Pensioners hit by travel insurersBut Holiday Which? reveals some great deals

14 September 2006

A beach towel

Tourists over the age of 70 are often lumbered with steep hikes in the cost of travel insurance, says the latest Holiday Which?.

Not only are older holidaymakers penalised financially, but there are far fewer companies willing to give them cover.

Recent research from Help the Aged found that nearly a third of single-trip policies don't cover those aged 65 and over, while half the 288 policies it looked at didn't cover the over-75s.

For annual policies, the charity found that over two thirds wouldn't cover the over-75s.

State cover

Some older tourists are so fed up with the hassle of finding holiday insurance that they rely on basic cover, such as the European health insurance card.

This entitles holders to reduced-cost state medical treatment in 25 EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland if they fall ill. But this card is of no help if you have to be repatriated.

Holiday Which? looked at around 100 travel insurance policies from dozens of providers to find insurers willing to cover older travellers.

Our travel insurance report shows the Best Buys for three age groups: over-70s, over-75s and over-85s.

Medical details

We also found that, if you're in these age groups, you need to be prepared to be on the phone for quite some time - typical calls lasted up to 15 minutes.

You also need to have medical details ready, such as stays in hospital and any medication you're taking.

Also don't expect to be able to call on a family member’s behalf as some companies refuse to speak to anyone other than the person who the policy is for.