Over-65s' Travel Insurance
Cheap annual travel insurance from £22/yr when aged 65 or over
As you get older, especially if you're aged 65+, many travel insurers use it as an excuse to charge you more than you need to pay, but there are lots of ways to save and you could get cover from £22. This guide explains how travel insurance works, how to find cover if you're 65+ and what to watch out for before you buy.
In this guide
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Over-65s' travel insurance: Your eight need-to-knows
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 8 things you should know.
"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.
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.
Standard travel insurance covers you in the UK but the cover here is not as powerful as when overseas, though it can still prove useful, so you'll need to weigh up the pros and cons.
Travel insurance in the UK offers all the usual protections you'd get abroad, such as theft of valuables and cancellation though you normally aren't covered for hospital treatment but that's not such an issue given you should be able to use the NHS.
That said, you'll still need to declare all pre-existing conditions as insurers want to know how likely you are to have to be driven or airlifted home in a medical emergency. problem is not all trips are covered, eg, most insurers only cover you if you've booked accommodation.
But there can be other restrictions. For instance, LV* gives cover if you're more than 25 miles from home or your journey involves a sea crossing. So the message is to check policies carefully as they can vary.
Finding cheap cover depends on your age, as you can see from our no-frills cheapest picks 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 Co 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.
And remember that ...
If you are travelling with your partner or your family, you have two options – you can either cover everyone under one policy, or each person takes their own. It's often cheaper to get a combined policy, but always check first.
If you are travelling with your family, a policy would normally cover your immediate family only, so check exactly who is covered when buying. Even children going on a school trip may be covered automatically on a family policy (as long as they are with a responsible adult).
However, there are times when separate policies will be a better option (so always check, to be safe), including:
- If one of the travellers is over 65 as the group price you'll pay is based on the oldest traveller, or the person deemed to be the highest risk, so it'll usually hike the price for all.
- 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.
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.
Every travel insurance policy covers different things but all would offer a varying degree of cover on the below:
Unforeseen illnesses, injuries or accidents will be covered under the medical section of your policy. This covers the cost of receiving treatment overseas – including dental emergencies in most cases – and repatriation, the cost of having to fly you back to the UK.
On a slightly more morbid note, most policies cover cremation costs or the repatriation of a body should someone die during your holiday.
Travel policies also cover cancellation if you can no longer go on your holiday or you need to come back early. However, there needs to be a valid reason for you to abandon your trip. Being made redundant, having to do jury service, or having to take care of a seriously ill family member are among valid reasons.
But if you decide you no longer fancy a trip to the Canary Islands because you would rather go to the Maldives, or you want to return to the UK because you forgot to put EastEnders on series record, your claim will probably be rejected.
Baggage and personal belongings
Your travel policy will also cover you if your stuff is lost, stolen or damaged while you are on holiday. Almost everything you take overseas, including computers, phones and cameras as well as expensive clothing is included – but always check the policy limits. Many providers will also cover you for the loss of a passport, cash or a driving licence.
However, policies can vary greatly both in the amount covered and in the excesses – the amount you have to pay towards the claim yourself. For example, items such as cash or expensive goods can be subject to their own high excess.
Personal liability 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, during a skiing trip, you crashed into another skier and injured them. Insurers will usually cover you for up to £2m, which is generally more than enough.
Travel schedules are often the victim of adverse weather, so delay cover is one of the more important aspects of travel insurance. Most policies cover against more than just storms, with many including events such as industrial action and mechanical breakdown.
If your flight's been delayed for more than three hours or it's been cancelled you may be able to claim compensation of up to £530 directly from the airline but the reason for the delay or cancellation must be the airline's fault, so bad weather for example, won't count.
This compensation is only for EU-regulated flights. An EU flight is where the flight departed from an EU airport, regardless of the airline OR where an EU airline landed at an EU airport. Under this law, EU airports also include those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. See our Flight Delay Compensation guide for more info.
If this doesn't apply – perhaps because you flew both from and to an airport outside the EU – you can also try making a claim on your travel insurance policy. Insurers typically pay out for each 12-hour period you've been delayed, but the payouts are often tiny compared to what you can get from your airline so always go down that route if you can.
Like all insurance policies, there are a number of things that providers will not pay out for. Here are the most common...
