Over 65 and looking for travel cover? Learn key steps to get affordable cover with the features you need
Most insurers offer one level of travel insurance for those aged 18-64 and another for those who are over 65. This is because the older we get the more likely we are to make a claim, particularly one related to medical issues. Customers over 65 are generally considered to be a high risk group for insurers.
This perceived higher level of risk means travellers over 65 will usually pay more for their travel insurance. As well as cover for the normal things such as illness or injury, theft of belongings and disrupted travel plans, travel insurance for over 65s often includes extra emergency and medical cover not offered in normal policies. In order to get the most value for your dollar, it’s important to shop around and know exactly what you need.
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- Different types of cover available for travel insurance for over 65s
- How to compare travel insurance for over 65s
- How much will travel insurance for over 65s cost?
- Travel insurance for over 65s with pre-existing conditions?
- Travel insurance for over 65s checklist
- Seniors travel insurance FAQs
- Seniors travel tips
- Apply for Over 65s Travel Cover
Different types of cover available for travel insurance for over 65s
Not all travel insurance for over 65s is the same. Just as insurers offer different levels of cover for 18-64 year olds, your seniors travel insurance can also be tailored to suit your particular needs.
If you’re on a budget, one thing you can do to reduce the cost of your premium is to adjust the level of excess you pay. The excess is the amount you must pay up front when making a claim. You can reduce the cost of your premium by increasing the amount of your excess. It is up to you and comes down to deciding how likely you are to make a claim and whether a larger excess is something you can afford to pay.
Another saving that can be made will depend on how much travelling you intend to do. If you plan to make several trips in a year, you can look for a policy that covers you annually, rather than for one single trip. Much like buying in bulk, this can save you money.
If you only plan to travel around Australia or within Europe or the United Kingdom, you can also find policies that offer cheaper cover than worldwide policies. Whichever level of cover you choose, make sure the policy covers you for the fundamentals, such as medical expenses, lost luggage and flight cancellations or delays.
How to compare travel insurance for over 65s
The best way to compare travel insurance for over 65s is online. Buying your insurance direct from the insurer can be around 50-60% cheaper than through a travel agent, so it really does pay to shop around. When comparing seniors travel insurance policies, things to look for include:
- the price quoted compared to the level of cover offered (don’t just look for the cheapest price)
- the exclusions that apply to the policy (you should read the fine print carefully)
- the level of cover provided for medical and hospital expenses (this is very important, as overseas hospital stays can be very expensive)
- if you are staying in top-range accommodation, whether the policy provides a sufficient amount for lost deposits and
- cancellation fees
- whether the policy includes compensation for travel delays and cover for additional expenses if you experience a lay-over
- if you are taking expensive cameras or computer equipment, whether there is adequate cover if they are lost or stolen.
How much will travel insurance for over 65s cost?
There are three main levels of seniors travel insurance offered in Australia. These are bronze, silver and gold levels. Bronze is the most basic level and provides standard cover to a specified list of destinations. Silver is a mid-range level of cover and is more flexible than bronze, particularly in terms of destinations covered. Gold is the premium level and provides the most comprehensive level of cover, often including some pre-existing medical conditions.
As well as the level of cover you select, your premium will be calculated taking various factors into consideration that either lower or raise your level of risk. These include things like:
- your general health
- whether you are a smoker
- whether you plan to engage in dangerous activities such as skiing
- whether you are visiting areas of the world considered to be dangerous or politically unstable
- whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Considerations such as these will determine how much you pay for your seniors travel insurance.Back to top
Travel insurance for over 65s with pre-existing conditions?
If you’re over 65 and have a pre-existing medical condition, this can make getting seniors travel insurance more difficult. Many insurers will not cover seniors for a range of pre-existing conditions, so you will need to find those who do. A pre-existing condition is usually defined as:
- any ongoing medical condition or complications or symptoms of a medical condition of which you are aware
- any medical or dental condition that your are having or have had treatment for by a medical practitioner
- any condition that you are treating with prescribed medication
- any condition that you have had surgery for in the past.
