Travel Insurance

Guide to travel insurance for older people

· 11 min read

A relaxing holiday starts with the right travel insurance. But as you age, you might find it harder to find affordable holiday insurance. Many insurers impose upper age limits and increase premiums for older people. Does that mean a fortnight on a Mediterranean beach is out of the question?

Travel insurance for older people: Your questions answered

  • Can I get travel insurance if I’m over 80?

    Yes, you can find travel insurance you’re over 80 and should look for specialist policies for people your age. These provide you with more comprehensive cover, including things like travel companions and mobility equipment.

  • Do I need to have travel insurance?

    Travel insurance isn’t required by law - you won’t be stopped at the border if you don’t have insurance. In some circumstances, you might need a visa to travel to a specific country, and the visa conditions may require you to have travel insurance. But these are often situations where you’d need to spend a long time in that country. You can see specific visa conditions when you need to apply for one. Travel insurance still makes a lot of sense. The cost of receiving medical attention abroad can cost thousands. Your travel insurance will protect you financially, and it is highly recommended.

  • Why does travel insurance for older people cost more?

    Insurers calculate the cost of travel insurance based on the likelihood of claims and their cost. As you age, you tend to have more pre-existing medical conditions. The chances of experiencing a medical emergency can also increase, which is why travel insurance premiums go up as you age.

  • Is there specialist travel insurance for older people?

    Specialist travel insurance is available for older people. This can be a good idea if you have retired, as finding affordable travel insurance gets harder as you age. These insurance policies tend to have comprehensive medical coverage, and they often include things like medical aid. You might even find travel insurance that allows you to include a companion in your policy.

If your calendar starts looking emptier as you get older, you might hear the world calling out for you. Travelling is a great way to enjoy your newfound freedom. It opens your eyes and lets you enjoy new experiences. But higher travel insurance premiums could put you off from travelling.

Should you get travel insurance as an older person?

You’re not legally obliged to have travel insurance. Still, having it makes a lot of sense, as uninsured travel could lead to financial disaster. Although travelling is relaxing and fun, injury and illness can occur whether you’re in Manchester, Milan, or Mexico City. As you get older, you can be especially vulnerable, as different health issues become more prevalent.

The cost of seeking medical treatment abroad can quickly add up. For example, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), a single use of an air ambulance in Majorca could cost over £25,000. So having travel insurance makes financial sense, and you should get it whenever you go on holiday. It’ll ensure you can enjoy your holiday without worries. 

Why is travel insurance for older people more expensive?

Searching for travel insurance online will show you that premiums go up as you age. Standard travel insurance usually covers those aged between 18 and 64. If you are over 65, you might have to start paying more or seek specialist cover. Prices continue to increase once you hit 70. From then onwards, travel insurance can increase in price annually or every five years as you hit a new age band.

What is the reason behind the increase? Travel insurance tends to be more expensive as you age because of the risks. You’re more likely to suffer from pre-existing medical conditions or sudden health events and emergencies as a pensioner. This additional risk leads to higher premiums. Pre-existing conditions aside, insurers consider the risk of illness or injury higher for older people. The ABI’s research shows that claim frequency tends to increase as you age, too. Older people are more likely to make a claim, so insurers offset this with higher premiums.

What affects the cost of travel insurance?

Travel insurance for older people costs more, although premium prices can still vary between insurers. There are also specific factors that may affect the cost of your travel insurance. Insurers look at the following factors when determining the cost of your premiums:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions - Any pre-existing medical condition will increase your premium price. Many insurers will outright exclude pre-existing conditions from standard travel insurance.
  • Travel destination - Certain destinations can increase the cost of travel insurance. For example, long-haul destinations are pricier than European destinations. Why? Repatriation from faraway countries costs more, and healthcare can be more expensive outside Europe.
  • Activities - You may have to get extra cover if you’re planning to participate in activities like winter or water sports.
  • Length of travel - The longer your trip, the pricier your policy might be.

Because of the different factors that determine your premium, it’s always worth shopping around and comparing travel insurance offers to find the best deal for you.

Keep in mind that you might also benefit from joint travel insurance if you travel with your spouse or partner.

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What does travel insurance for older people cover?

What your travel insurance covers depends on the insurer, but a typical policy will cover:

  • Loss, theft or damage to your luggage or personal belongings
  • Medical emergency treatment
  • Repatriation 
  • Loss, theft or damage to your medication or medical equipment
  • Mobility aid cover

Make sure you keep an eye out for what’s not included in your travel insurance policy. For example, many policies exclude pre-existing conditions. You’ll often have to pay more or find a specialist policy to cover those. Make sure you understand the policy before you purchase it.

What if your trip is cancelled?

Travel insurance typically includes cover for cancellation, curtailment, or delays. However, the level of cover can vary between insurers, so you should check the terms and conditions.

Cancellation cover lets you claim for the cost of your holiday up to a certain amount if you must cancel your plans. Note that travel insurers don’t usually cover airlines cancelling your flights; you can get compensation for this straight from the airline.

Covid-19 and travel insurance

Covid-19 continues to disrupt travel. Your travel insurance policy typically isn’t valid if you travel against the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDDO). You also have to follow any local entry requirements in place, including testing or isolation guidelines. You can find more information about Covid-19 and travel insurance here.