You may be on holiday to unwind but if you are 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.
Insurers will often cover you if you have pre-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. So, if you go to Kenya and decide against getting jabs for diphtheria, hepatitis A, poliomyelitis and tetanus do not expect your insurer to foot the bill if the worst happens.
If you are going on an adventure holiday, or you are 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 – especially if you're over 65.
Travel insurance will cover your personal possessions when you are 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 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) outlines which countries are unsafe for travel. If you travel to a country on the FCO's list your cover is likely to be invalid. Check out the FCO's current travel advice for more.
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.
However, some insurers include destinations such as Egypt and Turkey in Europe, while others offer European policies with the option of including or excluding Spain (which can cost more and may increase your premium). As always, check your policy carefully to make sure you are getting the right cover.
An excess 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.
If you have a group policy you may also have to pay an excess for each person for any loss that impacts your entire party, such as cancellation. It is important to check all excesses so you know exactly what you will have to pay if you make a claim.
Most travel insurance policies are traditionally designed to cover package holidays, as historically that's how 90% of us booked our holidays, and not all providers have kept up. This leaves them ill-equipped to cover DIY trips, where flights and accommodation are booked separately.
The biggest issue is a lack of cover for knock-on consequences. If a policy covers scheduled airline failure, for example, and the airline goes under, you'll typically be able to claim for the flights and any consequential losses, such as hotel costs. Without this cover, you'll lose the money you paid for it.
To beat this, you need a policy that specifically covers 'indirect loss' or 'scheduled airline failure'. Check the small print as some insurers include this cover as standard, while with others it is an optional extra.
Remember, packaged holidays feature extra ATOL and ABTA protection. And as of 1 July 2018, you're fully protected if you create a DIY package by selecting elements separately via the same website (or shop or call centre) and then buy them in the SAME transaction. See Holiday Rights: ATOL, ABTA, cancellations & delays explained for more.
As with any insurance product check all the terms, conditions, exclusions and inclusions before you buy. Travelling without the right cover can leave you seriously out of pocket.
Remember to check your excesses too. High excesses may result in a cheaper policy but should only be considered if you can afford to front a large portion of the cost of your claim yourself.
Annual cover will insure you for an unlimited number of trips over a 12-month period. However, the number of days you can be on holiday for per trip may be capped – it can often be as low as 17 days, with other setting the limit at 31 or 45 days but can sometimes be as as high as 90.
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 2017 was £1,300 - a far cry from £10m.
The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. You'll be treated at the same cost a local. So if they pay nowt, you pay nowt. It's not a substitute for insurance, which covers far more.
The card is free so if a copycat site pretending to the 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 the Free EHIC guide.
What's happening to the EHIC after Brexit?
EHICs will definitely continue to be valid until the UK leaves the EU - currently set for 31 October 2019. After that, it depends on whether we leave with or without a deal:
- If we leave with a deal, you'll continue to get state-provided healthcare in the EU if you have a free EHIC at least until the end of a transition period – likely the end of 2020.
- If we leave with no deal, EHICs may stop working. The UK Government says it's working with EU member states to maintain the same level of cover as provided by the EHIC, but your card may not be valid after exit day.
An EHIC should be seen as an extra to travel insurance not a replacement. Travel insurance covers far more scenarios, as well as possessions, delays, repatriation and more. Plus even using an EHIC you may need to pay, and travel insurance will cover that (and often using the EHIC means you don't pay the excess).
Equally many travel insurance exclusions don't apply with EHICs. So If you've been drinking you'll still be treated (not an excuse to push it); or if you've got a pre-existing conditions, it still works. Though medical tourism – going abroad to get treatment – is prohibited.
We've heard reports that some travellers have had their EHICs refused for public health care in some countries. It's only affecting a minority of travellers in a few areas. See which countries have been affected and what you should do.
- If we leave with a deal, you'll continue to get state-provided healthcare in the EU if you have a free EHIC at least until the end of a transition period – likely the end of 2020.
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.
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.
For more info on it, and other accounts that may 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.
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.
Cruise ship holidays are growing in popularity but don't expect to be automatically covered for cruise specific issues. Carefully check your policy to make sure you are covered should you need to cancel a cruise holiday or require medical treatment once on board.
