Travelling is a wonderful way to spend your free time. While the media tends to paint the typical traveller as a 20-something enjoying a gap year, the hobby is for everyone. Statistics actually suggest it's the over 50s who are fuelling the travel industry. According to Saga research from back in 2016, over 50s account for over 58% of the UK's travel and tourism expenditure. The study also showed older travellers as more adventurous and on the lookout for new experiences.
To ensure your travels end up with lots of great memories and not a hefty bill, you need to have proper travel insurance. This is because so many things can potentially turn sour during your travels, and holiday insurance can provide you with peace of mind to enjoy your trip. But what is travel insurance for over 50s like?
Basic holiday insurance
Standard holiday insurance should suffice for most travellers. Various insurance companies offer standard policies catering to most people's travel needs. Holiday insurance typically covers:
- Medical treatment in case of illness or injury
- Repatriation to the UK
- Holiday cancellation cover
- Luggage cover
- Personal possessions, money and gadget cover
You can buy holiday insurance for a single journey or opt for annual cover. Single trip travel insurance policies are valid for the duration of your holiday, while annual cover covers multiple holidays within a year. If you travel a lot, multi-trip cover tends to be cheaper than buying travel insurance for each trip.
Most standard holiday insurance covers those aged between 18 and 64. So if you're in your 50s, you don't need to worry about the upper age limit. Standard travel insurance is easy to find and buy.
But basic holiday insurance might not always be enough. For example, standard travel insurance excludes most pre-existing medical conditions. So if you have diabetes or a heart condition, generic travel insurance most likely won't be enough. In these situations, specialist travel insurance is a better choice. Specialist insurance is also helpful for that extra bit of cover if you are going on a specific type of holiday. For example, you can buy cruise cover or get special travel insurance for winter sports holidays.
For those over 50, these can be vital factors when choosing holiday insurance. With standard policies, you might even find the quoted price increasing as you type in your age. Travel insurance for older people can get more expensive; your premiums go up as you age because you are statistically more likely to claim.
It's worth noting that travel insurance is not the same as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). There are new rules in place for the card now that the UK has left the EU.
Coronavirus and medical cover
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has asked insurance firms to provide clarity over their coronavirus cover. Whether your holiday insurance covers Covid-19 related medical emergencies can depend on the insurer. Read your policy documents carefully and contact your insurance provider if you're unsure. Make sure to also check Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) travel advice.
Specialist insurance for over 50s
To recap, standard travel insurance is an option if you're over 50. But you can also find plenty of specialist travel insurance policies if you're over 50, too. So how does specialist holiday insurance differ from standard travel insurance?
Over 50s travel insurance is, as the name suggests, insurance for people aged over 50. The policies are tailored to fit the lifestyles and travel choices of people in this age group. They often cover a more comprehensive range of medical conditions you might have. They might also offer cruise travel insurance or golf travel insurance as an extra, for example. So you can get the cover you need without having to pay too much more.
You should always read the policy conditions before buying. It's also essential to compare different travel insurance options for over 50s. Each insurer is different, and policies can vary.
Added benefits of holiday cover for over 50s include:
- Extra medical and emergency cover covering a broader range of medical conditions
- Cover for medicines
- Cover for mobility equipment against damage, theft or loss
- The option to add travel companions on the same policy
Over 50s travel insurance can suit your travel needs better than standard cover. If you have any specific medical needs, the extra coverage can be vital in ensuring you don't get into financial trouble on your travels.
Over 50s travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions
If you have pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, then you'll want your insurance policy to cover these conditions. Most standard travel insurance excludes many common health conditions, but the list of covered medical conditions expands when you buy specialist travel insurance for over 50s. However, buying over 50s holiday insurance doesn't automatically mean your medical condition is included. So always check the policy you're considering to ensure it covers your medical expenses.
If they aren't, you can also ask for extra cover for any pre-existing conditions. You need to declare your pre-existing conditions when requesting your travel insurance quote. Your insurance provider will calculate your premiums based on this information. Specialist over 50s travel insurance can be easily tailored to meet your needs.