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How to find cheap travel insurance

Travel insurance for older people can be more expensive, but it is necessary. You can find specialist insurers and travel insurance plans for older people to make it easier. Here are three tips to help you find the right travel insurance:

1. Shop around

Compare different travel insurance policies to find the best deal for you. Keep in mind that the best policy won’t necessarily be the cheapest. When you are comparing, remember to compare actual quotes. Different factors affect the cost, and you need to be specific about your travel conditions to get an accurate estimate. This helps you see which policy would be the most affordable for you.

To get a quote, you need to answer basic questions about yourself and your trip. These include things like:

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  • Your age
  • When you’re travelling and for how long
  • Where you’re going
  • Your pre-existing conditions
  • Optional extras you might want

Look out for policy features that are useful for you. Don’t include anything that has no use, and ensure you only pay for the cover you need.

Find your travel insurance policy using a comparison site. Remember to check quotes from insurers that aren’t on comparison sites, too.

2. Consider an annual policy

If you are thinking about travelling more than twice a year, you should consider getting an annual policy. An annual multi-trip policy can save you money. However, some insurers have upper age limits on annual policies.

3. Tailor according to your needs

You can tailor most travel insurance policies to your needs, and most insurers offer additional extras. However, sometimes insurers also include cover you might not need. Removing these unwanted things from your travel insurance can save you money. For example, you might not need coverage for lost or stolen luggage. Understand what your coverage is and only opt for coverage you need.

4. Check if you’re already covered

It’s also a good idea to make sure you need travel insurance in the first place. Many credit card companies provide comprehensive travel insurance as part of their premium products. For example, an American Express Platinum Card comes with travel insurance. The British Airways Premium Plus Card also provides coverage. However, be careful with the terms and conditions. For example, American Express’s Platinum Card cancellation policy only covers you if you purchased the holiday using the credit card. Some other financial products, such as your home insurance, may also include travel insurance cover. The cover might be more basic, but it means you only need to buy the additional coverage you need.

Travel insurance for over 50s

You shouldn’t have trouble finding affordable travel insurance if you’re in your 50s. You usually won’t notice a hike in premiums until you hit 65. If you are in your 50s, you can look for normal travel insurance. You’ll have plenty of options to compare different insurers and insurance policies. According to Nimble Fins, the average cost of single trip travel insurance for over 50s is:

  • £8.50 in Europe
  • £25.25 worldwide

In contrast, according Bought by Many, an annual worldwide policy would cost £14.33.

If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you’ll need to be a bit more careful. You must let the insurer know about those conditions, or your travel insurance might be invalid. Some insurers or insurance policies might outright exclude pre-existing medical conditions, but you can find specialist insurance designed for people with pre-existing conditions.

Travel insurance for over 60s

Finding travel insurance when you’re over 60 gets a little trickier. Your premiums won’t be noticeably higher until you reach 65. Nimble Fins data suggests the average cost of single trip travel insurance for over 60s is:

  • £11.75 in Europe
  • £27.76 worldwide

In contrast, according Bought by Many, an annual worldwide policy would cost £24.18.

You will have to mention any pre-existing conditions you have. This might mean you need to look for specialist insurance. Whether or not specialist over 60s insurance is cheaper than a traditional policy depends on your specific circumstances. It’s worth comparing both options before buying travel insurance.

Travel insurance for over 70s

Travel insurance prices for over 70s can vary. Many insurers increase premiums again at this age limit, and many standard insurers don’t tend to cover people in their 70s. Nimble Fins data shows the average cost of single trip travel insurance for the age group is:

  • £22.92 in Europe
  • £60.55 worldwide

In contrast, according Bought by Many, an annual worldwide policy would cost £52.48.

It is a good idea to look for specialist travel insurance if you’re over 70. You’ll end up paying a lot less and have peace of mind that the policy will work for you. Specialist travel insurance for over 70s has more comprehensive cover for medical needs. These tailored policies often cover pre-existing conditions and any medical needs you might have. For example, they can cover the cost of medicine if you forget your prescription or ran out of pills.

Travel insurance for over 80s

Travel insurance for over 80s can be tricky to find. Your options are more limited at this age, but you can still find good options. According to Nimble Fins, the average cost of a single trip travel insurance for over 80s can cost:

  • £54.53 in Europe
  • £133.83 worldwide

In contrast, according Bought by Many, an annual worldwide policy would cost £69.53.

However, your travel insurance will offer more comprehensive cover to meet your medical needs. The premiums tend to be higher, but you can find affordable options if you search for a specialist policy. In addition, specialist insurance will make it easier to cover things like mobility equipment.

Your specialist travel insurance could also include travel companions. You could include family or friends as travel companions if certain conditions are met. If you need to travel with a carer, this can help keep your travel costs down.

Remember, you might find it harder to find annual travel policies at this age. Insurers might also limit how long you can travel. So be sure to always read your policy documents and check the level of cover you’re getting before you buy.

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Krista Lomu
Krista Lomu
Krista has been writing about finance for nearly a decade. Based in London, she hopes to turn even the most complicated topics to approachable and interesting for readers. When she's not writing and working with small businesses, she likes to read, watch football and play games - fuelled on by many cups of coffee!
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