Over-65s' travel insurance

Over-65s' travel insurance

If you're thinking of taking a trip, getting travel insurance as soon as you've booked is vital. Most policies now provide cancellation cover if you test positive for Covid, and a few have advanced cover for a host of scenarios – though none covers everything. We take you through what to watch out for, then give you our top-pick travel insurance policies.

Warning! Know the risks before booking, as restrictions could still change

 

Before you book a trip, be aware that with most travel insurers:

 

  • You won't be covered for cancellation if entry restrictions in your destination mean you can't go on your trip.
  • You won't be covered for ANYTHING if you travel to a country or region against the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

As travel rules can still change quickly, look for flexible booking where you can, and understand what is and isn't covered by your travel insurance so you know what financial risk you're taking on. For more info, see our Coronavirus travel rights guide.

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What is travel insurance for over-65s?

The aim of travel insurance is to cover the cost of the unforeseen – such as illness, injury or theft of your belongings – while you're on holiday. It's also designed to cover you if you have to cancel your trip before you go, or if you need to return early due to an emergency.

While travel cover works in exactly the same way for all age groups, as you get older, insurers see it as an excuse to charge you more – the main thinking being that you're more likely to develop medical issues while on a trip. 

And while it covers a lot, travel insurance isn't designed to (and won't) cover every eventuality or every loss or inconvenience that you experience while on holiday. Read this guide carefully so you know what is (and isn't) covered.

What does travel insurance cover?

Here's what a good travel insurance policy should cover you for as standard, for normal 'non-Covid' related reasons... (we've detailed Covid cover below).

  • Cancellation

    This usually includes for being made redundant, having to do jury service, falling seriously ill (including with Covid-19) or suffering a bereavement.

    Home emergencies, for example, fire, flood or break-in, are also usually covered.

  • Medical costs (while abroad)

    As it says on the tin. This covers the cost of receiving treatment overseas. You're also covered for repatriation – the cost of flying you back to the UK if the insurer decides you are medically able to be moved and it wants you treated in the UK.

    However, a word of caution here. If you had an existing medical condition you didn't tell the insurer about when you arranged the insurance, you won't be covered for any treatment you need while on holiday that's related to that condition. ALWAYS tell your insurer about any medical conditions (see our Pre-existing conditions travel insurance guide).

  • Curtailment (cutting your trip short)

    This is where you go on a trip, but need to cut it short due to an emergency. As with cancellation, there's usually a list of (similar) accepted reasons you can claim for, so check the policy wording carefully.

  • Baggage and personal belongings

    If your stuff is lost, stolen or damaged while you're away, you should be able to claim, as almost everything you take with you is included – think phone, camera, wallet, expensive clothing. Yet be aware policies can vary greatly both in the amount covered (including the maximum amount they'll pay out for a single item) and in the excess – the amount you have to pay towards the claim yourself.

    You may already be covered for this under your home contents policy, as these often cover belongings outside the home, so check.

  • Sports, excursions and other activities

    Some policies will reimburse you if you can't make use of your booking. However, some stipulate you can only claim for these costs if the reason you missed out is that the provider of the activity went bust.

    Again, watch out for the excess – a high one could mean it's only worth claiming for pricier outings.

  • Personal liability

    This protects others and their property from accidents you may cause while on holiday. For example, the personal liability element of your insurance would cover you if, while staying at a plush hotel, you spilt some hot coffee all over an expensive upholstered chair, staining it.

While you can expect an insurer to pay out for most of the above, the exact level of cover will vary by policy – so check the terms carefully before you buy.

You also won't be covered for any of the above if you're travelling to a country the Foreign Office is warning against travel to, whether that's because of its coronavirus levels or for other reasons, for example, war or terrorism. If you do need to travel to one of these countries, you'll need specialist cover

What Covid-related issues does travel insurance cover?

The pandemic is a major concern for any prospective travel, but working out exactly what a policy covers isn't always straightforward. In the table below we've summarised the level of cover you can expect when it comes to Covid-related cancellations.

Covid-related cancellation cover you can typically expect

Scenario Covered by a travel insurance policy? 
You/family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19.
Most DO, unless travelling against Government advice.
You test positive for Covid-19 overseas and need to extend trip and/or get medical help.

Most DO, unless travelling against Government advice.

You/family member can't travel as told to isolate by NHS (though this is no longer a legal requirement in England).

SOME cover this – check with your insurer.

Government restrictions in the UK mean you can't travel, such as a lockdown or change in Foreign Office travel advice.

FEW cover this – check with your insurer.

