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Over-65s' Travel Insurance

Cheap travel insurance for over-65s

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Tony and Rebecca | Edited by Johanna

Updated September 2016

Travel insurance is more expensive and more difficult to buy as you get older – especially if you are over the age of 65, with the average annual cost standing at more than £80.

This guide explains how travel insurance works, how to find cover if you're over 65 and what you should watch out for before you buy.

Over-65s' travel insurance: Your 10 need-to-knows

over 65 travel insurance

Getting the right holiday cover is a much more arduous task as you age, as insurers consider you to be more at risk of injury and illness.

However, besides the extra cost, over-65s' travel insurance is just like cover for younger travellers, insuring against unforeseeable mishaps which may occur both before your holiday starts and while you are away.

Before you buy cover here are 10 things you should know.

  • Insurance is about covering unpredictable events

    "Why should I get travel insurance, I might not use it?" you may ask. But the whole point of travel insurance is to cover you for the unforeseen – ie, unpredictable events that may occur either before or during your holiday. You need to accept that, and as it's impossible to predict the future, all you can do is to give it your best shot. To sum up...

    Insurance is about making unpredictable events predictable in case the unpredictable happens.

  • The older you are the more you'll pay

  • Finding cheap cover depends on your age, as you can see from our best buys below. People who are between 65 and 80 will find it much easier to find cover than those who are older than 80, especially if they are looking for an annual policy, but there are options, Age UK* and All Clear Travel for example don't have upper age limits.

    Apart from the cost, the policy will be similar to a policy for a younger person. However, one thing to watch out for is the claim limits for permanent disablement, which are likely to be lower as you get older as the long-term costs of looking after you decrease as you age.

    Claims for accidental death may also lead to a lower payout to your relatives if you are older as it is assumed your dependants are less reliant on your income.

    Travellers who are over 65 with medical conditions will face the question: Do I look for cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions, or cover for those who are over the age of 65? The simple answer is to go for the insurance which includes medical conditions. This is because insurers usually class medical conditions as more of a risk than the age of the traveller.

  • Buy as soon as you've booked to cover cancellation and pre-trip illness

  • As the chances of you falling ill or having to cancel your trip are statistically higher as you get older, it's important you buy it as soon as you've booked. Leaving it on the 'things to do' list, is taking an unnecessary risk.

    Thinking you don't need to arrange cover yet as your holiday's not for another six months is a big mistake. In fact, it's even more of a reason to arrange travel insurance, as anything can happen before your trip. Why? Because travel insurance won't just cover you while you're away, it'll also cover you for cancellation or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE you make your trip.

  • Never assume all policies are the same

    over 65 travel insurance

    While choosing a travel insurance policy isn't rocket science, you can't buy cover without first giving it considerable thought. Policies vary greatly with their own inclusions and exclusions.

    Before you decide which policy to buy assess your risk. Do you have expensive personal belongings? Will you be carrying a large amounts of foreign currency? Are you taking part in winter sports? When you know exactly what you need you can make a more informed buying decision.

    Our best buy annual policies below meet our minimum cover levels for various things, including cancellation and medical care.

    Quick questions

    What's typically covered under a travel insurance policy?

    What is typically left out of travel insurance cover?

    Does it matter which country I am going to?

    Am I covered for trips in the UK?

    What is an excess and how does it work?

    Does it matter what type of holiday I am going on?

    What should I check in my policy before I buy?

  • Group policies are based on the oldest traveller so separate cover could be cheaper

    over 65 travel insurance

    Group travel insurance premiums are based on the oldest traveller or the person deemed to be the highest risk, such as someone with pre-existing medical conditions. Insurers become more selective under these circumstances, and hike up premiums.

    A separate policy for you, as an older traveller, may be the best option to avoid everyone paying over the odds, but always check.

    Here's an example:

    A family of four – 66 year old, 40 year old and two children under 18 – want a European annual travel insurance policy. They have two options:

    Option 1: Take out an annual group policy – the cheapest we could find was £77.98.

    Option 2: Take out one policy for the 40 year old and the two kids at a cost of £26.69, and a separate policy for the 66 year old at a cost of £38. The total cost for both policies would be £65.68 – £12.30 cheaper than the group policy.

