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Home > Guide to over 65 travel insurance

A guide to Travel Insurance

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Travel insurance is frequently bought online, solely on price (especially by the young). The more mature and discerning purchasor knows that there are actually 3 'C's to purchasing any product.

1) Cost : how much you need to pay to get
2) Cover : the benefits, limits and exclusions paid for
3) Claims service : how fast and easy are they paid.

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Since 1963, B Portwood & Co Ltd have offered advice on all forms of insurance: especially over 65 travel insurance. We have been regulated by the Insurance Brokers Registration Council (when it was an offence to call a business an insurance broker unless it was so regulated), the General Insurance Standards Council, the Financial Services Authority and, currently, the Financial Conduct Authority. Our ethos for these 50+ years has been to put the customer first.


Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance depends on the traveller's needs. Other rating factors include the destination, European countries are rated relatively low, worldwide cover is moderately priced and travel to America, Canada and the Caribbean the most expensive.

Age is (currently) a key factor in travel insurance. As expected, travellers under 50, are undisputedly less likely to suffer from medical conditions, hence the probability of having to cancel the trip prior to departure (one of the most common sections underlying a claim) is substantially less and, once on the journey, medical illnesses are less common, although accidental injury may be elevated. Once over 50, and particularly over 65 (the standard retirement cage), illnesses and conditions are more likely, resulting in increased costs and consequently more elevated premiums. Upon reaching 70 or 75 the body generally is becoming more fragile and less able to defend itself from the onslaught of bacteria and viruses, so costs further increase and when reaching the expected twilight ages of 80 or 84 there is an increasing risk of sustaining a life-threatening condition abroad, even for those in apparently good health on booking the trip.

When considering travel insurance, the possibility of taking part in activities with an elevated element of personal injury should be considered. The most typical, of course is winter sports, but even there the participant may be intending to be merely on-piste ski-ing, whereas the more adventurous may be looking forward to off-piste, not to mention other winter-sport derived activities, such as mono-ski-ing, heli-ski-ing, mountain ski-ing, randonee - there is a large and ever growing list of options. The winter-sports enthusiast should therefore read diligently the policy wording to ensure that their specific choice of activity is permissible or, at the least, possible to be included in the cover provided.

There are other activities that travel insurance may cover if needed and selected. Again be certain that cover is provided under the policy, cheap travel insurance policies may exclude many activities or restrict cover. A key example is SCUBA diving. Cover varies widely. It may be excluded, of not the usual restrictions are the depth (10, 18, 30, 40 ,50 metres), whether solo diving is permitted or if the diver must be accompanied, and what professional qualifications may be needed.

What can affect Travel Insurance?

A major difference is if travel insurance for a single trip or an annual policy should be elected. For the younger, regular traveller, an annual travel insurance policy can represent substantial savings, especially if one or more trips will be of substantial duration e.g. close to a month, or to a higher rated area. For the elderly, however, the premium for annual travel insurance rises astronomically as a full year is, to be honest, a substantial part of the life expectancy and there may be a serious deterioration in health, especially towards the latter part of the year. Several single trip policies may suffice. Nevertheless, in many circumstances an annual policy may represent good value for money.

Two more points should be noted when comparing travel insurance for annual risks. The first is, if there is a family, to a) ensure that the family meets the policy definition. There may exist restrictions on the number and age of children - note that, usually, friends of children will be excluded and b) verify that independent travel (if required) is covered or whether the policyholder must be present for the policy to be in force. The second point is the difference between cancellation cover. In a single trip travel insurance policy cancellation cover commences immediately the policy is taken out. With an annual policy, cancellation commences on the cover start date. Unless competent, make sure that the commencement date for an annual policy, unless similar cover is existent, is as soon as possible.

The usual form of travel insurance is to cover short trips, either a package holiday or a self-built trip. These typically last for less than a month, although standard cover is usually available for 3 months if required. There are, however, many trips that will exceed 3 months. There are several varieties - gap year or backpacker policies for students, the 'Holiday of the lifetime', perhaps including an extended cruise and elderly parents/ grandparents visiting the family, who have emigrated. Each of these require differing cover levels so the purchaser should satisfy themselves that the level of cancellation cover, personal effects etc meet the expected potential losses. There is no point purchasing a backpacker policy when the potential cancellation costs are &10,000!

A final caveat for those purchasing travel insurance. Always check that medical conditions are covered. Many cheap policies exclude medical conditions as standard, others may have an online medical screening facility or a contact number to obtain cover. This may also apply to close relatives, whose serious illness or death could result in cancellation of the trip. Please note that a major change in medical condition between buying the policy and commencement of the journey will necessitate a review of the terms offered by the insurer.

As brokers, offering travel insurance, B Portwood & Co will offer advice if contacted or if you have any queries about any aspect of travel insurance.

Medical Conditions

There may be pre-existing medical conditions. The online policies available above operate an automatic medical-screening tool that assesses the increased probability of making a claim due to existing medical conditions. Humans are far more flexible than computers however! if you contact us and provide a full list of medical conditions then we can either make our own recommendation or suggest a suitable policy where the medical screening is done via the phone - this makes it more likely that a correct quote is obtained. Whether cover is purchased is entirely up to the proposer although sensible decision would be to obtain cover to prevent potential substantial costs incurring. (The EHIC provides some cover for medical treatment in subscribing countries but no associated costs e.g. emergency transport home.

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B Portwood & Co Ltd are registered in England (785468) and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the arrangement and administration of non-investment insurance products. This can be checked on the FCA website or by calling 0800 111 6768. B. Portwood & Co Ltd are also a licenced credit broker.

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