Over 50 Travel Insurance Guide
As we get older having the right travel insurance for over 50s should give you peace of mind as well as being affordable, even if you’re travelling with a medical condition. To keep the cost down, it’s important to consider all of your travel insurance options, especially if you’re travelling more often as you free up the time around retirement age.
Like any insurance, the hope is that you’ll never need it, but you should think very carefully before taking a trip without some form of cover in place. This guide will help you to understand the protection travel insurance can offer and the things you need to be aware of if you’re over 50, and especially if you are over 65.
Benefits of Travel Insurance for Over 50s
Over 50s travel insurance offers much more than simply protecting you against the risks of flight cancellations and lost luggage. Modern policies can give you a helping hand when you need it most and meet unexpected costs if things go wrong. The key to buying this cover is understanding the options available and to save money by only paying for cover you need.
Holiday Insurance Over 50: Available Options
Cancellation Cover: A wait of a few extra hours can be frustrating when you’re keen to get to your holiday destination, but longer delays and cancellations can be very serious. Extreme weather, strikes and unexpected incidents like volcanic eruptions have seen people left stranded for days in recent years.
For over 50s, one important consideration when booking a holiday can be the health of your elderly relatives. Whilst they may be perfectly OK when you book, there is the worry that you may be prevented from taking your holiday if their health took a sudden turn for the worse. Most travel insurance policies are designed to pay out if your holiday is cancelled or curtailed due to death or serious illness affecting a close relative.
However, underwriters will insist upon full disclosure both at the time of taking out the policy and if a relative has a serious medical condition that arises before your holiday commences. Therefore, you must tell your travel insurance provider to ensure you comply with the terms of their policy. Otherwise it’s likely that your claim will not be rejected.
The extent of cover varies between travel insurance products, but it’s advisable to have cancellation and curtailment cover in place especially when you buy a package deal and pay for your holiday in advance.
Lost luggage: Even in today’s world of heightened security and computerised baggage handling, delayed and lost luggage is still a problem. As well as the inconvenience of having to shop for replacement clothes and toiletries, your holiday spending budget may be hit hard if you aren’t insured.
It’s worth bearing in mind that many companies offer baggage cover as an option. Dont automatically assume it’s always included within the basic cover. This is because many household content policies cover personal effects worldwide.
Tip: when buying your travel insurance, check if your luggage is already covered by your household policy. Why pay twice for the same cover?
Personal Injury: Residents of EU member countries have access to health services when visiting other member states, but you can still end up with bills to pay. A simple slip or fall may not ruin your holiday, but the financial cost could end up hurting.
Medical Evacuation:Even if you can cover the costs of hospital visits abroad, there are some situations where it’s best to return home for treatment. Medical evacuation insurance covers the costs of flights and travel following an illness or accident.
Theft of Valuables: Major cities like Barcelona and New York attract thieves and pickpockets as well as tourists. Having your passport stolen can be a serious problem if you don’t have insurance, and finding yourself in a foreign city without any cash can lead to all sorts of problems.
Food Poisoning: Experiencing foreign foods is one of the great things about traveling, but this comes with a risk of food poisoning and exposure to illnesses like salmonella. If you’re forced to spend days in bed, some travel insurance policies allow you to claim the cost of your holiday back.
Why Does Age Matter?
As you get older, insurance companies perceive you as a higher risk for travel insurance. Unfortunately, this means premiums increase with age. Typically rates begin to rise when you start looking at holiday insurance over 50 and some insurance companies won’t offer cover at all if you don’t fit within their target 18 to 64 age bracket. However, there is good news: many specialist companies offer affordable cover for the over 65s. Some even offer extra benefits such as extended emergency cover for travellers over age 65.
If you’re over 80, despite being healthy and signed fit to travel by your doctor, there are far fewer providers willing to cover you, and travel insurance becomes expensive.
Tip: Check out the charities for older people to find travel insurance providers who specialise in covering people age 65 and above. Some have no maximum age limit.
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Declaring Existing Medical Conditions
If you live in a house that has been flooded a couple of times, you’ll find it difficult to get flood cover included in your home insurance. The same principle applies to travel insurance for over 50 with medical conditions. If you’ve had any illnesses like cancer or angina, it’s essential that you make this clear when you apply for travel insurance.
Statistically, there’s a greater chance being taken ill if you’ve suffered from poor health previously. By disclosing your full medical history at the outset you can avoid a problem if you need to make a claim. Insurance companies take cases of withholding information very seriously, and it can invalidate your cover.
Having illnesses in you medical history doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find cover. There will usually be an additional premium to pay, and the cost will depend on your current health status and the potential costs of treatment in countries you plan to visit. A process of medical screening allows the insurance provider to assess your health and the chances of further problems.
Tip: If you seek a quote from a company you trust and they tell you that they can’t insure you, please don’t assume the alternative provider they offer you is good value. Always shop around, as there are several companies offering travel insurance for over 50s with medical conditions.
What is Medical Screening?
Medical screening involves answering a number of questions either over the telephone or via an online questionnaire. The questions can be of a personal nature, but the answers are treated with complete confidentiality. You will generally asked about types of illnesses suffered, dates and periods of illness and medications you are currently taking. If you’re looking for travel insurance over 50 with pre-existing medical conditions you’ll always be asked to complete a screening of this type before a decision is made on your eligibility.
Tip: Different companies have different health acceptance criteria. Just because one company refuses to cover you, don’t assume they’re are all the same. Some insurance companies specialise in offering travel cover for people who have certain conditions, but are still signed fit to travel by their doctor.
