Over 50s grounded by travel insurance
It's the time of your life when you're most likely to want to travel, yet getting insurance has never been trickier.
A significant number of over 50s are being held back from going on holiday due to difficulties with getting suitable travel insurance, new research from Lloyds TSB has found.
The firm found that a little more than a quarter (26%) of over 50s have experienced travel insurance issues, with a variety of different factors causing these difficulties. 15% were refused cover due to an existing illness or injury, a figure which rises to 16% for the over 60s. I have seen at first hand just how difficult it can be – my own father underwent a couple of complex medical procedures last year, and I know that it was far from easy arranging cover for their recent holidays.
Around 11% of over 50s have had their applications for insurance turned down due to their age, rising to 16% for those over 60.
The trouble is that for many over 50s, this is the stage in their life when they are finally free to do a bit of travelling. The kids have left home (hopefully) and they have a little cash in their pocket. But suddenly travelling the word is logistically problematic.
While some mainstream insurers are less than enthusiastic about covering older travellers, there are thankfully some firms whose entire raison d’être is to meet the needs of the over 50s.
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Similarly, Age UK offers travel insurance with no upper age limit, and even covers for winter sports if you’re feeling particularly adventurous! Again, a large number of health issues are covered.
AllClear is another insurer aimed at helping those travellers that other insurers aren’t so keen on, claiming to cover all ages and all medical conditions. Another firm worth a look is Gnu Insurance, which again pledges to provide cover whatever your age or medical history.
Obviously, plenty of mainstream insurers will still be happy to consider your case. And in many instances the quotes you receive from them will be just as competitive as those from specialists. But if I had a slightly complicated health issue, or knew that there may be a few hoops to jump through with a traditional insurer, I know that I’d be a little more inclined to spend my money with an insurer whose business is strictly catered towards people like me.
You can compare quotes from insurers like these using the lovemoney.com travel insurance quote engine.
I’m not a big fan of packaged current accounts. These involve you paying for the benefit of the account each month, in exchange for a few additional extras, like breakdown cover or mobile phone insurance.
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Similarly, with the Santander Reward current account annual worldwide family travel insurance is included, covering you up to the age of 64.
Of course, you’ll have to work out for yourself whether the monthly fee you have to pay for these accounts are worth it for the sake of this insurance. The Co-op Privilege account sets you back £9.50 a month, the Co-op Privilege Premier £13 a month, while the Santander Reward account will cost you £10 each month.
The EHIC mistake
Because so many people over the age of 50 have issues arranging travel insurance, many of them are heading off to sunnier climes without any cover at all. This is obviously a big mistake, particularly as some of those travellers believe they don’t need cover anyway as they have packed their EHIC.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is an appallingly named piece of plastic, as it doesn’t provide insurance at all. What is does do is provide emergency access to state-provided healthcare in all of the countries within the European Economic Area (plus Switzerland) either free of charge or at least at a discount. So if you break your leg up a mountain, need to be flown home, or have all of your luggage stolen, it won’t be much help.
An EHIC is an essential thing to have in place, but it is absolutely not an alternative to travel insurance. Get one for free today!
Have you had difficulty arranging travel insurance because of your age or health? Did you find insurers that were happy to deal with you? Let us know about your experiences via the comment box below.