Overseas government restrictions mean you can't travel, such as lockdowns and quarantine on entry.
Generally NOT covered (though a few cover cancelling booked accommodation). 
You can't go as you're not willing/able to meet quarantine requirements on return to the UK (if applicable).
Generally NOT covered (though a few cover hotel quarantine costs if you choose to travel).
Can't travel as you don't feel safe going.
NOT covered – travel insurance never covers 'disinclination to travel'.

In short, you're generally covered if you catch coronavirus before your trip or while on it.

When picking our top-pick policies we've also focused on those that cover you if you've been told to self-isolate and can't go on the trip, though this is by no means standard.

Most cover stops there. However, there are a handful of insurers that provide some cover for cancellations due to national or local lockdowns in the UK, as well as changing Foreign Office advice.

It's still always best to book flexible flights and hotels which can be easily cancelled, in case you're caught by restrictions. Our Coronavirus travel rights guide has more information about your rights to cancel/move your trip, or get refunds from your provider.

Book flexibly and pay on plastic to give yourself extra protection

Travel insurance provides valuable last-resort protection, but it's best used in combination with other ways of minimising the risk of losing money on a trip... 

  • Book easily cancellable or flexible flights and accommodation. Hedge towards offers with no/low deposits or those that give refunds or let you rebook for free if you find you can't go.

  • Pay on plastic. Credit cards offer strong protection, as Section 75 refund rules mean for items costing more than £100, the card provider is jointly liable with the seller – though note that bookings via travel agents may not be covered as it usually only covers payments made directly to the travel provider.

    Debit cards also have some protection under the 'chargeback' refund rules (but these aren't legal requirements and firms sometimes challenge them).

    Yet for both schemes, you'll only be covered if the service wasn't provided, for example if the flight was cancelled or the accommodation was shut. These card schemes won't cover you if you weren't able to, or didn't want to, go on your trip. 

  • Package holidays can offer greater protection. If an airline or accommodation provider cancels, you're entitled to a refund. But if the trip or flight is still going ahead but you can no longer travel, such as a new travel warning from the Foreign Office banning all but essential travel, then you have few or no rights.

    However, most package holiday providers won't operate holidays to countries where a travel restriction has been put in place, so they are more likely to cancel the trip anyway.

Over-65s' travel insurance need-to-knows

Getting the right holiday cover is a much more arduous task as you age, as statistically you're 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 before your holiday starts or while you're away. Here are 10 things you should know.

  • If you've booked a holiday, do not leave arranging the insurance on the 'things to do' list, as you'll be taking an unnecessary risk. 

    This is because travel insurance doesn't just cover you while you're away – it also covers you for cancellation, events such as redundancy or an injury or death in the family, or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE you make your trip. You're also covered if you catch coronavirus shortly before your trip and can't go.

    So, always buying your travel insurance ASAB (As Soon As you've Booked a holiday).

    The same rule applies for a UK holiday, and we have a guide to help with arranging UK travel insurance

  • The thought of having to declare medical conditions can be daunting but travelling without making your insurer aware of any issues can result in any claim you make being rejected.

    Make sure you give a full and frank rundown of all the health problems you have, or have had, usually in the last five years, plus if you're pregnant too.

    If you have, or have had, what insurers consider to be less serious conditions, such as mild asthma or high blood pressure which you're not receiving ongoing treatment for, you may still be able to get traditional cover at the standard price.

    Just let the insurer know, even if you don't deem it particularly important, as many providers are taking a pragmatic approach as to whether to charge you more because of a certain condition. This is especially true as each insurer will have its own list of conditions it deems as more serious.

    If your insurer doesn't know your medical history, any existing conditions – however minor – will likely be excluded and you could face a massive bill if you become unwell. Insurers also need to know about medication, conditions or illnesses that can be linked to your existing condition.

    For example, an asthmatic who develops a chest infection (connected to being asthmatic) while on holiday will only be insured if they've told 'em about it.

    For much more, including tips, tricks and how to find the cheapest deals, see our Pre-existing conditions travel insurance guide.

  • While choosing a travel insurance policy isn't rocket science, don't think you can buy cover without first giving it considerable thought.

    Like all insurance policies, there are a number of things that providers won't pay out for. Here are the most common:

    • Alcohol-related injury. You may be on holiday to unwind but if you are badly injured while you are more than just a little tipsy, your insurer is likely to reject your claim. The same goes for drugs. Insurers have different classifications of 'drunk', with some using blood alcohol limits, so check your policy carefully before you buy.

    • Medical conditions. Insurers will often cover you if you have existing medical conditions, but if you fail to tell your insurer and then need treatment for that condition, or a related condition, you won't be covered. You may also struggle to get a claim paid if you ignore advised medication or jabs needed to enter a country.

    • Dangerous sports. If you're going on an adventure holiday, or planning to take a winter sports break, you must get extra cover or a specialist policy. Taking to the Alps for a spot of snowboarding with just a basic travel insurance policy in your bag is a risk not worth taking. If you get injured you could end up paying £10,000s in medical bills.

