Old age is no reason to stop travelling. In fact, it's often the best time to hit the road. When you retire, you have a lot more time to see the wonderful world we live in. Whatever your age, it's always a good idea to buy travel insurance before you venture out into the world.
However, when you start looking for holiday cover when you're over 70, you might run into a problem. Travel insurance for over 70s is often more expensive, and standard policies are usually unfit for your varying medical needs. You also can't rely on EHIC now that the UK has left the EU, although you may have the new GHIC. The good news is that you can find specialist travel insurance for over 70s. The specially tailored policies are affordable and provide you with the cover you need.
What's different about over 70s travel insurance?
You should always buy travel insurance when you go on a trip. Injury or illness abroad can end up costing a lot of money. It makes no difference if you're 24 or 74; holiday insurance is a must-have. Consider the cost of an overnight stay in a hospital, for instance. A single night in hospital could cost you £130 in Belgium or France and around £260 in Luxembourg.
But if you start looking for cheap travel insurance in your 70s, you may run into issues. Standard holiday cover tends to have an upper age limit of 64. These policies may also be insufficient because they often exclude pre-existing medical conditions. It's not the end of your travel plans, however. You can find over 70s travel insurance.
Travel insurance for over 70s covers your complex health and medical needs. You'll get cover for:
- Medical expenses caused by illness or injury on your travel, including pre-existing medical conditions.
- The loss, theft or damage of any medical aids and gadgets you need to have with you on your trip.
- Medicine expenses that might arise if you lose your medication or need extra on your travels.
- Travel companions you may wish to include in your policy.
Your insurance will also provide you with luggage cover, holiday curtailment and cancellation cover, and cover for personal belongings and money. That's why travel insurance can be helpful even if you're travelling in England and Wales, for example.
Some travel insurance for over 70s even includes cover for the cost of returning back home early for medical treatment. So if you're on a waiting list and need to return home earlier or cancel altogether so you can receive treatment, your policy can cover the cost. Specialist over 70s travel insurance builds on standard cover and responds to your unique needs.
Insurers are different offer varying levels of cover. So while the above is an example of what typical over-70s travel insurance covers, you might find variations in the policy details. Some insurers might cover more pre-existing conditions, for example. Ensure you look over the wording of your policy documents before you buy.
Are pre-existing conditions always included in over 70s travel insurance?
As you age, your health can change quickly, and you might already be dealing with some issues. You shouldn't let that stop you from travelling, but you need to be careful when shopping for travel insurance. Many over 70s travel insurance policies include certain pre-existing medical conditions, but the level of coverage varies. So again, you must understand the policy terms and conditions before purchase.
A pre-existing medical condition is any medical condition you've been diagnosed with by a doctor. It can often be a condition that requires you to take medication, for instance. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions include:
- High blood pressure.
If your pre-existing medical condition isn't included in a standard policy for over 70s, you can usually get additional medical cover. You'll need to list all of your medical conditions when looking for a quote. You'll then receive quotes with those conditions included in the cover. The process is often easy, and you don't typically need to go through any medical screening at this stage. However, be aware your insurer might ask you to provide documentation in the event of a claim.
Be honest about your medical conditions when applying for insurance. Failure to declare any known condition could invalidate your insurance. If you make a claim, your insurer might reject it outright if you fail to declare any pre-existing condition.
What is excluded from over 70s travel cover?
Travel insurance for over 70s gives you excellent cover for your holiday. You get unique benefits to ensure you get the right cover without paying a fortune. However, you should also note there may still be some exclusions.
Exclusions that can apply to your travel insurance include:
- Medical costs from unlisted pre-existing medical conditions. You have to include any pre-existing medical conditions in your policy, or you won't be covered for any treatment or other related costs.
- Belongings lost or damaged because of negligence. For example, if you leave your bags unattended and lose them, your insurance won't cover the cost.
- Injuries caused by risky activities or sports. Winter sports such as skiing or activities like paragliding are most often not included in your base policy.
- Injuries caused while under the influence. Claims made due to injuries caused by drugs or alcohol will most likely be refused. Your policy terms might even include how much alcohol you can consume before a claim becomes invalid, so it's a good idea to check the policy wording.
You can buy extra cover to deal with risky activities and sports. For example, if you are going skiing, insurers offer winter sports travel insurance policies.
It's also worth noting that the 'under the influence' clause can include certain prescriptive medicine. If you are taking high doses of prescription medicine, check with your insurer how they view it. You can often get coverage if you mention the medication before buying the policy. But you want to be sure of it before you go on holiday to avoid having your claim rejected.
You should also always check entry requirements for specific countries and check travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
Different travel insurers also have varying policies regarding Covid-19 and vaccination, something the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned consumers about. You might have to include additional coverage to ensure cancellation due to Covid-19 is included. Some policies have cover for the coronavirus pandemic included automatically. You can read more about Covid-19 and travel insurance in our previous post.
Finding affordable over 70s travel insurance
Older travellers' options for holiday cover are a bit more limited. Specialist cover is more comprehensive, but it can also be more expensive. Which? research found the cost of travel insurance doubling between the ages 65 and 70. So if you're over 70 and looking for travel insurance, you need to be smart about it.
In another study by Nimble Fins, the data showed the average cost of a single trip travel insurance for over 70s to be:
- £30.28 in Europe.
- £99.30 worldwide.
The same study put the average cost of travel insurance for over 60s at £14.98 in Europe and £46.17 worldwide, showing a similar trend to Which? findings. Even within the space of five years, your travel insurance cost can double!
It's also worth noting the above costs are typically for over 70s without pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance costs will go up if you have complex medical conditions to cover.
Travel insurance costs go up as you age, but it doesn't mean you can't find affordable holiday insurance. If you're over 70, then you should follow these tips:
Compare travel insurance
Compare different travel insurance quotes instead of picking the first one you see. You'll have unique needs, and specific policies might work better. Every trip can be different, too. For example, one insurer might provide excellent cover for a trip to Switzerland, whilst their cruise cover for a Caribbean cruise holiday could be insufficient for your needs. It's also worth keeping in mind that not all insurers are on comparison websites. You should also check with travel insurance providers directly for the best deal. You can search insurers' trading names on sites like Trustpilot to see customer reviews as well.
Pick an annual policy if you travel multiple times a year
If you travel a lot, look for annual travel insurance. A multi-trip policy will be cheaper than having to buy a single trip policy each time. A single trip policy is better if you only go on holiday once or twice a year. Most single trip policies cover you for up to 30 days, so if your trip duration is longer, you need to be mindful of the policy you get.
Tailor your insurance policy
Insurance providers may include optional extras that you don't need. On the other hand, you might also require more comprehensive cover in some cases. Tailoring your travel insurance to your needs will ensure you get the most affordable deal possible. You can also tweak your personal liability to control the cost of your policy.
The best travel insurance for over 70s
Finding travel insurance as you age is an integral part of planning a relaxing holiday. You need insurance to ensure your trip doesn't end in a financial disaster. When you are over 70, this means looking for specialist insurance. Unfortunately, standard policies are often out of the question.
Travel insurance for over 70s gives you that extra bit of peace of mind. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, then finding specialist insurance is essential. Over 70s travel insurance covers varying medical needs from medical equipment to treatment abroad. If the travel bug bites, you can rest assured you'll find appropriate cover to make your journey pleasant and stress-free.