Many travellers aged 80 or over are being refused holiday insurance as more and more insurance companies shy away from offering cover for the older traveller.
According to Intune, provider of financial products and services for older consumers set up and owned by Help the Aged, 97 % of travel insurance policies are imposing an upper age limit. A quarter will not cover those aged 65 and over, and three-quarters will not cover those aged 75 and over, despite indications that the number of travellers in this group is increasing year on year.
Intune’s own travel insurance policy has no upper age limit and its oldest customer is 101 years old this year.
Stuart Castledine, Managing Director of Intune says “While the older generation flock to the sun, or visit relatives abroad, insurance is getting harder to find. This comes at a time when many people are electing to work until 70, leaving it even later in life for them to make the most of their retirement and leisure time through travel. Many policies do not provide cover over the age of 79. Added to this, many policies for the over 65s have restrictions on the number of pre-existing medical conditions that they will cover.”
According to research carried out by Help the Aged and Age Concern, 13 % of this older age group are put off due to the access, cost or perceived cost of insurance. The research found that a further 31 % of the over 80 age group believe they are discriminated against by insurance companies. The numbers of over 80s electing to travel without any insurance at all is increasing.
Many insurance companies fight shy of cover for the over 80s because of the perceived higher likelihood of claims. Customers over 85 are eight times more likely to make a travel insurance claim - and over 65s three times more likely - than customers aged 35 and under. However, they are travelling in greater numbers.
Intune’s own travel insurance policy has no upper age limit and covers many pre-existing medical conditions. It has been specially designed to meet the needs of older people and provide the reassurance that, whatever their age, they can travel with fast access to financial and medical help.
Customers who have pre-existing medical conditions that Intune has agreed to cover will not be penalised with increased premiums but will pay the same premium as customers with no conditions.
As well as their oldest customer of nearly 101, currently Intune’s oldest person with winter sports cover is 81. Intune provides single trip and annual policies, providing cover for travel in Europe or worldwide.
Older people holiday more widely than younger age groups, and for longer at a time – more than 121,000 trips of 3-6 months have been taken by this age group over the last year. The over 80s traveller has particular requirements which need accommodating, but they do not want a system which writes them off at a time when they should be enjoying life to the full.
The Help the Aged ‘Just Equal Treatment’ campaign is calling for an outright ban on age discrimination to be included in the forthcoming Equality Bill.
Travel insurance: News update: June 2008