Why does age matter?
Unfortunately, travel insurance prices can rocket as you age because, according to the insurance industry, you are statistically more likely to fall ill while on holiday.
And it appears that the older you get, the more concerned insurers are about your health. When Which? compared quotations for European annual policies in late 2021, we found average prices for a 70-year-old to be nearly double those offered to a 65 year old.
At the same time, while prices rise, the available choice shrinks. In our exercise, a 55 year-old had 76 quotes to chose from when we hunted for prices on a comparison site. But this selection tanked to just seven when we said we were 80.
While it undoubtedly gets tougher to locate the good deals, quality travel insurance is still out there for older travellers. This guide will show you how to find it.
- Find out more: If you are over 65 and have pre-existing medical conditions, also see our medical conditions travel insurance guide.
Insurers that don't have maximum ages
When we quizzed 71 travel insurance firms in 2022, the following told us they had annual policies that don't have maximum ages for new customers: All Clear, Avanti, Co-op Insurance Services, Good 2 Go Extra, Insure and Go Insurance Services Ltd, OK to Travel, PJ Hayman & Company Ltd, Saga and Staysure.
Are insurers without maximum age limits the best option for older customers?
Not necessarily. Older customers aren't all the same and the insurer that's best for you will vary depending on factors such as your health and where you plan to travel.
Additionally, depending on your age, there may be a wider number of insurers (with age limits) that can still offer you cover, potentially with lower premiums.
However, if you've been struggling to track down insurance on account of your age, insurers with no maximum age limit are a good starting point.
- Find out more: the best and worst travel insurance
Travel insurance signposting
Where insurers can't offer you cover, they are required to 'signpost' you to an insurer or broker that is more likely to be able to help.
- Find out more: how to find cheap travel insurance
Help finding travel insurance if you're over 80
According to our analysis of policies in 2022, a traveller shopping for cover on their 66th birthday has access to more than nine in 10 annual policies on sale, assuming other factors (such as pre-existing medical conditions) haven't diminished their options.
Once you hit your eighties, though, your age alone bars you from over half of policies.
Combine this with higher premiums and you might begin to think travel insurance isn't worth buying.
Fortunately, cover is out there - if a little more tricky to find. Follow our four core tips to uncover the best deal for you.
1. Search widely
We recommend casting as wide a net as possible, which means beginning with comparison websites. It's also worth considering how you plan to cover your trips.
Some insurers will provide single-trip policies for customers they wouldn't offer annual quotes to. If you don't intend to make many trips, you might find a better selection if you look to cover your holidays individually.
2. Include specialist companies in your search
The older you are, the more likely you are to have medical conditions that need declaring - which can be a further barrier to finding insurance.
Some companies specialise in covering people with medical conditions, and so may be able to offer you a reasonable price where more mainstream insurers can't. These companies have conventionally been tricky to find - but fortunately there's now an official directory of them for you to check.
For further information on getting cover if you have medical conditions, see our guide on the topic.
3. Try a broker
Brokers will offer advice and search the market to find the right policy for you at the most competitive price available. Call Biba's 'Find a broker service' on 0370 950 1790 to be put in touch with a broker.
4. Watch out for differences in cover
Where an insurer may be happy to provide cover to you, some specific features of cover within the policy can themselves vary depending on your age - making it important to check that you'll have access to the headline benefits of the insurance.
A key area that can be restricted by age is the maximum length of your trips. Some annual policies, for example, will cover excursions of up to 70 days for policyholders aged 65 and under - after which the limit reduces to 30 days.
Meanwhile, limits in other policy perks - such as personal accident cover (this provides a fixed sum to you or your family if you suffer a permanent disability or are killed in an accident), may also be reduced for older customers.
Where restrictions such as these apply, they should be clearly stated in the policy wording.