    • Refused entry (to visiting country). No one wants their holiday to end before it begins, but most standard policies won't cover this type of scenario. Insurance policies have a list of scenarios they do cover (for example, theft, medical assistance).

      It's your responsibility to check your travel documents are valid and you meet the entry requirements. Always check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website for the entry rules of the countries you're visiting well before travelling and give yourself plenty of time to get your paperwork in order.

    • Unattended possessions. Travel insurance will cover your personal possessions when you're abroad but it doesn't mean you can be gung ho with your stuff. If you leave your items unattended and they are then stolen, your insurer will not pay for their replacement.

    • Travel to dangerous countries. The FCDO outlines which countries it deems are unsafe for travel. If you travel to a country on its list, your cover is likely to be invalid. Check out the FCDO's current travel advice for more.
    • The excess. This is the amount you have to pay towards any claim you make. For example, if you cancel a trip and are entitled to £3,000 back from your insurer but have a £500 excess, you will only receive £2,500.

      However, many travel insurance products have separate excesses for different sections of the policy. For instance, some providers may make you pay an excess on both stolen cash and luggage. So if your suitcase was nicked and your wallet was inside you would have to pay an excess on both.

      It's important to check all excesses so you know exactly what you will have to pay if you make a claim.
    • Private hospital treatment. Only some insurers will cover you, others won't, so double-check your policy – whether out of curiosity or if you need to make a quick decision on which to go to.

      Of those we asked, it was a mixed bag. For example, if you're overseas and know you need to go to hospital to check out a chest pain, LV says it would cover you in a private hospital, but not all the insurers we asked would.

      However, if you're in an emergency, for example, you've a ruptured appendix or had a serious accident and are taken to a private hospital by emergency services without your knowledge, you're more likely to be covered by insurance, though there is still a chance of rejection.

      If rejected and you're unhappy, you can always go to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which can arbitrate.
  • Insurers will classify your trip as 'European' or 'worldwide'. Worldwide is often further broken down to include or exclude the US, Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico. Selecting the option to include these countries increases the premium due to the high cost of medical treatment – particularly in the US – and possible repatriation.

    European annual travel cover isn't just for Europe

    If you're travelling just outside Europe, you don't always have to select worldwide cover. Many insurers actually allow you to use their European cover in a handful of non-European countries too.

    If you're visiting Egypt, Morocco, Turkey or Tunisia, it's worth getting a quotation for European cover first and then checking the policy's geographical area definition to see if the country you're going to is included. The following insurers – Allianz*Insure and Go and Coverwise* – all class Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia as Europe.

    It's also worth noting that not all insurers automatically include Spain (and the Balearic/Canary Islands) in their European cover – you may have to pay extra to include Spain if you plan to travel there.

    Check if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination

    The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has a list of countries which it feels are unsafe for travel. Usually, this covers areas where there's war, terrorism or other reasons not to travel, such as natural disasters. In recent times, this list has been rather longer than usual due to the pandemic, which has been another reason the FCDO has deemed countries unsafe for tourism.

    If you take a holiday to a country the FCDO's advising against all travel to (or all but essential travel to), then your insurer won't cover you, even if travel was allowed when you booked your trip.

    So, when you're booking, and in the weeks leading up to your trip, check the FCDO website for the latest on whether you'll be able to travel as things can change quickly. You should also see if the country you're planning to travel to has restricted entry – you can usually do this via its UK embassy website.

    If one or the other means you can no longer take your trip, see if you can rearrange it, or if the provider will give you a refund. For more on what to do if this happens, see our Coronavirus travel rights guide.

  • The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and its replacement, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which has been sent to new applicants since 1 January 2021, entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in the EU at the same cost as a local would pay. So if they pay nowt, you pay nowt.

    The main difference since 1 January 2021 is that you'll NO LONGER be able to use your EHIC or GHIC in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, as they're not part of the EU.

    An EHIC/GHIC should be seen as an extra to travel insurance, not a replacement. Travel insurance covers a far greater range of scenarios, as well as gives cover for cancellation, possessions, delays, repatriation, personal liability, and more. Plus, even using an EHIC/GHIC you may need to pay, and travel insurance will cover that (and often using the EHIC/GHIC means you don't pay the excess).

    How do I get a GHIC?

    The card is free so if a copycat site pretending to be the real thing advertises a fee (often about £35), run a mile. For full info and how to get it for free from the legitimate NHS site, read our Free EHIC/GHIC guide.

  • This varies depending on where you're travelling and for how long, but if you get an annual policy you also have the added comfort of knowing you have cover in place no matter how many trips you go on in a year.

