Life may begin at 40, but over 65 holiday insurance is still a problematic issue for older travellers. While insurance companies are starting to recognize the fact that people are living longer and staying healthier as they age, older travellers are still perceived as a higher risk and insurance is priced accordingly. Skiing insurance over 65 is particularly challenging, while cruise holiday insurance presents risks of missed departures which many insurance companies dislike.
Assuming that older travellers are happy to stay away from activities insurance companies class as hazardous, it can still be possible to get cheap travel insurance for over 65s. At current time, holders of M&S credit cards are automatically invited to join the M&S Premium club for free. One of the club benefits is worldwide travel insurance up to age 70.
Over 70s travel insurance starts to get more complicated. At present, the Nationwide offers its Flex Account customers free travel insurance for Europe. There are conditions attached to this in terms of minimum account usage, however provided that these are met, the cover can be taken out up to age 73 and remains valid until the 31st December after the holder's 75th birthday.
Travel insurance for over 75s is the point where choice begins to be seriously constrained and prices become even more expensive. Travel insurance over 85 is currently almost a contradiction in terms although it is possible to obtain it from specialist companies – at a price.
There are still some useful tips older travellers can employ to help keep costs down.
1. See what can be covered in other ways.
The bulk of the cost of travel insurance is the cost of the medical cover, however travel insurance (for over 65s or otherwise) does cover other sorts of emergencies such as damage or theft to personal property. Many home insurance policies offer cover for belongings which are taken out of the home for a limited period so this may eliminate the need for baggage cover. Likewise many motor insurance policies have some degree of cover for driving abroad.
2. Buy cover only for the countries for which it is required.
Many insurance companies in the UK have prices for the EU and Worldwide. Some break worldwide down into different regions. While it's important to have cover for any country you intend to visit (even if only in transit), eliminating countries you do not need can reduce costs considerably. This is particularly true where the division is “Worldwide including the U.S.A.” and “Worldwide excluding the U.S.A.” as medical costs in the U.S.A. are notoriously high.
3. Look at annual travel insurance
Over 65s usually still qualify for this and for those who intend to travel abroad more than once a year (or who think they may have to), an annual, multi-trip policy is likely to work out cheaper than separate policies.
4. Shop around
While this may be the oldest tip in the book, it's also one of the most valid. These days many of the best deals are found online. In fact increasingly the best deals are only available online as companies seek to keep their costs down. When looking for the best deal on insurance, it's important to make sure that you still get the level of cover you need. Having said that price is not necessarily an indication of better cover or service. Some of the cheaper deals are simply better value for money than the more expensive options.
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