    However, one thing to be aware of is that if, for example, the 66 year old fell ill and ended up in hospital and couldn't fly back at the end of the holiday, the 44 year old and the kids wouldn't be covered for the cost of having to stay on as they are on a separate policy. If they were all on the same policy they would all be covered.

  • Single trip cover MAY be your most affordable option

    If you're over 65 buying an annual policy may be incredibly expensive. This problem becomes even more acute when you are above 80.

    The best thing to do is to check single trip prices too to see if that works out cheaper. However, if it is cheaper to buy an annual policy, and you know you will be making a number of trips, opt for that instead. Of course, this varies depending on where you're travelling to and for how long but if you also have extra trips during the life of the policy, you already have the cover in force.

  • Quick question

    How many days can I travel for on my annual policy?


  • Going to Europe? Don't forget your FREE EHIC

    travel insurance

    One of the most common areas of travel cover confusion is the role of the free European Health Insurance Card.

    An EHIC entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in EU countries and Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. You'll be treated for the same cost as a local person in the same hospital. So if they pay nowt, you pay nowt.

    You can only use hospitals and doctors signed up to the EHIC scheme. If you are in any doubt, check with EHIC before starting treatment. The card should not be used instead of insurance. This is because travel insurance covers far more, including the costs incurred if treatment isn't free, cancellations, delays, repatriation and baggage loss or theft.

  • For more info, including a country-by-country rundown, read the Free EHIC Card guide or get one direct from the EHIC website or by calling 0300 330 1350.

    If you're looking for a travel insurance policy and if you have and use a free EHIC card then EHIC plus* which covers the costs of treatment, but only if you've used an EHIC card, and all the other usual travel insurance norms such as delays, baggage and cancellation, could be an option. It's not Government-backed though, the underwriter is Mapfre Insurance.

    Warning!

    Some websites will try to make you pay up to £25 for an EHIC. These dress up like legitimate sites, using search optimisation tricks to rank prominently on Google. They then get you to fill in forms, charging you for 'administration', even though there's no administration needed. See our 60 Seconds on Copycat Sites guide for more.

    Quick question

    Are qualifying medical centres allowed to refuse my EHIC?


  • Check if you are already covered

    Many bank accounts which charge a monthly fee have extra benefits such as travel insurance so if you pay for yours you may already be covered. If you think you got insurance as a sweetener with your bank account, check the terms to see if it is appropriate for your trip.

  • The main bank account with travel insurance is the free Nationwide FlexAccount*. It's available to everyone but those aged over 75 need to pay £50 per year extra and it doesn't cover pre-existing medical conditions.

    This could still be a cheaper option as the older you are the more you'll pay for insurance. For more info on it, and other accounts that may offer travel insurance, see our Best Premier Current Accounts guide.

    Do NOT confuse this with a benefit offered with credit cards called travel accident insurance, which only covers accidents on a train, plane or in a hire car paid for on the card. Never think this means you're completely covered.

    This insurance should also not be confused with Section 75 legal protection – which covers you if you buy anything that costs between £100 and £30,000 using a credit card (not a debit card). See our Section 75 Protection guide for more on this.

  • Going skiing? Make sure you have winter sports cover

    Winter sports can be dangerous, so as soon as you've splashed out on your break, make sure you are insured on the slopes. As well as insuring you for the basics you'd get under a standard travel policy, you'll also be insured for activity-related injury and your winter sports equipment.

    However, you pay more for winter sports insurance due to your age and some providers may not offer you cover at all. For example, American Express does not offer winter sports cover to the over-70s, despite offering insurance for travellers up to the age of 79.

    Quick questions

    Is winter sports cover automatically included?

    Is it worth getting a basic policy and hoping for the best?

    Do I need extra cover if I want to go off-piste?

    I am skiing twice this year. Should I get a 12-month policy?

    Is my equipment covered? What if it is rented?

    Can I claim for piste closure?

    What happens if I have an accident while I am a little tipsy?

  • Don't overpay on your insurance. Costlier cover is rarely worth it

    Insurance providers go all out to scare us into upping cover levels. Don't be duped into upgrading for no reason. Platinum policies with £10m medical cover are bunkum, even if you are over 65.

    "Why," you ask? Well, you're charged more but the chances of you making a claim that high are slim. According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost of a medical travel insurance claim in 2013 was £930 – a far cry from £10m!