Most travel insurance for over 65s will not cover pre-existing conditions such as:
- diagnosed cancers or secondary cancers
- conditions related to recent surgery
- chronic or recurring pain that you have sought treatment for
- some types of mental Illness
- cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease
- organ transplantation
- conditions where life expectancy is two years or less.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is important to declare such a condition, otherwise your claim may be denied. There are insurers who will cover some cancers and less extreme conditions such as asthma, diabetes, gastric reflux, epilepsy and hay fever.Back to top
Travel Insurance for Over 65s Checklist
When you have found a seniors travel policy that you think will suit you, ask yourself these questions:
- Does it cover everything you need?
- Does it include cover for losses that are not related to your situation and/or trip and you don’t need (and can have removed)?
- Is it affordable?
- Can the excess be adjusted needed?
- Is there adequate coverage for what is being insured?
- What is the claims process like and what supporting evidence will you need?
- Is the insurer contactable overseas and what paperwork will you need to take with you on your trip?
At the very least, make sure your chosen policy covers you for all the basics, including medical and hospital expenses, personal liability expenses, property theft or loss and compensation for delays and cancellations.
If you have any doubts about anything in your policy it’s always best to consult with a professional to make sure there are no nasty surprises. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but foresight is even better.Back to top
Seniors travel insurance FAQs
Q: If I want to extend my trip, can I extend my seniors travel policy as well?
A: No, but a new policy can be taken out while you are away.
Q: Can I cancel my seniors travel insurance policy?
A: Only if it is during the cooling off period, or if it is an annual policy, in which case you must notify the insurer in writing.
Q: What is the maximum age at which I can apply for seniors travel insurance?
A: This will vary with the insurer, but normally around 89 years old.
Can I get comprehensive travel insurance as a senior?
A: Yes, but you may need to prove your health status if you are over a certain age.
Q: What medical conditions can I get cover for?
A: It will depend on the insurer, but typically conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, incontinence, hernias and some diabetes.
Q: If my elderly mother’s illness gets worse and I have to cancel my trip, will I be compensated?
A: Probably not, as many insurers will not cover cancellation of trips for relatives with pre-existing medical conditions.Back to top
Seniors Travel Tips
Travelling when you’re a senior can have its own particular difficulties, so here are a few handy tips to keep in mind.
- Take a spare pair of prescription glasses in case you lose or break yours, spare batteries if you wear a hearing aid and if you have dentures, pack enough denture adhesive for the whole trip.
- Deep vein thrombosis commonly affects the elderly, so avoid sitting for long periods on the plane. Wear compression stockings, do stretching exercises and walk up and down the aisles as much as possible.
- Take a week’s supply of any medications you need in your carry-on luggage, so that if your bags are lost or stolen, you will have enough to last you until you can renew your prescription.
- If you plan to do a lot of walking, buy a pair of comfortable shoes with cushioned soles and break them in for a week or two before you leave.
- Find out and carry with you the emergency numbers for the areas you are travelling in, including police, ambulance, your insurer and the nearest Australian embassy.
- Avoid excessive walking and standing by taking advantage of the wheelchair hire services often available in places of public interest.
- Where possible, take guided tours rather than trying to see things on your own, as it will usually be easier this way and your tour guide will provide valuable information you might not otherwise learn.
- When staying in hotels, ask for a room near the elevators or a ground floor room and if none are available, ask for assistance with carrying your bags up the stairs.
- Flash your seniors card everywhere you go, as discounts of up to 50% are available for seniors in many places.
Apply for Over 65s Travel Cover
Hopefully this guide has given you an idea of what is involved with travel insurance for over 65s and the best ways to find the right policy for your needs. You may find that you are required to pay a little more for appropriate cover, but if you shop around and compare apples with apples, there is no reason why you can’t get good value for your insurance dollar.Back to topPicture: Shutterstock