    For those 65 or under, our rule of thumb is: go away two or more times a year and annual policies are often worth it. And that logic can usually work up to age 75.

    Above that, annual policies get relatively more expensive, so then they usually only win if you go away three or four times a year or more. 

    However, it does vary, so it's always worth doing the maths yourself and comparing annual and single-trip policies.

  • If you're travelling with your partner or family, you have two options: you can cover everyone under one policy, or each person takes their own.

    If you're the oldie in a group and you're travelling with your younger partner or your family, it can work out cheaper for you to get a policy for yourself and for the rest to get a single, couples or family policy. This is because the price is usually based on the oldest traveller in the group, but always check both options before buying.

    When travelling with your family, a policy would normally only cover your immediate family, for example, partner and kids, so check exactly who is covered prior to committing. Even children going on a school trip may be covered automatically on a family policy (as long as they're with a responsible adult).

    There are times when separate policies will be a better option (so always check, to be safe), including:

    • If one of the travellers has a medical condition, as it will increase the price for all.
    • If just one of the travellers is going outside Europe, in particular to the US, or on a skiing trip (or even both), it could be better to have separate policies rather than the whole family buying extended cover when it's not needed.
  • Many bank accounts that charge a monthly fee have extra benefits such as travel insurance, so if you pay for yours you may already be covered for family members under 80 (depending on the account).

    This is great for those aged up to 79, who pay no surcharge on top of the monthly fee – though remember a surcharge may be applied if you're covering medical conditions that aren't covered as standard.

    If you think you got insurance as a sweetener with your bank account, check the terms to see if it's appropriate for your trip. For more info on accounts that offer travel insurance, see our Top packaged bank 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. 

    And travel accident 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 guide for more.

  • For either, do not expect to be automatically covered. For example, most regular travel insurance policies will only cover you for loss or theft of goods and medical costs while you're on a cruise. You may NOT be covered for other eventualities unless you upgrade your policy. These include:

    • Missed departure
    • Unused cruise excursions, for instance, a day trip to a city port
    • Cruise itinerary change
    • Cabin confinement, for example, onboard virus

    To get cover for these, you can usually select an add-on to get the right protection – which won't break the bank. If you want to buy one, a quick way to get a quote is to use a comparison site such as  MoneySupermarket*Confused.com*Gocompare or Compare The Market.

    The same principle applies if you're planning a skiing holiday – you'll need an add-on.

    Quick questions

    • Many holidaymakers wrongly assume they're automatically covered for winter sports as part of their travel insurance. While some providers offer winter sports as standard under certain policies, others only cover you if you extend your insurance and this will typically cost extra.

      All winter sports policies will cover you for skiing and snowboarding and many will also cover other activities, such as husky dog sleigh riding and sledging, as standard. If you are doing something a bit more unusual, such as ski jumping or snowmobiling, check the terms and conditions of your policy first. If you are planning to take part in something even more wild – such as luging or stunt skiing – specialist providers such as BMC and Snowcard may be able to offer you cover.

      If you opt for a specialist travel policy, check your details closely to make sure you know the limits of your cover.

      Don't forget to pick your specialist provider like any other insurer. Make sure you tell it about any existing medical conditions and remember to pack your EHIC/GHIC if you're going somewhere in Europe.

    • The cost of medical bills if you get injured on the slopes can be extortionate, so it's essential to have the right cover.

      The Association of British Insurers told us one Brit required £90,000 of treatment for a fractured rib and punctured lung.

      Even a smaller injury, such as knee ligament damage, cost as much as £3,800 to treat.

      Add being airlifted from the mountain to hospital, repatriation if you need to be flown home injured from the US or Canada, and this would significantly increase the claim.

      As well as covering yourself, winter sports insurance also covers your ski pack – a term used to describe the package of lessons you've paid for, lift passes and equipment hire – and cancellation of your holiday.

    • In most cases, you'll be allowed to ski off-piste but with certain restrictions. You'll have to be within the boundary of the resort, on a marked ski run, with local ski patrol guidelines or supervised by a qualified instructor.

    • Lucky you. It may be cheaper to take out an annual policy with a winter sports add-on. However, check the price against the cost of single trips to ensure you're getting a bargain. Your age is likely to play a part here so check the T&Cs of the policy carefully.

    • Most winter sports policies will cover you for accidental damage, theft or loss of equipment. The onus will be on you to keep your gear safe, so don't leave it at the mercy of crooks.

      Your equipment will usually be covered but different providers offer different limits. The sum insured is usually in addition to your standard baggage cover. For example, Axa will cover up to £1,500 worth of equipment, Admiral will cover from £500 up to £1,000 (depending on the policy), while Aviva and Direct Line give cover up to £500. Think about the value of your stuff and pick your policy accordingly.