  • Insurance from a travel agent could cost £250 more

    If you buy travel insurance from a travel agent or airline, be it for a single trip away or an annual policy, you are likely to massively overpay.

    We found a worldwide annual couples policy for a massive £351 from Thomas Cook yet our top pick for similar cover is £101 with Leisure Guard – a saving of £250.

    This table compares the price of a selection of holidays with our top picks versus the cheapest options from a selection of travel firms that meet our minimum criteria .
  • The price of our top picks vs the travel firms
      Single trip, one week to Europe Annual worldwide
    Our top pick (no-frills) Travel firms' cover (1) Our top pick (no-frills) Travel firms' cover (2)
    Couple (3) £25 – Holidaysafe* £42-£104 £89 – Leisure Guard*
    £285-£442
    Individual, 66 £14 – Holidaysafe*
    £27-£52 £49 – Holidaysafe*
    £166-£225
    Note: (1) Prices from BA, Thomas Cook, Thomas & Monarch. Some offer higher cover levels than our top picks, but consider whether you need it. (2) Prices from BA, Thomas Cook & Thomson. (3) Both aged 66. Correct as of June 2016.

    If you can, avoid buying the agent or airline's insurance and instead check our full best buys below for a cheaper price.

Best buys: Annual travel insurance for over-65s

over 65 travel insurance

Whether you are travelling in Europe or further afield, with your family or on your own, we've listed the cheapest policies for anyone over the age of 65 meeting our minimum cover levels.

However, if you are over 65 AND you have pre-existing conditions, you will need a specialist policy. Check the Pre-existing Conditions guide for full help.

Age 65 to 69

European cover
Individuals – Holidaysafe Lite* at £17 (when aged 65) then £25 (up to age 69)
Couples – Holidaysafe Lite* at £33 (aged 65) then Leisure Guard* at £50 (aged 66+)

As an alternative, if you have a free EHIC card – which means you can use an EU state run hospital for the same price as a local – then EHIC plus* which is £38 for individuals and £64 for couples may be useful.

It covers the costs of treatment, but only if you've used an EHIC card, and all the other usual things travel insurance covers such as delays, baggage and cancellation, and it's not Government-backed, the underwriter is Mapfre Insurance.

Worldwide cover
Individuals – Holidaysafe Lite* £33 (aged 65) then Leisure Guard* at £48 (aged 66+)
Couples – Holidaysafe Lite* at £65 (aged 65) then Leisure Guard* at £89 (aged 66+)

Alternative cover via bank account
The Nationwide FlexAccount* fee-free bank account includes European travel insurance for those under 75. This covers all account holders, so if a couple got it jointly they'd both be covered. You can also opt to pay £40 for worldwide cover (including the US), £40 for winter sports and £40 for family.

The bank comes high up on customer service rankings and you'll need a monthly income of £750 to apply.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, you may have to pay an additional fee or you may be declined cover entirely. For more bank accounts which offer travel insurance, see our Bank Accounts with Benefits guide.

Winter sports cover from £49

Age 70 to 75

European cover
Individuals – Holidaysafe Lite* at £25 (up to age 74) then £31 (when aged 75)
Couples – Leisure Guard* at £50

Worldwide cover
Individuals –  Leisure Guard* at £48
Couples – Leisure Guard* at £89

Alternative cover via bank account
The Nationwide FlexAccount* fee-free bank account includes European travel insurance for those under 75. This covers all account holders, so if a couple got it jointly they'd both be covered. You can also opt to pay £40 for worldwide cover (including the US), £40 for winter sports and £40 for family.

The bank comes high up on customer service rankings and you'll need a monthly income of £750 to apply.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, you may have to pay an additional fee or you may be declined cover entirely. For more bank accounts which offer travel insurance, see our Bank Accounts with Benefits guide.

Winter sports cover from £49

Age 76 – 79

European cover
Individuals – Holidaysafe Lite* at £32
Couples – Holidaysafe Lite* at £61

Worldwide cover
Individuals – Holidaysafe Lite* at £60
Couples – Holidaysafe Lite* at £120

Alternative cover via bank account
The Nationwide FlexAccount* fee-free bank account includes European travel insurance for those under 75 but if you've OVER 75 you can pay £50 for the same cover, which is still a hot deal. This covers all account holders, so if a couple got it jointly they'd both be covered. You can also opt to pay £40 for worldwide cover (including the US), £40 for winter sports and £40 for family.

