Buying travel insurance as an elderly customer – our tips
Elderly travellers often have to pay through the nose for insurance when going abroad.
Here are our tips to help elderly holidaymakers get the right insurance, at the right price
See a Doctor for a health check-up
Getting checked up is always a good idea, but especially if you’re planning on going abroad.
Insurance is so high because of the risk of medical problems needing treatment whilst on holiday.
A GP will be able to give you advice on the mode of travel, choice of destination and route, plus any vaccinations you might need; but he’ll also be able to point out any problems that need raising with your insurer.
Pre-existing conditions and why you MUST declare them
Failing to declare pre-existing conditions before you go away can invalidate your policy in the event you need to make a claim.
Yes, declaring one will jack up the cost of your quote, as insurers sometimes take a worst-case scenario when working out the cost of your premium to ensure they cover the additional risk of a claim being made, but failing to declare the condition will prove far costlier if something goes wrong.
Common problems include: heart conditions; respiratory issues; circulatory conditions or types of cancer that has already been treated.
If you take any preventative medication, even if it barely impacts on your daily life, make sure you say so and explain why you take it.
You should also flag up any arranged hospital admissions.
Don’t dawdle, get insurance immediately
After booking the trip, get insurance as soon as you can.
It will protect you against cancellation and, if you get ill or have an accident after booking, and failed to get insurance, the quote will leap up in price.
Consider specialist insurers
The market is littered with companies targeting elderly travellers.
Knowing which insurers to watch out for will help you stand the best chance of bagging a deal.
Specialists include: All Clear Travel Insurance; Saga; Columbus Direct; P J Hayman and World First.
Make sure you know what you’re covered for
It may not be fun, but it’s critical that you go through the T&Cs with a fine tooth comb so that you understand exactly what you’re covered for.
Some policies, for example, will exclude more adventurous pursuits such as water sports unless you alert the insurer first.
Others may have a very low limit if your luggage is stolen.
You might want to consider choosing a policy that has at least £1,500 of baggage cover, and enough cancellation cover to pay for the cost of your holiday in the event you can’t travel.
If you are going on an active holiday, and plan on walking or playing tennis, for example, make sure these are covered in your policy.
Health-related problems caused by an activity not covered by your insurer can be very costly to treat.
It's crucial elderly travellers know exactly what they're covered for
Going to Europe? Remember your EHIC health card
If you’re going to Europe, do not forget your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - and apply for one if you don't already have one.
The card is gold dust, giving you free or reduced medical treatment in all of the 28 countries that make up the European Economic Area (EAA).
But remember: the EHIC card is no substitute for insurance and won’t provide cover for cancelled trips or stolen possessions.
If you are going to Europe, you may be able to save money opting for a ‘Europe-only’ policy, rather than Worldwide cover.
What type of policy should I get as an elderly traveller?
This depends on a number of factors, including: how often you travel in a year; the nature of your trip and what you plan on doing whilst away.
Annual and multi-trip policies are good options for customers who spend lots of time overseas; annual cover tends to be more comprehensive, but is also typically more expensive.
Flexible cover work for travellers who only need particular aspects of their trip covered, and can do without, say, baggage insurance (a good way of keeping your premium down is removing extras in this way).
Along with single trip cover, these policies often have upper age limits, so speak to your insurer and see whether you’re eligible.
Add your companions to your policy
It might be a good idea to add your family or friends to your policy.
Being insured on the same policy covers your companions should you or your health conditions cause the trip any complications, and vice versa.
Get two separate policies, and you run the risk of being out of pocket if anything happens with one of you that affects the whole holiday.
As ever, the best way to save money is by shopping around for the best deal using comparison tools.
As a rule of thumb, you can usually find the best deal by going with an independent provider, rather than taking out packaged insurance from your tour operator.
Don’t always go for the cheapest option - as we said earlier, make sure you know what you need, and what the policy covers.
One final tip: you may be able to slash your quote by opting you increase the excess.
Good luck and happy holidays!