more likely to make a claim than those aged 35 (source: ABI). Plus, the cost can be further increased for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
As with any product, the first rule is to shop round and compare prices from multiple providers. The internet has made this easier but it's still important to remember the basics and not only consider the amount of the cover, but if the policy meets your personal needs. A good way to compare multiple policies at once is to use a price comparison website such as MoneySupermarket travel insurance which compares hundreds of policies in one quote.
There are some other factors to consider when looking for affordable over 65 travel insurance. If you plan to travel abroad several times in a year, it could be cheaper to buy multi-trip or annual travel insurance rather than a policy for each trip. Not only is it often cheaper, but it also reduces the amount of paperwork involved as you only have to supply the information once, instead of several times.
Another way to keep costs down is to ensure that you don't pay for cover you won't need. Many standard travel insurance policies for families include coverage for winter sports, for example. Try to get a travel insurance quote based solely upon your travel needs and personal circumstances rather than a 'one size fits all' policy.
It's also important to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to the insurance company, if you aren't sure whether something is considered to be pre-existing, always ask. If a medical condition flares up that was not previously disclosed, it may turn out to be not covered. Check before you buy.
One company has made efforts to make travel insurance more affordable for older people. The goal of Insure for All is to provide comprehensive and affordable insurance to those aged 65 to 84. The company offers single trip coverage for those aged up to 84 and multi trip coverage for Europe for those aged up to 74.
However, there may be relief in sight for Britain's older travellers. The Association of British Insurers recently undertook a study to help improve access to affordable travel insurance for older Britons. The good news is that premium rates for older travellers are almost certain to drop over the next few years as UK insurance companies begin to realise the potential of this growing market and compete for their share.
PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular travel insurance product or provider. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at www.unbiased.co.uk
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