Buying travel insurance in later years can be difficult, especially for those with medical conditions – but it doesn’t have to be if you book with a specialist insurer.
Many mainstream insurers turn their backs on older potential customers with health issues because there are fewer claims from younger, healthy clients. Yet a directory of firms willing to embrace ‘trickier’ policies can be found at Money Helper (moneyhelper.org.uk).
Among the firms listed are InsureCancer, which specialises in cover for terminal cancer, as well as Freedom Insurance, which has policies for liver conditions and is endorsed by the British Liver Trust.
Holiday Extras Cover Limited, Paying toomuch.com and Able2Travel have medical equipment cover of as much as £3,000. And AllClear Insurance Services Limited covers kidney failure.
Other specialist companies include Insurefortravelhealth.co.uk, Free Spirit, Travel Insurance 4 Medical and Saga.
Buying travel insurance in later years can be difficult, especially for those with medical conditions – but it doesn’t have to be if you book with a specialist insurer
A total of 28 are listed when you visit Money Helper’s page ‘Find a travel insurance provider if you have a serious medical condition or disability’.
InsureCancer, based in Surrey, is a leading insurer that was set up by a former Lloyd’s of London director, Dr Krish Shastri, in 2001 after he was asked to find insurance for someone with cancer but found sufferers were being excluded. He has pushed for medical conditions to be covered by the insurance industry, saying it is a ‘scandal’ that firms don’t offer policies.
He says: ‘Many companies will have a box-ticking process. But cancer is far too complex for that. Someone may have terminal cancer but live for many years.’
Dr Shastri, whose average customer is over 70, reckons prices on some comparison sites are ridiculously high: ‘£19,000 for two-week cover for someone with metastatic prostate cancer in Europe? This excludes people from travel,’ he says.
On its website which.co.uk, consumer organisation Which? also lists ‘Best travel insurance for the over-65s’. Among the providers listed are Insure and Go (insureandgo.com), Saga (saga.co.uk), AllClear (allcleartravel.co.uk), Co-op Insurance Services (coop.co.uk) and Staysure (staysure.co.uk). Experts at Which? do, however, recommend using comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com, confused.com, gocompare.com and comparethemarket.com to search for options. Another tactic is to use the ‘find a broker service’ offered by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (biba.org.uk).
Our snapshot survey of travel insurance multi-trip policies on moneysupermarket.com found annual travel insurance policies can leap by more than 140 pc from your early 50s to your 70s.
Year-round cover may not be available at all for some over 80s, although we did find policies — for those with no medical conditions — at Saga Travel Insurance.
A directory of firms willing to embrace ‘trickier’ policies can be found at Money Helper – for instance, Holiday Extras Cover Limited, Paying toomuch.com and Able2Travel have medical equipment cover of as much as £3,000
CHEAPEST MULTI-TRIP ANNUAL INSURANCE
- All cover to start on June 24. Medical cover on all policies is at least £10 million, with cancellation cover of up to £5,000, luggage cover of £1,000, and no excess charge — for those with no medical conditions.
Source: moneysupermarket.com and saga.co.uk
Our study also revealed that if you are travelling in Europe and are over 50, it may be cheaper to take out single travel policies than buy annual cover. The fear is that high insurance prices can result in some people giving up on foreign holidays as they get older, or risking travelling without insurance at all, according to over-60s campaign group Silver Voices.
However, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says: ‘Insurers aim to offer competitively priced insurance to as many people as possible. It adds that while prices may be high, medical costs can be ‘jaw‑droppingly expensive’ for the uninsured. The ABI warns that failing to declare medical conditions will invalidate policies. The organisation has a policy that if its members are unable to offer cover, they will refer people to alternative providers.
Older travellers do make more frequent — and higher — claims on travel insurance. Industry figures show that beyond the age of 80, the percentage of claims rises rapidly, peaking at 2.5 pc of all customers over the age of 90 making claims, with an average payout of more than £3,000. So higher policy costs for the elderly are understandable.
But shopping around can save a bundle.
MY TRAVEL PREMIUM TREBLED
Graham Sargeant, pictured with his wife Susan, says there’s ‘age discrimination’ in travel insurance
After passing the age of 70, Graham Sargeant (now 75) found his multi-trip annual insurance more than trebled to £600 and he could no longer afford it.
Meanwhile, his wife Susana, aged 66, had suffered from a liver fluke infection in her youth. When she was applying for travel insurance it seemed that, having passed the age of 65, she must declare this — the result being that she was being rejected.
‘I do think there’s age discrimination in travel insurance,’ said Mr Sargeant (right with his wife), a retired local government worker from Seaton Carew, County Durham. ‘Insurers are just milking us.’ Luckily, the couple looked up advice online offered by the British Liver Trust (britishlivertrust.org.uk). They then found a one-trip insurance cover for their forthcoming seven-day cruise to Norway for £121 for both of them offered by Freedom Insurance (freedominsure.co.uk).