      If you've hired ski equipment, it may be covered by your insurer if it's lost, stolen or damaged. Some providers insure any rented kit as part of your baggage up to a certain limit; others only pay up to 50% of the sum insured for hired equipment. Some ski equipment providers may also cover their gear for you, so it's worth checking with the resort before buying your cover.

      Alternatively, if you've paid for a full ski pack – including ski school fees, a lift pass and hired ski equipment – in most cases, this will be covered. The amount can range from £150 to £500, but can be as high as £5,000. As always, check your policy for any potential exclusions.

    • If your piste closes (usually due to lack of snow or an avalanche) and you're unable to hit the slopes, your insurer may give you back a set amount a day. This can range from £10 to £50, up to a limit of £200 to £500.

    • As long as your claim is valid and you're within the terms of your policy, you should be covered should you have a mishap on the slopes. But if you've had a drop of sherry and then injure yourself, your claim is likely to be rejected.

      This is a standard exclusion on most travel insurance policies, including ones with winter sports cover. Insurers have different classifications of 'drunk', with some using blood alcohol limits so check your policy before you buy. The same goes for skiing despite weather warnings and – with some providers – skiing without a helmet.

  • Even if you think you've found an all-singing, all-dancing policy that covers for every eventuality, beware. There's often a clause built in that says the policy won't cover 'recoverable costs', which essentially means you need to prove that you can't claim back those amounts elsewhere.

    So you'll usually need to put in the legwork and ask the provider, for example, the airline, holiday operator or car hire firm (and in some cases the credit card company), for a refund before your insurer would even consider a claim under the travel insurance policy. It's also worth noting that many insurers consider a credit note to be satisfactory, and may not pay out if one has been offered.

    Here's an example we found on Direct Line's site (but most insurers will have similar wording): 

    Before contacting us to make a claim please take the following steps:

    • Speak to the provider of your trip to understand if a refund is available, including a credit note or a voucher.
    • If you booked your trip using a credit or debit card, you should speak to your card issuer for advice on whether you can claim a refund from them. This is only applicable if you paid more than £100 for the trip and the service you have paid for isn't available, for example, the hotel is closed so you can't stay there as planned.

    We cannot log a claim until you have tried to recover costs from elsewhere where that option is available.

Cheapest single-trip travel insurance for over-65s

These are our cheapest top-pick policies for individuals and families looking for single-trip travel insurance, split into three categories:

  • Cheapest + basic Covid cover, from £21/week. These meet our minimum cover levels and provide basic Covid cover – cancellation if you or a family member catches it. Plus, there's cover if you test positive abroad and need to extend the trip and/or seek medical help.
  • Well rated + basic Covid cover, from £32/week. The Covid cover is the same as the cheapest policies above, but these provide higher claim limits per person and have excellent feedback when paying out claims as well as extra cover for events such as airline failure.
  • Top for extra Covid cancellation cover, from £56/week. These also provide cover if new UK-based restrictions mean you can't travel, such as Foreign Office travel advisories or local/national lockdowns (how likely that is now is for you to decide). They won't cover you if, for example, the foreign country stops you going.

Cheapest 'no frills' travel insurance – basic Covid-19 cover

These are our cheapest top-pick policies for single trips that meet our normal minimum cover levels and provide the following cover for Covid-19: 

You or a family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19 or you test positive overseas and need to pay for medical treatment, or extend your stay to isolate.

But there's no cancellation cover if UK Government Covid restrictions mean you can't travel, such as a new lockdown. There's also no cover if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination.

Cheapest single-trip travel insurance policies for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer One week, individual – price from (i) One week, couple (i)(ii) One week, individual – price from (i) One week, couple (i)(ii) Excess
Leisure Guard (Standard)* £20.51 £37.92 £59.98 £90.10 £100
Coverwise (Bronze)* £20.80
£39.89 £94.54 £136.58 £100
Avanti (Classic)* (iii) £24.57 £45.51 £61.52 £110.50 £75
Staysure (Comprehensive)* (iii) £26.04 £49.72 £77.16 £144.17 £65
ABTA (Travel Sure) £27.36 £49.96 £88.01 £148.90 £99
CoverForYou (Gold)* £36.53 £56 £61.50 £101
£0

Prices correct as of January 2022. 
(i) Prices vary depending on age.
(ii) Based on two adults aged 66.
(iii) Important. You must have had all the Covid vaccinations offered to you by the NHS to be covered for any claims relating to Covid, unless medically exempt.

