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How to find the right travel insurance for your parent


Ashley Shepherd, Managing Director of Over50choices.co.uk, takes an in-depth look at the factors your parents should consider when choosing travel insurance, providing a helpful guide on how to find the right policy to suit their needs.

The cost of travel insurance increases as we age – a sad fact considering that for many of our parents the retirement years are seen as a time for travel. The older they get, the more susceptible they may be to illness and accidents and because older generations tend to book holidays in advance, the rate of cancellations increases too. Quite simply the higher the risk, the higher the premium.

Unfortunately it’s a catch 22. Can your parent afford travel insurance vs can they afford to travel without it?

The price is right. Or is it?

The price of your parents’ travel insurance policy usually depends on 4 main factors:

  1. Their age
  2. Their medical history –pre-existing conditions, surgeries etc
  3. Where they’re travelling to
  4. How long they’re away for

Some companies will refuse to cover people over a certain age, usually around 75 but there are specialist insurers who cater for this age group such as our site Over50choices which provides cover up to the age of 80 and Age UK or Saga who have no upper age limit. It may be worth looking for an insurer that offers medical screening so if necessary they can include additional cover rather than exclude a condition completely which could leave to complications down the line.

Trawl the Terms and Conditions

As always shopping around for the best priced insurance is a must but make sure to check the small print as well so you know what is and isn’t covered in your parents’ policy. Often insurers chose to exclude some pre-existing medical conditions in order to make their travel insurance cheaper. Combing through your parents’ paperwork may help to avoid something being missed and ensure they’re getting the comprehensive cover they need.

Don’t bank on account insurance

Many banks now offer travel insurance as part of their premium accounts or savings plans. If your parents have this coverage it’s worth checking what’s included in the bank’s policy. The chances are the travel cover will be very basic – inadequate for older parents who may have pre-existing medical conditions or wish to travel to destinations further afield than Europe.

Too much of a good thing

Be sure your parents aren’t over insured or covered for something that is irrelevant. If they’re travelling within Europe don’t opt for worldwide cover, if they’re not keen on activities such as horse riding or scuba diving then they’re better off with a standard travel policy.

Adventure is out there

When parents retire they have far more time to travel and carry out life dreams that perhaps they put aside when they became parents. For fitter parents water and winter sports may still be an option. Skiing, sky-diving and other such activities often require specialist insurance which can be added to a travel policy after discussing the requirements with your parents’ insurer. A more specialist insurer who offers cover for extreme activities such as winter sports may offer better value so as always, shop around and compare travel insurance prices.

Seasoned travellers

If your parents fancy themselves frequent flyers as retirement sets in it may be cheaper for them to buy annual travel insurance rather than arranging a single trip policy every time they jet off. Multi trip insurance can save your parents time and money whilst allowing them the flexibility of arranging last minute trips without having to worry about renewing their insurance.

Better safe than sorry

Some parents may feel that they can’t get travel insurance past a certain age or due to their medical condition and so instead of searching for a company to cover them they make their merry way without insurance in place.

Travelling uninsured could have serious financial consequences for your parents and, possibly, for you. Whether your parents have health concerns or they’re as fit as a fiddle, travel insurance should be an essential part of planning any holiday.

Although your parents will probably face a higher premium they should always declare any medical issues when they apply for travel insurance as failure to disclose relevant health problems could invalidate the policy and leave them up creek without a paddle!

Couple’s retreat

If your parent is travelling with a partner, it may also be worth looking at quotes for couples as it can sometimes work out as the cheaper option. This is when you will really experience the value of having access to travel insurance price comparison sites as you can compare prices for both individual and joint cover in minutes, choosing the one that suits your parent’s needs and their pocket.

Parents on tour

If your parents are the kind of people who like to go on holiday with tour groups they may think that their tour operator’s travel insurance will cover them should any issues arise on their jollies. In many cases tour operators’ insurance is very basic covering loss of personal belongings and cancellations rather than medical fees and emergencies.

Travel in the UK

Parents who’re used to holidaying in the UK might not see the need for travel insurance as they can rely on the NHS if someone falls ill. It’s important to remember that travel insurance covers your parents if their belongings are stolen or perhaps they have to cancel their holiday altogether, it’s not just about protecting health and welfare.

Driving abroad

Linking back to car insurance, if your parent is travelling and planning to hire a car, check that they are eligible to drive in the country they are visiting and by the insurance company they are using as age limits do differ.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If your parents are travelling within Europe they can apply for an EHIC which entitles them to medical treatment in state-run hospitals within the EU. Whilst this card covers you parents for emergency medical treatment it may not mean that they get this free. If the country’s residents pay for their medical care, your parent will have to pay for theirs. Should an illness abroad mean that your parents have to cut their holiday short an EHIC will not cover any of the costs that can be incurred and so should not be seen as a replacement for insurance.

Over50choices.co.uk is a personal finance comparison website for the over 50s authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Over50choices team take an honest approach to explaining insurance and seek to make life simpler for those of us who just don’t get legal jargon! For more information contact Ashley on [email protected].

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