European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)
UK residents are entitled to free or reduced cost medical treatments when visiting European member states via the EHIC scheme. An EHIC is free to obtain and lasts for 5 years. The scheme gives peace of mind if you’re taken ill or have an accident while on holiday in one of these countries.
Because restrictions do apply, an EHIC shouldn’t be considered as an alternative to travel insurance. Furthermore, it does not cover cancellation or curtailment of your holiday, loss of baggage or any legal liability you incur should you accidentally damage property or injure someone abroad.
Tip: When on holiday in Europe always take you EHIC card with you and carry it at all times. Travel insurers often waive their excess if you use your EHIC card when having medical treatment. However, it’s essential to show the card before treatment begins.
Single Trip or Annual Policy?
Regular travellers can arrange an annual policy to cover all trips and holidays taken during the period of insurance. This is a good option if you plan to travel often or spend periods abroad during your retirement. Taking an annual or multi-trip policy is cheaper than arranging single trip policies each time you book a holiday. If you only take holidays once a year or less, a single trip policy is generally a more economical way to cover yourself.
Tip: When shopping around for holiday insurance over 50, consider your family situation. For families with teenage children it’s not unusual for parents to take short breaks together, or their children to take trips abroad with school or friends, in addition to their main family holiday together. Therefore look out for annual policies that cover members of your family travelling as individuals. Just because you’ve had an annual travel policy for years to cover your family travelling as a group, don’t assume that this will remain suitable for you when your children are older.
Things to look out for when applying for over 50 travel insurance
- Governments and industry bodies have introduced rules to make insurance policies easier to understand and fairer for customers over recent years, but it’s still important to check the cover you’re buying.
- If you aren’t buying a policy from an over 65s travel insurance specialist, make sure that age limit restrictions don’t invalidate your cover. Some providers offer ‘Basic’ and ‘Comprehensive’ cover options, and it’s important to understand the difference and buy the level of protection you really need. A basic policy may not include cancellation or curtailment of travel. Luggage limits are typically low on basic policies, and you may need to upgrade if you need more than a few hundred pounds.
- Some policies restrict or exclude cover relating to sports and activities such as golf or hiking. Almost all charge extra if you’re going on active holidays with winter or beach sports. Most specifically exclude dangerous sports. If you’re planning an adventure holiday or like the freedom to try new things when you’re abroad, you’ll have to look harder on line to get the cover you want or otherwise talk to a broker about the options available.
- Don’t pay for too much cover. This may seem obvious but some premium policies offer a very high cover limits which many travellers will simply never need.
How to get a Good Deal on your Travel Insurance over 50
As with most types of insurance, it’s better to look for good value and not just the cheapest products when arranging travel cover. Insurance comparison services are a useful way to review the market and see how much you may need to spend. Price differences are often due to varying levels of cover, so always take time to check what each policy offers before making a decision.
Generally, the cheapest policies may have high excess amounts and the greatest number of excluded activities. You may also find some of the big brand providers don’t have the cheapest policies because they would not offer a level of cover that could risk their reputation.
It’s worth understanding that some websites will start with a low price for a low level of cover and allow you to add to that cover with ‘building blocks’ enabling you to tailor the cover to your needs. However, if you don’t have a good understanding of the cover, you may find this approach somewhat confusing simply because there seems almost too much choice. If you prefer a comprehensive package, even if it costs a little more, you may prefer to speak to a specialist broker and not worry about the detail yourself.
Savvy approach to buying travel insurance over 50
Consider specialist travel insurers and see what level of cover their typical middle market product offers. Then, benchmark others against it. Afterwards, you can then assess what some of the really cheap policies actually cover – the comparison websites are a useful place to find them. Then you can make up your own mind about what cover is right for you.
Packaged Bank Accounts – If you have a current account with a monthly fee or a ‘Gold’ credit card or similar, you may have lots of additional benefits included with your account. Travel Insurance is one of the most popular products within these ‘packaged accounts’ and can be a cost effective way of obtaining cover.
There are a couple of things to look out for if you choose this option. Firstly, make sure that the cover is suitable for your needs, and check that there are no age exclusions. Secondly, if the only benefit you’re likely to use is the travel insurance, you may wish to revert to a free bank account and buy a standalone travel policy cheaper elsewhere.
Specialists for the over 65s – Companies specialising in over 65s travel insurance are often able to negotiate good discounts with underwriters. As well as premium savings, they often include additional benefits and specialist advice for older travellers. It’s always worth talking to specialists, whether you’re looking for holiday insurance over 50 or older.
Other Tips and Considerations when Buying Travel Insurance Over 50
- If you don’t have an annual or multi trip travel policy, arrange a single trip travel policy as soon as you book your holiday. This will ensure you have cancellation cover in place.
- Take copies of your policy with you when you travel in case you need to make a claim or call a Helpline for advice.
- Talk to your GP about vaccinations you may need at least eight weeks before you depart, and make sure you pack any prescription drugs and medications to last the holiday.
- Don’t think that because you’re going on a cruise with ships doctors on board, medical treatment will be cheap. Many cruise liners cater for American guests with medical treatment reflecting American prices.
- Always report theft or malicious damage to your property to the police and never fail to keep documentary evidence of doing so. Travel insurers have strict claims conditions and will ask for proof of your claim before making a payment.
Use travel insurance for over 50s to cover high medical bills abroad
If you become seriously ill abroad and need medical evacuation your travel insurance could prove to be invaluable. These claims cost insurers many thousands of pounds and can involve a private air ambulance and attendant nurses flying with you back to the UK.
Although no one wants to think this could happen to them, this is the cover a good travel insurance policy provides. In somecountries, not having travel insurance to with medical cover can delay or seriously affect the quality of the medical treatment you receive. It’s and essential purchase: would you want to risk travelling abroad without it?
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