Well-rated policies with higher claim limits – basic Covid-19 cover

We know travel's nowhere near as easy as it used to be and many are willing to pay more for greater peace of mind. So we've a few 'premier' travel insurance policies to try with higher levels of cover. All the policies here exceed our normal minimum cover levels and give:

  • £5,000 cancellation cover per person
  • £10 million medical and repatriation expenses per person
  • £2,000 baggage cover per person
  • End supplier failure, for example, airline or hotel stops operating
  • Travel disruption, for instance, volcanic ash, tsunami or other natural disaster

Though it's worth noting that higher-end policies don't tend to give greater protection for Covid-related claims. As with the no-frills policies above, they provide the following cover:

You or a family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19 or you test positive overseas and need to pay for medical treatment, or extend your stay to isolate.

But there's no cancellation cover if UK Government Covid restrictions mean you can't travel, such as a new lockdown. And there's no cover if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination.

Well-rated single-trip travel insurance policies for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer One week, individual – price from (i) One week, individual – price from (i) Excess
ABTA (Travel Sure Gold) £31.77 £95.47 £50
LV (Premier)* (ii) £37.20 £114.23 £50 to £90

Prices correct as of January 2022.
(i) Prices vary depending on age & number of people insured.
(ii) Baggage cover is an optional extension, which we've included in the price.

Policies with additional Covid cancellation cover

There are a few policies that go further than the rest, providing cancellation cover if you're unable to travel due to a change in the UK Government's travel restrictions. All the policies here meet our normal minimum cover levels, with these higher limits:

  • £5,000 cancellation cover per person (M&S Bank is £4,000 as standard)
  • £10 million medical and repatriation expenses per person

They also offer the following cover for Covid-19: 

You or a family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19 or you test positive overseas and need to pay for medical treatment, or extend your stay to isolate.

UK Government Covid restrictions, such as a change in Foreign Office travel advice, mean you can't travel and need to cancel.

This isn't complete coverage, though – you won't be covered if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination but you still go there. You're also not covered if you don't have the right entry documents (for example, Covid passes) or if you can't or won't meet quarantine rules on entry and/or return. 

 Single-trip travel insurance + extra Covid cover for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer One week, individual – price from (i) One week, couple (i) One week, individual – price from (i) One week, couple (i)
Excess
Churchill (ii) £56.05 £87.38 £124.02 £193.32 £50
M&S Bank (ii) £66.45 £110.23 £136.58 £228.10 £50 (iv)
Aviva (ii)(iii) £68.90 £100.62 £129.71 £202.83 £50
Top annual travel insurance via fee-charging bank accounts. These could be significantly cheaper than those above, especially for couples making a worldwide trip, and cover multiple trips, but could require you to open a new current account.
Barclays Travel Pack £12.50/month rolling cost (six-month minimum term, so min £75, or £150/year) with cover up to your 80th birthday. It also includes European breakdown cover. You need a Barclays current account to add this on. £50
Nationwide FlexPlus £13/month rolling cost (£156/year) with cover up to your 70th birthday. It's an extra £65/year (so £221/year total) for an age extension. It also includes European breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance. £50

Prices correct as of January 2022. 
(i) Price will vary depending on your age.
(ii) Baggage cover is an optional extension, which we've included in the price.
(iii) Price includes travel disruption cover, which is required for the extra Covid cover.
(iv) Price includes optional extra to reduce excess from £100 to £50. 

For a wider choice – with good options to add on cover – try comparison sites

If our hand-picked selection of insurers don't provide the cover you're looking for, it's worth doing a full check using comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket*Compare The Market, Confused.com* and Gocompare. They allow you to adjust your quote to suit your needs, for example, if you need to add cruise cover and want to compare policies.

However, we can't filter these for you, so always check they have cover that meets your needs. In particular, check what level of coronavirus cover the insurer offers before buying a policy.

Important. These sites are independent of MSE and may include providers we wouldn't.

Cheapest annual travel insurance for over-65s

These are our cheapest top-pick policies for individuals and families looking for annual travel insurance, split into three categories:

  • Cheapest + basic Covid cover, from £70/year. These meet our minimum cover levels and provide basic Covid cover – cancellation if you or a family member catches it before your trip. Plus, cover if you test positive abroad and need to extend the trip and/or seek medical help. 
  • Well rated + basic Covid cover, from £82/year. The Covid cover is the same as the cheapest policies above, but these provide greater cover, higher claim limits per person and have excellent feedback when paying out claims.
  • Top for extra Covid cancellation cover, from £94/year. These also provide cover if new UK-based restrictions mean you can't travel, such as Foreign Office travel advisories or local/national lockdowns (how likely that is now is for you to decide). They won't cover you if, for example, the foreign country stops you going.

Cheapest 'no frills' travel insurance – basic Covid-19 cover

These are our cheapest top-pick annual policies that meet our normal minimum cover levels and provide the following cover for Covid-19: 

You or a family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19 or you test positive overseas and need to pay for medical treatment, or extend your stay to isolate.

