MSE News

Top packaged bank account to stop insuring over-70s unless they pay more

Nationwide is to lower the maximum age covered by its packaged bank account travel insurance from 75 to 70, while raising the surcharge paid by older customers from £50 to £65. 

At the moment, its FlexPlus packaged bank account customers under the age of 75 are covered by the insurance, while over-75s can pay an extra fee of £50 a year to get the cover.

But from 3 January 2019, only customers under the age of 70 will have travel insurance included, and over-70s will pay a higher annual fee of £65.

Even after the changes, the FlexPlus is set to remain as our top pick packaged bank account. It costs £13 a month and includes family travel insurance, family mobile cover and Europe-wide car breakdown cover worth a potential £700 a year. 

The change will also apply to customers who've had a fee-free Nationwide FlexAccount since before 15 December 2016, as their account includes free European travel insurance. 

It comes as Nationwide also raises its fees for spending overseas using a debit card from 2% to 2.75%, effective from 8 October. 

For more info on the top paid-for bank accounts, see our Best Packaged Bank Accounts guide.

What is changing?

From 3 January 2019, FlexPlus and FlexAccount customers over the age of 70 will need to pay a £65 charge every year to be covered by the accounts' travel insurance policies. For FlexPlus customers, this will be paid on top of their usual account fees.

But if you're over 75 and already pay a £50 surcharge, you won't need to pay the increased £65 rate until it's time to renew your annual age upgrade.

The surcharge is per account, not per person – so if a couple aged 70+ both want to be covered by the travel insurance, the total charge will be £65. 

FlexPlus customers over the age of 70 can still use the other account features, which provide mobile phone and breakdown cover, without paying a surcharge. 

I'm over 70 – do all packaged accounts charge extra?

Most packaged bank accounts have an age limit of 70 or 71 for their travel insurance perks, and not all will let you extend the cover – even for a fee. 

Yet there are notable exceptions:

  • The Co-op Everyday Extra account offers travel insurance cover up to your 80th birthday. The benefits aren't as comprehensive as the Nationwide account, and at £15 a month it's more expensive – but when factoring in Nationwide's £65 annual surcharge, it's worth considering if you're aged between 70 and 80. 
  •  The Citigold account from Citibank also provides travel insurance up to your 80th birthday, but it'll only be worth it if you have a high income. The account's free if you hold an average monthly balance of £150,000 across all your Citi UK accounts – otherwise it's £75 a month. 

What does Nationwide say?

A Nationwide spokesperson said: "Nationwide was an outlier offering travel insurance cover up to age 75 as standard and we have had to reduce the maximum age to 70 in line with our competitors, as it had become unsustainable. Most of our competitors who offer travel insurance as part of a package current account will cease cover at age 70 and do not offer an upgrade to extend cover into later life."

She added: "Following increases in the cost of insurance, the amount the society charges for the age upgrade no longer covers the cost of providing the cover. The society has absorbed these costs for as long as possible, but this is unsustainable, so we need to reflect the cost of providing the cover in the pricing."