It is generally accepted that if you are over the age of 65 that travel insurance can be very hard to come by. As our site is dedicated to travel insurance for the over 80s then the reality for many readers is that finding affordable travel insurance is going to be nigh on impossible.
In our travel insurance for buyers guide we hope to explain all the pitfalls and what to watch out for when buying your holiday cover.
Ensuring you have the right travel insurance sure doesn't get easier as you age but we have listed 8 things to be on the look out before you click the buy button.
If you knew that you would be safe on your holiday and nothing bad was going to happen to you or your luggage then would you really bother getting travel cover? When the average insurance policy for an 80 plus traveller is over £100 then it seems a risk worth taking. Well going away without travel insurance is a huge risk for anyone of any age. Even if you are going on what should be a straight forward holiday to Spain for two weeks there is simply no way of knowing what might happen.
Fact of life I'm afraid. The older you become, the more of a risk you are in the eyes of the travel insurance providers. The higher risk the higherthe premium, in the same way young drivers are clobbered by car insurance providers. Another factor is that as an older person you are more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions which will push up your premium even further than just being over the age of 80.
As someone over the age of 80 the answer is most likely going to be to take a single policy. Annual policies are very good value for people under the age 65, in fact they can even be good value if you are between 65 and 80. The reality is that if you are over the age of 80 then unless you travel or holiday very frequently then you are probably going to be better off taking single policies. Indeed annual policies generally have a time limit for any one period so a longer trip of over 1 month will likely not be covered by an annual policy.
Group cover can be a very cost effective way of buying travel insurance, for instance if there are four adults of similar ages and health travelling togther. However if one of those adults happens to be quite a bit older then the premium could be a lot more for the other three compared to if they took out their own. Similarly if one of the party has pre-exisiting medical conditions then the same could be true again and it might well be worth taking out seperate policies.
The European Health Insurance Card that replaced the E111 card enables the holders to get get either free treatment in state run hospitals across the EU and also in the European area countries of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
EHIC IS NOT A REPLACMENT FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE!
Some holiday makers quite often believe that the EHIC means there is no requirement to buy travel insurance but this is not the case. The EHIC card does not cover lots of what travel insurance covers e.g. anything to do with loss of baggage, theft, cancellation, repatriation to name a few.
You can get an ehic card at the following address... EHIC CARD.
Be aware that some companies will try and sell you an EHIC card and that this is not necessary as the card is free via the link above that goes to the NHS choices website.
You should be aware that average claim resulting from medical emergencies abroad is around £1000 on travel insurance. With this in mind it's worth asking yourself if indeed it's necessary paying extra for £10 million of medical cover when £5 million will in many cases be enough however you should do your own research and the more quotes you get the better informed you'll be.
Before you buy any travel insurance you should ask yourself a number of questions...
- Are you taking expensive items with you that are hard to replace? Do you really need to take them?
- Are you going to be doing any adventure type sports that might not be covered as a normal activity?
- Are you likely to be carrying a lot of foreign currency?
- What geographical areas do you need to be covered? e.g. there is no point buying worldwide cover if you are not visiting North America for instance, so you should seek out companies that provide cover for worldwide except North America as this will likely be cheaper than entire worldwide cover.
Once you have answers to these questions then you can make an informed decision about the level of cover that you require.
Below is a list of the most common things that are covered in most travel insurance policies but be aware that the level or cover and wording can vary a lot between providers and their individual products.
Number one important aspect of any travel insurance policy. Medical bills can literally run into the millions and has more often or not bankrupted people and their immediate families, particularly when someone has had to be evacuated from a country with medical assistance e.g. with a doctor or nurse .
Medical cover will essentially cover you for any accidents, illnesses or injuries that arise when you are holiday or travelling. This should cover any cost of medical services received while abroad and include repatriation too e.g. when you are flown or transported home. Dental cover is usually covered too. Many policies will also cover any funeral costs.
Travel insurance should also cover the cost of your trip if you cannot go. Also they will cover you if you've had to cut your trip short. One thing that is often overlooked is that you need to have a valid reason for cancelling your trip or cutting it short. If you have booked a holiday to the Costa Blanca and a few days before you note the weather isn't looking great then this is not going to cut it with the travel insurance company who will more than likely turn down your claim.
Here are a number of valid reasons for your trip being cancelled.
Everything you take with you on holiday should be covered by travel insurance from personal items including phones and computers. The cover should include loss, damage or theft.
As usual you should always read the small print as some travel insurance providers might not include very expensive personal items such as a new smartphone of high value or laptop. Always check to see what the limits are on the amount you can claim back.
Finally you should check out any excess that you might have to pay when recaliming the cost.
Personal liability is usually covered when you take out travel insurance. This is required when you injure someone else or their property for instance if you are on a skiing holiday and crash into someone. Personal liability is usually set around the £2m mark so should cover pretty much any eventuality. It's important you check your polict has this particularly if you are going to be doing a lot of activities or sports while you are away.
Travel delays or delays to your holiday
Travel delays are usually covered or at least they are an option. They usually occur during adverse weather conditions, industrial action or breakdown of a vehicle.
If you are not on a package tour but have booked flights seperately then you might still be able to claim direct from your airline if you have been delayed for say more than three hours. You should note this is an EU directive and only applies to flights within the EU, for instance any flight that arrives into an EU airport or leaves from one.
Compared to what you might get direct from the airlines and payments for delay from your insurance will likely be a lot less so if the EU rules applies to your flight you would be better off seeking compensation from the airline itself.
All policies are generally not the same and will have different terms and conditions and also they'll cover some things that other policies won't however there are some general things that won't be covered by your policy.
As usual it's really important to check the terms of your policy before you go away. Don't assume it will be the same evern if you traditionally use the same insurance provider!
That's right if you'd had too many sherries when you slipped over and hurt your leg then chances are you will not be covered. Obviously this tends to be more of an issue for younger people who might be drinking to excess on some party island but it's shocking how few people take this on boards, particularly as you're more likely to drink on holiday.
If you are going to take part in dangerous activities then be aware your policy is unlikely to cover you in the event of an accident. If you are over 80 and you have an accident whilst skiiing for instance then your medical bills could be crippling especially as you are older.
The good news is that you can buy specialist cover if you are planning on doing any such activities. Do not take the risk if you are not covered.
Travel insurance will not cover medical conditions if you have not declared them. There is little excuse these days as virtually all insurance policies will challenge you about any medical conditions as you go through the buying process online.
Always make sure you are honest about any medical conditions, yes your premium will go up but it might not be as much as you think.
If you are planning on holidaying in a dangerous country where the UK government has flagged as being unsafe for travel then your policy will not likely cover you. Check the FCO link at the bottom of this and every page on the site.
If something happens on your holiday and you have to claim then it should be a fairly straight forward process.
Don't hang around or put off claiming on your travel insurance, do it as soon as you possibly can. Some policies have a window of time period when you must submit the claim, make sure you check the policy detail.
If you have had something stolen then ake sure you report this to the local police within 24 hours of the crime or incident. Failure to do this may result in you not being able to make a claim. Some police officers particularly in developing countries might want you to pay for the paperwork you need. There is not much you can do about this, in theory you are entitled to any paperwork free of charge but it often doesn't work out that way.
Make sure you keep any paperwork that maybe needed or useful for your claim.