But there's no cancellation cover if UK Government Covid restrictions mean you can't travel, such as a new lockdown. There's also no cover if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination.

Cheapest annual travel insurance policies for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer  Individual – price from (i) Couple – price from (i)(ii)  Individual – price from (i) Couple – price from (i)(ii)
Excess
Leisure Guard (Standard)* £69.89 £114.44 £130.50 £225.30
£100
Staysure (Comprehensive)* (iii) £75.44 £130.77 £146.34 £250.18 £65
Avanti (Classic)* (iii) £75.85 £131.25 £135.37 £231.97 £75
Top annual travel insurance via fee-charging bank accounts. These could be cheaper than those above, especially for couples making a worldwide trip, but could require you to open a new current account.
Barclays Travel Pack £12.50/month rolling cost (six-month minimum term, so min £75, or £150/year) with cover up to your 80th birthday. It also includes European breakdown cover. You need a Barclays current account to add this on. £50
Nationwide FlexPlus £13/month rolling cost (£156/year) with cover up to your 70th birthday. It's an extra £65/year (so £221/year total) for an age extension. It also includes European breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance. £50
Co-op Everyday Extra (iv) £15/month rolling cost (£180/year) with cover up to your 80th birthday. It also includes European breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance. None

Prices correct as of January 2022. 
(i) Price will vary depending on your age.
(ii) Based on two adults aged 66.
(iii) Important. You must have had all the Covid vaccinations offered to you by the NHS to be covered for any claims relating to Covid, unless medically exempt.
(iv) The maximum age for winter sports cover is 64.

Well-rated policies with higher claim limits – basic Covid-19 cover

We know travel's nowhere near as easy as it used to be and many are willing to pay more for greater peace of mind. So we've two 'premier' travel insurance policies to try, which exceed our normal minimum cover levels and give at least:

  • £5,000 cancellation cover per person
  • £10 million medical and repatriation expenses per person
  • £2,000 baggage cover per person
  • End supplier failure, for example, airline or hotel stops operating
  • Travel disruption, for instance, volcanic ash, tsunami or other natural disaster  

Though it's worth noting that they don't give greater protection for Covid-related claims. As with the no-frills policies above, they provide the following cover:

You or a family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19 or you test positive overseas and need to pay for medical treatment, or extend your stay to isolate.

But there's no cancellation cover if UK Government Covid restrictions mean you can't travel, such as a new lockdown. And there's no cover if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination.

Well-rated annual travel insurance for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer Individual – price from (i) Individual – price from (i) Excess
LV (Premier)* (ii) £81.61 £219.59 £50 to £90
Top annual travel insurance via a fee-charging bank account. This covers you and your partner up to your 80th birthday, but requires you to open a new current account. 
Co-op Everyday Extra (iii) £15/month rolling cost (£180/year) with cover up to your 80th birthday. Includes European breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance. £0

Prices correct as of January 2022.
(i) Prices vary depending on your age.
(ii) Baggage cover is an optional extension, which we've included in the price.
(iii) The maximum age for winter sports cover is 64.

Policies with additional Covid cancellation cover

There are a few policies that go further than the rest, providing cancellation cover if you're unable to travel due to a change in the UK Government's travel restrictions. All the policies here meet our normal minimum cover levels, with these higher limits:

  • £5,000 cancellation cover per person
  • £10 million medical and repatriation expenses per person

They also provide the following cover for Covid-19:

You or a family member can't travel as you test positive for Covid-19 or you test positive overseas and need to pay for medical treatment, or extend your stay to isolate.

UK Government Covid restrictions, such as a change in Foreign Office travel advice, mean you can't travel and need to cancel.

This isn't complete coverage, though – you won't be covered if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination but you still go. You're also not covered if you don't have the right entry documents (for example, Covid passes) or if you can't or won't meet quarantine rules on entry and/or return. 

Annual travel insurance + extra Covid cover for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer  Individual – price from (i) Couple – price from (i)(ii) Individual – price from (i)

Couple – price from (i)(ii)

Excess
Churchill (iii) £94.32 £135.34 £194.74 £279.38 £50
Direct Line (iii) £109.32 £179.59

£212.39 £318.24 £50
Aviva (iii)(iv) £122.88 - £220.98 - £50
Top annual travel insurance via fee-charging bank accounts. These could be significantly cheaper than those above, especially for couples making a worldwide trip, but could require you to open a new current account.
Barclays Travel Pack £12.50/month rolling cost (six-month minimum term, so min £75, or £150/year) with cover up to your 80th birthday. It also includes European breakdown cover. You need a Barclays current account to add this on. £50
Nationwide FlexPlus £13/month rolling cost (£156/year) with cover up to your 70th birthday. It's an extra £65/year (so £221/year total) for an age extension. It also includes European breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance. £50

Prices correct as of January 2022. 
(i) Price will vary depending on your age
(ii) Based on two adults aged 66. We've not included some prices as these were too expensive to consider.
(iii) Price includes baggage cover as an optional extension.
(iv) Price includes travel disruption cover, which is required for the extra Covid cover as an optional extension.

