The Back Pocket
Travel Insurance – few bargains for the over 65's
At last you've retired. It's now time to relax and experience a slower pace of life. Even enjoy spot of gardening. But not all of today's modern over 65's have heard the message! Retirement is taking a new twist. Less of the slower pace of life and substitute jetting around the world! International travel for the retired is here and booming! It's all the result of a increased sense of adventure and willingness to experiment, combined with more money in the pocket. Cheaper air tickets have also helped! Even cruises, once the territory of the seriously rich and famous, have become affordable.
An escape to Antigua and a fortnight in the Canaries or a weekend in Stockholm are now firmly on the over 65's travelling schedule. Then a fly sticks in the ointment. Finding economical travel insurance when you're over 65 is not easy. Insurance companies recognise that people have healthier lives and are living longer, and in recognition the insurers are offering far more products for the older market. But with travel insurance, the over 65's are still faced with exorbitant premiums.
Premiums rocket as you get older and if you're looking for an annual policy for an extended holiday or a series of holidays, the problem becomes finding a policy at all rather than simply finding the cheapest price. The dilemma revolves around the costs of medical claims experienced by the insurers. Over 65's are much more liable to make a medical claim and the claim size is well above average too. Against this, older travellers reportedly lose less luggage - but these savings are counter-balanced by the fact their belongings are liable to be worth more. The result is that even if you are fit, the lowest priced annual policy for the over 65's could cost £1,000 per person – that could be more than the cost of the holiday itself. Faced with these charges, the solution is to buy a separate policy for each trip. But even with a good medical history, the cost of insuring a 3-week holiday in the South of France starts around £65, and rises enormously for destinations in America and further a-field. What's the solution? You're recommended to shop around. Your travel agent may offer a quotation but don't snap his hand off until you've got competitive prices. You'll almost certainly find a much cheaper alternative through surfing the Internet and buying online.
But don't make your final decision simply on the basis of cost. Always examine the small print. Some travel policies will insure you for up to 21 days, others up to 31 days or 45 days. Some policies will only cover you if you're staying in booked accommodation rather than staying with friends or relatives. No good for visiting family in New South Wales! Then you need to ensure that you've got adequate cover for medical and hospital expenses and don't spare the horses – think of a high figure and triple it! You'll be amazed how expensive quality medical attention can be whilst you're abroad. Incidentally, it's important that your insurer will fly you home to the UK if your medical condition demands. And don't overlook comparing the excesses you have to pay per claim. Finally, check that the policy pays medical costs direct to the hospital rather than you paying first and having to reclaim. And now comes the really good bit – jet off and ENJOY yourself!.
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