Over 60? Here's what you need to know about travel insurance

Your 60s are the perfect time to travel, but you need the right cover to do it

A little older, a little wiser – travelling in your 60s and beyond brings exciting opportunities and is a great way to enjoy your retirement. No matter which country (or countries) you plan on travelling to, you’ll need comprehensive travel insurance.

What does travel insurance include?

Travel insurance provides peace of mind and can include cover for incidents of theft, damage or loss of belongings.

Most significantly, travel insurance covers you in the event that you may need medical treatment when on your trip, either in the UK or abroad. You can also get comprehensive cover for additional services on your travel insurance, such as loss of medication, mobility cover, and emergency medical support.

Is travel insurance more expensive for older people?

Travel insurance is not necessarily more expensive, and the cost of policies is dependent on the location, duration and the nature of your trip. Most travellers in their 60s find that there is little to no difference in the cost of travel insurance, but there may be different restrictions as to what is included in the cover.

However, travellers in their 70s or 80s are likely to find that their premiums increase with age. This is because a person over 70 requires more advanced medical cover due to the increased probability that they may encounter health issues whilst travelling.

Registering for free treatment

Older travellers who visit Europe can avoid paying excess if medical treatment is required, provided they seek a medical facility that is part of a reciprocal agreement with the UK via the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

If you're travelling to Australia or New Zealand, you can receive free treatment provided you register for Medicare. Note that neither EHIC nor Medicare qualify as a replacement service for travel insurance, and you will still need to purchase a policy.

I have a pre-existing medical condition or illness – can I still get cover?

Yes, provided you make your medical condition known to the insurer. Pre-existing medical conditions include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes and terminal prognosis. Treatment or diagnosis for such illnesses that have occurred within the last two years are classed as pre-existing conditions.

If you fail to declare any pre-existing medical conditions of yourself or other travellers named on the policy, you will not be able to make a claim should you require treatment when on your trip. Your doctor must also clarify that you are fit for travel.

Medical screening before you travel

It is advised that you see a doctor before purchasing travel insurance and before you embark on your trip. This will bring any medical issues to light and make sure that you purchase the right cover.

If you have travelled against your doctor's advice, you will not be able to claim for medical treatment or expenses in light of this illness. If you fail to seek medical advice and fall ill on your trip, but would have been advised against travel had you sought it, your claim will also be rejected.

I'm going on a cruise – will this affect my policy?

Cruises are a great way to see the world. Due to the nature of these trips, you can take out an upgrade or separate type of travel insurance that is specifically designed for cruises.

These policies are slightly different to standard policies because of the complications of falling ill or requiring medical care when at sea. Like other types of insurance, you can take out different priced premiums of cruise travel insurance to find the right cover for you and your budget.

Getting cover for sports and leisure activities

Sports have no age limit, but when it comes to travel insurance, you may not be able to get cover for certain sports, particularly if you are over 60.

These might include general sporting activities, or those that pose more risk such as scuba diving and winter sports, where the average age cut off is around 65 years for cover.

If you are planning any sporting activities whilst on your trip, you may have to pay an extra premium. Always speak to an agent to clarify what you will and will not be covered for.

What to do next

If you're over the age of 60 and are planning a trip, you may find that some travel insurance companies are unable to provide you with certain strands of cover. Or, you may have to pay an added premium to get the cover that you need. For clarity, always read the policy in detail and ask for advice from your agent.