For a wider choice – with good options to add on cover – try comparison sites

If our hand-picked selection of insurers don't provide the cover you're looking for, it's worth doing a full check using comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket*Compare The Market, Confused.com* and Gocompare. They allow you to adjust your quote to suit your needs, for example, if you need to add cruise cover and want to compare policies.

However, we can't filter these for you, so always check they have cover that meets your needs. In particular, check what level of coronavirus cover the insurer offers before buying a policy.

Important. These sites are independent of MSE and may include providers we wouldn't.

Travel insurance if you're travelling against Foreign Office advice

If you decide to travel to a country that has a Foreign Office warning against travel (though note we're not encouraging you to do so) and are looking for travel insurance to cover it, we've found some insurers that give some level of cover. Here's how it works...

  • You WILL be covered for normal medical issues while overseas.
  • You WILL have cover for the normal scenarios that travel insurance covers, such as loss of belongings and theft.
  • You MAY NOT have cover if you catch coronavirus overseas, so check the policy.

Here are some insurers to consider: 

Insurer Cover as standard, or optional extension? Covid-19 covered medically? Cancellation cover for Covid-19?
Battleface* Standard Yes – with repatriation cover No
Insurefor.com* Standard (but only for single trips to Europe) Yes – with repatriation cover Yes, but ONLY if the insured or a family member is diagnosed with coronavirus
Leisure Guard* Standard (but only for single trips to Europe) Yes – with repatriation cover Yes, but ONLY if the insured or a family member is diagnosed with coronavirus
Staysure* Optional – add 'European Foreign Office travel advice extension' Yes – if you've had all Covid vaccinations offered to you by the NHS Yes, but ONLY if the insured or a family member is diagnosed with coronavirus and you've had all Covid vaccinations offered to you by the NHS

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Still can't get cover or not happy with the price?

Specialist brokers can help you find insurers that cover non-standard trips, or help you if medical conditions mean you're struggling to find an affordable policy. To find one, see the British Insurance Brokers' Association website.

Always double-check the level of cover offered before taking out a policy as well as providers' websites for any info about coronavirus. Your broker should also be able to help you with any questions you have.

How to claim on your travel insurance

Claiming on your travel insurance shouldn't be daunting and – if you understand the terms and the 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.
  • Get your insurer to accept a medical claim before you get treatment. If you need to make a medical claim – and it's not an emergency – get your insurer to accept the claim over the phone first, before getting treatment. For example, if you sprained your ankle, call your insurer – if it accepts the claim then, you're less likely to be faced with a rejected claim later down the line. For obvious reasons, don't delay treatment if it's an emergency.
  • Notify the police if it's a theft. 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 so within 24 hours – to make sure your claim doesn't hit the skids.
  • Keep receipts. If you are claiming for lost luggage or delay, remember to keep receipts of essential items you have bought while waiting, 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, don't take it lying down. Complain to the free Financial Ombudsman. This independent adjudicator 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, or see our section below.

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 not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not, then…

Travel insurance FAQs

  • Will any policy cover me if I'm travelling for a month or two?

    If you're going away for more than 60 days at a time then standard travel insurance is unlikely to cover you.

    You'll need specialist backpacker insurance – sometimes called gap-year or extended leave insurance. These policies can protect you for up to 18 months as standard in most cases, and can even be extended.

  • Could ONE drink invalidate my claim?

    Many people aren't aware that if they have an alcoholic drink on holiday, and lose something or have an accident, their insurance may not cover them – even if they only had one drink. Insurers all have different interpretations – which we have seen in policy T&Cs – ranging from "drinking too much" to "approx four pints" to "alcoholic abuse".

    In practice, what most say is that it's all about if the drink has affected your decision-making. As we all have different tolerances, for some this could mean that just one drink could invalidate a claim.

    It's also been reported that some insurers have gone as far as testing blood samples for your alcohol level (although we wonder how this actually worked).

    Having a claim refused could hit hard, possibly excluding you from medical or possessions cover. As a general rule, use your common sense, as it's about safety as well as insurance. For example, if you're skiing and have two or three glasses of wine at lunch before hitting the slopes again, you're increasing the chance of an accident – which you also may not be covered for.

    See our Eight things many of us do on holiday that could invalidate our insurance blog – it's an eye-opener.

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