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Senior travel insurance

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Guide to travel insurance for elderly travellers

Once you've retired, the world can be your oyster.

But even if you feel young at heart, you could find that travel insurance providers don't necessarily share your point of view.

Travel insurance for senior travellers is not offered by all companies and, in fact, some policies don't cover anyone over the age of 50, or even 45.

But don't worry, as many providers are happy to offer travel insurance for the over 65s, 70s, 80s or 90s, and some will cover 100-year-olds.

Why don't all insurers provide travel cover for senior travellers?

Insurers tend to think that older people are more likely to fall ill or have an accident whilst away from home than other age groups, and that they are therefore more likely to make a claim.

Senior travellers might also be perceived as being at increased risk when taking part in activities such as winter sports.

Some senior citizens also have pre-existing medical conditions, and might therefore be carrying medication or expensive medical equipment with them.

What does senior travel insurance cover? UK passport, EHIC card and driving licence

Some of the things your policy might include are:

In addition, a good policy will also include standard things that could go wrong, such as loss of luggage, holiday cancellation and medical emergencies.

It might also include extras such as scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI), natural catastrophe cover and personal liability.

If I'm in good health, can I travel without insurance?

It's never advisable to travel without insurance. You could have an accident or need to fly home early due to an emergency, and without cover the costs could run into thousands of pounds.

Examples of actual claims made through travel insurers on the Gocompare.com panel as of July 2012 include:

  • One night in a ward of a private Spanish hospital - £800
  • Treatment for a broken ankle in Tenerife - £7,000
  • Treatment for multiple injuries after being hit by a car in Greece - £21,000
  • One night in intensive care in the USA - £7,000
  • Jet air ambulance from the west coast of the USA to the UK - £53,000 A tourist wheeling a suitcase

And travel insurance isn't only for those going abroad. It can be a very good idea if you're taking a holiday in the UK or going to stay with relatives or friends in this country for a short break or an extended stay.

It could cover things such as having to cancel if you or a family member become ill beforehand, or unexpected costs incurred if you have to return home suddenly.

The key is to buy insurance as soon as you book your trip, whether you're going abroad or staying in the UK.

If you're only taking one trip in the foreseeable future, compare quotes for single trip senior travel insurance. Single trip insurance can cover a short break of a few days or an extended trip of up to three months.

If you intend going away for an extended length of time be wary of single-trip limits that might restrict your period of cover to, say, 30 days

If you go away regularly, however, annual senior travel insurance might be the right product for you.

This means you can take as many trips as you like for the duration of your policy, knowing you're fully covered should anything go wrong.

If you intend going away for an extended length of time - perhaps to avoid the British winter - be wary of single-trip limits that might restrict your period of cover to, say, 30 days, so you may want to consider long-stay travel insurance instead.

Some policies might include a clause requiring you to be 'fit to travel'. The definition of this varies from one firm to another, so ask your policy provider for clarification on anything you're not sure about.

By Rebecca Lees