Remember that you don't need to undergo medical screening to get a quote. However, you may have to show proof of your medical history if you make a claim.
What is not covered by over 50s travel insurance?
Travel insurance covers many medical and travel needs and situations. But it's essential to understand the level of cover you have. Over 50s travel insurance typically doesn't cover:
Undeclared medical conditions
When you apply for travel insurance, you'll have to list any known medical conditions you might have. Failure to do so can mean your claim gets rejected. You might end up paying the medical bill in full. If you have a medical condition, be open about it.
Don't forget you can find travel insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition. The premiums might be higher, but don't hide your medical conditions. The cost of having your claims rejected can far exceed the cost of those premiums.
Travelling against medical advice
If your doctor or medical practitioner has advised against travel due to a medical situation, you won't be covered if things go wrong. If you have a serious health condition, talk to your doctor before planning a trip.
Activities not included in the policy
Standard travel insurance policies tend to exclude any adventurous sports. For example, your policy may not include injuries during activities such as skiing or paragliding. If you want to go on an adventure while travelling, make sure to disclose these sports and activities while buying your insurance.
Claims caused while under the influence or due to recklessness or deliberate negligence
Travel insurers might not pay your claim if your injury or illness happened due to substance abuse or excessive alcohol intake. Even some prescription medicine might fall under this category, so make sure to read the policy carefully. If you use strong prescription medicine, make sure to declare it when getting the policy.
Insurance providers can also reject claims if you behaved recklessly or carelessly. For instance, if you leave your luggage unattended and it's stolen, your insurer might reject your claim. So always take precautions when you travel.
How much does travel insurance for over 50s cost?
Several factors influence the cost of your travel insurance, including:
- Your age - The older you are, the more expensive your travel insurance tends to be.
- Your destination - Some destinations increase premiums. This is often due to the cost of local medical treatment. Typically, destinations further away cost more.
- Trip duration - The longer you are travelling, the more your insurance will cost.
- The activities you are looking to do - If you want to participate in adventure sports or high-risk activities, you'll typically pay more for your insurance.
These factors can have a significant impact on your travel insurance cost. It's hard to say how much your holiday insurance costs without factoring in all these moving parts.
You can get an idea of what travel insurance for over 50s costs by examining the averages. According to Nimble Fins data, the average cost of single trip travel insurance for over 50s is £8.50 for a trip in Europe and £25.25 for worldwide travel. Bought by Many's data shows an annual multi-trip policy costs £14.33, on average.
How to get cheap travel insurance for over 50s
You have a good chance of finding cheap travel insurance in your 50s. Standard holiday insurance is available to people in this age group, so you have more options. Basic cover is often enough if you're travelling in England or Wales. In contrast, special cover might be more suited to foreign travel.
If you plan to partake in specific activities, such as skiing, optional extras are a good idea. Specialist travel insurance for over 50s is also better if you have special medical requirements or a pre-existing condition.
The best way to find affordable travel insurance is by comparing prices. Some insurers aren't available on price comparison websites, so make sure to check insurers directly. When you are looking for a quote, provide detailed and accurate information. This helps the insurer provide you with a realistic figure.
You'll also want to consider how often you travel. Multi-trip travel insurance or annual travel insurance is great when you travel frequently.
You can find more tips for buying travel insurance from our guide on travel insurance for older people.
The best travel insurance for over 50s
Travel insurance is not mandatory, but it's definitely recommended for any type of travel. You never know what could happen when you are travelling home and abroad. Having comprehensive cover will make your journey a little safer.
But choosing between standard and specialist travel insurance for over 50s depends on your needs. You still have plenty of options since you're not yet excluded from standard policies. If you don't have any pre-existing conditions and are in good health, a basic policy can be sufficient. On the other hand, if you have a medical condition or need medical equipment with you, opting for specialist over 50s holiday insurance might be worth it.
The most important thing is to compare different travel insurance options. Make sure you understand the policy and pick one covering all your travel needs.