Old age is no reason to stop travelling. But when you're planning for the trip when you're over 80, you might run into an expensive problem. Travel insurance for over 80s can look costly and appropriate policies can be harder to find. The difficulties are often down to standard travel insurance only covering older holidaymakers to an upper age limit of 64.
The solution is not to stop travelling. But you also should never travel without holiday insurance, no matter your age. Thankfully, if you're in your 80s, you can find specialist travel insurance to give you peace of mind during your trip. You might have fewer options but can still get cover for emergency medical expenses, disruptions to your travel plans, and other scenarios.
How does travel insurance for over 80s differ from standard travel insurance?
Over 80s travel insurance comes with most of the same things a standard holiday policy would cover. A standard policy would include:
- Medical treatment in case of illness or injury
- Holiday curtailment and cancellation cover
- Luggage cover
- Compensation for travel delays
- Repatriation to the UK
- Loss, theft, and damage of personal possessions and money
Over 80s holiday insurance typically offers more comprehensive access to healthcare and medical cover, including a broader range of treatment options and higher claim limits.
You'll also find policies that cover:
- Replacing lost medication
- Loss, damage, or theft of medical aids and equipment
- Curtailment or cancellation due to pending medical treatment, such as if you're waiting for a transplant and get a call to say an organ is now available
- Travel companions, like carers, that you need to take with you
Your medical needs and travel requirements can differ as you age, and over 80s travel insurance policies reflect those changing needs.
It's important to always check the policy wording. The above are examples of what over 80s travel insurance usually covers. Different insurers have different policies, and not all travel insurance providers will offer everything mentioned above.
Like standard travel insurance, single trip journey and annual multi-trip policies are available for over 80s. Single trip travel insurance covers a single journey, while annual travel insurance policies cover multiple trips within a year.
Some travel insurance includes cover for cancellation or treatment due to coronavirus; however, some insurance companies might ask you to buy additional cover. So check the terms of your travel insurance policy. It's also worth noting that while, as of November 2021, there are no countries on the UK's "red list," you should still check travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
What about pre-existing medical conditions?
Travel insurance can be harder to find when you have a pre-existing medical condition. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart conditions, all of which are more common as you age.
Some travel insurance for over 80s is tailored to cover some of these conditions. You can also find specialist travel insurance for over 80s with additional cover. Having a pre-existing medical condition shouldn't stop you from finding travel insurance.
When looking for travel insurance and you have a pre-existing medical condition, you need to keep a few things in mind. You should always:
- Check if your medical condition is included or excluded in the policy before purchase
- Be upfront about all medical conditions you have
- Contact the insurer if the policy wording is unclear
Failure to declare your accurate medical history or a pre-existing medical condition can result in rejected claims, so don't lie about your medical situation. Your insurance premium might increase slightly, but you'll have the cover you need.
Declaring pre-existing conditions isn't difficult. You can often do so while you are looking for holiday insurance. Different insurers can have different requirements. But often, you don't need to undergo medical screening. You usually don't even have to provide the insurer with any documentation unless you make a claim. If you have to make a claim, insurers may ask for proof from your doctor of your condition and ability to travel.
Travel insurance for over 80s and exclusions
Travel insurance for over 80s will cover many of your health and medical needs. But policies will also have some exclusions. Typical policy exclusions include:
- Undisclosed pre-existing medical conditions - remember you can get cover for most pre-existing conditions with additional cover. You just have to make sure you include and disclose them when buying a policy.
- Adventurous or risky sports and activities - activities that have a higher risk of injury are often excluded. For example, winter sports like skiing might require additional cover.
- Negligent or irresponsible behaviour - if you're injured while under the influence or due to negligence, your insurer will likely reject your claims. This also applies to any item you lose due to negligence.
The first two are often excluded from standard travel insurance for over 80s, but you can buy additional cover. For example, if you are going skiing, make sure you have adequate cover.
Where can you travel with over 80s travel insurance?
The world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your travel destination. You can find travel insurance for over 80s to cover you almost anywhere in the world. Some types of travel insurance do cover specific regions. You can find specific regional travel policies for:
- The UK - Often cheaper as you aren't covering any medical elements, as you'll be able to access NHS care if you're taking a holiday in England, for example.
- Europe - This can sometimes include African countries on the Meditteranean coast, such as Egypt, or transcontinental countries like Turkey. Note that if you're planning to visit Gibraltar, you will be able to get medical care by presenting your passport but will need insurance to cover repatriation costs.
- Worldwide - generally includes the rest of the world, although exclusions may apply. For example, it is fairly common for global plans to exclude the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean so you would need to buy specific or additional cover if travelling to these regions.
Your destination can impact your travel insurance cost, too. Holiday insurance for Europe is often cheaper than for Asia, for example. So if you want a budget-friendly holiday, it can be worth checking how much travel insurance to different locations would cost before booking.
How expensive are over 80s travel insurance quotes?
Travel insurance for over 80s tends to be more expensive than standard holiday cover. According to Nimble Fins' research, the average cost of a single trip holiday insurance for this age group costs:
- £54.53 for a trip to Europe
- £133.83 for a worldwide trip
If you compare it with travel insurance for over 70s, which costs £22.92 for European trips and £60.55 for worldwide trips, you can see the price difference. The reason travel insurance cost goes up as you age is simple. Insurance companies have looked at the data and found the likelihood for claims goes up as people age. You are more likely to suffer from a pre-existing medical condition and require care while travelling.
You can find affordable cover, however. If you travel a lot during a year, then an annual policy is a better option. According to Bought by Many's research, the average cost of worldwide yearly holiday insurance for over 80s is £69.53. Compared to single trip policies, it can be an affordable alternative.
It's worth keeping in mind the mentioned average costs don't include policies covering pre-existing medical conditions. If you have complex medical needs, then your insurance cost is likely to go up. But even then, you can always make sure you find the best deal by focusing on:
- Comparing travel insurance online
- Contacting insurers' customer helplines directly for special deals and discounts
- Including only cover you need
You can read more about shopping for travel insurance from our previous guide.
Travel insurance for over 80s
Travel insurance for over 80s can seem expensive, especially if you compare it to standard holiday insurance. But you need to remember it's a good investment. The insurance premiums are higher because your likelihood to claim is higher. The truth is that as you age, you are more susceptible to injury and illness. With tailored over 80s travel insurance, you can make your travels stress-free. You know you'll receive the help you need if anything goes wrong. Your medical emergency abroad won't leave you in financial trouble.
Travelling when you're older is a relaxing way to enjoy your retirement. There is so much to see and experience in the world. Buying tailored travel insurance for over 80s will guarantee you get to make those new memories with confidence.