No matter how fit and healthy you are, as soon as you hit the magic figure of 65, you suddenly become a high-risk customer for the vast majority of insurance companies. In fact, many companies will now charge higher premiums as soon as you reach 50.
Fortunately, there are a number of specialist insurance companies offering cover aimed specifically at the over 65s age bracket, as they have cottoned onto the fact that more and more older travellers are deciding to spend their time travelling to far flung places.
The health factor
The main concern for insurance companies, and the reason that they will not usually cover over-65s on standard policies, is health. Health expenses abroad can be astronomical, and although they will usually offer cover ranging into the millions, they would certainly rather not have to pay this out.
According to the Foreign Office, an air ambulance on the East Coast of the USA can cost up to £35,000 pounds, which provides an idea of just what sort of figures we are dealing with.
For this reason, it is normal to be asked a number of detailed questions before being offered a quote, so that the company can work out the risk of insuring you.
The important thing is to be completely honest. Although a problem may not seem like much to you, if they ask you for any information then it is not worth holding back any details.
If you do have a history that you do not declare, and then end up making a large claim, they are very likely to research into your past health records to check for any irregularities. If they find anything, then your cover will become invalid, not just on health but on other areas as well.
If you do have a pre-existing medical condition, then there are other specialist policies that cater for these. The prices will be higher, but you get the benefit of knowing that you are fully covered for every eventuality.
If taking regular medication, then be advised that some medication is illegal in certain countries. Always check your facts first, and make sure you have a doctor's note to prevent any problems with a particularly inquisitive customs official.
Although considered a greater health risk, over-65s do have the advantage of being less likely to take part in dangerous activities, such as bungee jumping or skydiving, whilst on their trip. Many insurance companies have cottoned onto this fact, and have lowered their prices accordingly.
Often, policies for the over-65s will also include higher cover levels for such things as medical expenses, which will regularly go up to 10 million rather than the standard 2 million. It is also common to find greater levels of cover for cancellation and curtailment, and for delays to the flights, as the levels of distress that these events can produce are recognised.
The cheapest deals for over 65s will be found for single-trip policies. This is a contrast with insurance provided for younger people, when multi-trip insurance is usually the cheapest option.
Some over 65s insurance providers still place a maximum age restriction even for single trips, 84 is a common age limit. JS Insurance however offer no age restrictions for single trip cover.
Quite often, the age limit for multi-trip policies will be a lot lower than for single trips, meaning that cover is a lot harder to come by. If it is provided, then you can expect to pay a hefty premium.
Restrictions also apply to areas of travel. Although most insurance companies will offer the same areas as their standard policies, sometimes you will be restricted to travel in Europe only.
Where to look
As premiums tend to go up with age, it is usually tempting to go for the cheapest insurance that you can find. However, as with any travel insurance, you should always make sure that you have adequate cover for what you are planning to do.
Many companies offer Over 50's travel insurance, but they have an upper age limit. One company who offer travel insurance for those up to the age of 100 are World First, or Good To Go Insurance have no age limits.
However, if price is a priority then you are likely to find far better deals on the internet. Travel agents usually only provide insurance from a single company, so as well as being more expensive, they are also likely to be less comprehensive.