The bank comes high up on customer service rankings and you'll need a monthly income of £750 to apply.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, you may have to pay an additional fee or you may be declined cover entirely. For more bank accounts which offer travel insurance, see our Bank Accounts with Benefits guide.

Winter sports cover from £60

Age 80 – 85

European cover
Individuals – Insure and Go (Silver)* at £197
Couples – Insure and Go (Silver)* at £393

Worldwide cover
Individuals – Insure&Go (Silver)* at £297
Couples – Insure&Go (Silver)* at £593

Alternative cover via Bank Account
The Nationwide FlexAccount* fee-free bank account includes European travel insurance for those under 75 but if you've OVER 75 you can pay £50 for the same cover, which is still a hot deal. This covers all account holders, so if a couple got it jointly they'd both be covered. You can also opt to pay £40 for worldwide cover (including the US), £40 for winter sports and £40 for family.

The bank comes high up on customer service rankings and you'll need a monthly income of £750 to apply.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, you may have to pay an additional fee or you may be declined cover entirely. For more bank accounts which offer travel insurance, see our Bank Accounts with Benefits guide.

Looking for winter sports cover?

Age 85+

European and worldwide cover
Annual cover is available but here it becomes really pricey. Try Age UK* and All Clear Travel which both have a wide age range and Benenden which has no upper age limit.

Alternative cover via bank account
The Nationwide FlexAccount* fee-free bank account includes European travel insurance for those under 75 but if you've OVER 75 you can pay £50 for the same cover, which is still a hot deal. This covers all account holders, so if a couple got it jointly they'd both be covered. You can also opt to pay £40 for worldwide cover (including the US), £40 for winter sports and £40 for family.

The bank comes high up on customer service rankings and you'll need a monthly income of £750 to apply.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, you may have to pay an additional fee or you may be declined cover entirely. For more bank accounts which offer travel insurance, see our Bank Accounts with Benefits guide.

Best buys: Single travel insurance for over-65s

If you are only going on holiday once in the next year, a single trip policy could be the cheapest option.

For those aged over 65, Holidaysafe* (Europe and worldwide) and Leisure Guard Lite* (Europe only) tend to be the cheapest insurers for both individual and couples policies. Prices range from, £11 for an individual aged 66 in Europe to £106 for a couple, both aged 85, for worldwide cover.

For a wider selection of insurers, check out a comparison site such as MoneySupermarket*, Confused* and Gocompare*.

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up to some financial products. Do check that it’s exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it’s in your account. 

Full help to take advantage of this and pros & cons in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

How to claim on your travel insurance

over 65 travel insurance

Claiming on your travel insurance shouldn't be daunting and – if you understand the terms and excesses on your policy – you shouldn't be in for any nasty shocks.

Follow the five steps below in the event you need to claim.

  • Submit your claim as soon as possible

    Contact your insurer as soon as you can. Some parts of your policy may have a short window to submit a claim and it may take a while to be processed.

  • If it's a medical claim get an insurer to accept it first

    If you need to make a medical claim – and it is not an emergency – get an insurer to accept the claim over the phone first. For example, thieves make off with medicine kept in a handbag that you need urgently. If the insurer accepts the claim over the phone, you're less likely to be faced with a rejected claim later down the line. For obvious reasons, don't delay treatment if it is an emergency.

  • If it's a theft or loss claim notify the police

    If something goes missing or is stolen when you are abroad you may need to get a crime reference number or the overseas equivalent to make a successful claim. Report the incident to the police as soon as you can – you often have to do it within 24 hours to be able to claim – to make sure your claim doesn't hit the skids.

  • Keep your receipts

    If you are claiming for lost luggage or delay, remember to keep receipts of essential items you have bought in the interim, such as food and drink. Many insurers allow you to add these expenses to a claim and may ask for receipts as proof.

  • Complain if you feel your claim was unfairly rejected

    If your insurance company rejects your claim, and you think it has done so wrongly, do not take it lying down. Complain to the free Financial Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is an independent adjudicator that will make the final decision on a claim if you are locked in a dispute with your insurer. For more on how to make a complaint, read our Financial Rights guide.

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that's usually quicker.