If you need extended cover, which usually includes cover against missed departure, unused cruise excursions, cruise itinerary change and cruise cabin confinement, you can usually select an add-on to get the right protection – which won't break the bank.
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.
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, other travel policies 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 crazy – such as luging and 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 travel provider. Make sure you tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions and remember to pack your EHIC if you are going somewhere in Europe.
The cost of medical bills if you get injured on the slopes can be extortionate so it is 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 damage to a knee ligament, 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 will also cover your ski pack 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 covering 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 the 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 the limit of the coverage. Other insurers 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 is worth checking with the resort before you buy your cover.
In most cases, your ski pack – including ski school fees, a lift pass and hired ski equipment – is covered. The amount can range from £150 to £500, but can be as high as £5,000. As always, check your policy closely 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 per day, this can range from £10 to £50 – up to a limit of £200 – £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 carefully before you buy. The same goes for skiing despite weather warnings and – with some providers – skiing without a helmet.
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Cheapest no-frills annual travel insurance for over-65s
Whether you are travelling in Europe or further afield, with your family or on your own, we've listed a range of policies for anyone aged 65 and over.
Note: We've listed the cheapest no-frills policies meeting our minimum cover levels, we don't factor in payout record or customer service.
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.
Individuals – Insure and Go (Silver) at £252 (see below to get it from £81 via Europe Plus (previously known as EHIC Plus)
Couples – Insure and Go (Silver) at £377 (or from £141 via Europe Plus – see below)
An alternative to consider is Europe Plus* (and were previously known as EHIC Plus) – as long as you have a valid free EHIC card. If you need medical treatment while abroad, the EHIC card would allow you to use an EU state run hospital for the same price as a local. And the EHIC Plus would cover you for things such as delays, lost baggage and cancellation.
While the EHIC card's free, the Europe Plus cover is from £81 (when aged 80) up to £201 (aged 85) for a year (£141 - £351/yr for couples).
For each annual travel insurance policy you buy by 11.59pm on Sat 31 Aug via this exclusive MoneySupermarket* link, you'll get a £15 restaurant voucher to spend at participating restaurants in some UK airports, including Belfast, Glasgow and Heathrow. The link you’ll need to redeem your voucher will be emailed to you about 16 days after you purchase the policy.
Note: While it’s possible to get cheap annual travel insurance policies via MoneySupermaket, they may not always meet our minimum cover levels. So make sure the policy meets your needs and provides enough cover.
- The £15 restaurant voucher is per annual travel insurance policy purchased (excludes single-trip policies).
- After the 14-day cooling-off period, you’ll be sent the email you need to redeem the voucher.
- Click on ‘Redeem a Meal Voucher’ within the email and choose a restaurant from the list. A code will be generated for you to show the server. Printed codes will not be accepted.
- You can only use the voucher once at participating airport restaurants on food and drink. The list could change at any time.
- If you spend less than £15, no change will be given.
- The voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and can’t be extended.
- If multiple people sit together, they will only be able to each use a voucher if they inform the server at the time of ordering that they each have a voucher and that they would like separate bills to pay separately.
Cheapest no-frills single trip travel insurance for over-65s
Just want the cheapest no-frills policy?
We've highlighted the cheapest policies meeting our minimum cover levels below, though note we don't factor in payout record or customer service.
For those aged 65 and above, Leisure Guard Lite* (Europe only) tends to be the cheapest insurer for both individual and couple's policies, starting from £57 for an individual aged 65 in Europe, for a week.
Want to cover more things?
If you want more protection, eg, gadgets, delays, airline failure, missed departure and more, then it’s worth doing a full check using comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket*, Compare The Market*, 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.
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How to claim on your 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.
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 you need to make a medical claim – and it's not an emergency – get an insurer to accept the claim over the phone first. 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 is an emergency.
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.
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.
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.
If you're going away for more than 60 consecutive days then standard travel insurance is unlikely to cover you.
You'll therefore 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.
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 the one drink. Insurers all have different interpretations – which we have seen in the 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 ability. 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 works in practice) but as stressed, this does vary from policy to policy.
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 8 things many of us do on holiday that could invalidate our insurance blog - it is an eye-opener.
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.
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