Healthy over 70s paying double for travel insurance – ‘nightmare’

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Which? a consumer group conducted a mystery shopping exercise posing as potential holidaymakers. The group averaged the five cheapest offers to receive the final cost of travel insurance.

The investigation found that the cost of travel insurance doubled between the ages of 65 and 70, shooting up from £29 to £57 across the five years.

At age 75, the cost had tripled reaching a whopping £74 while for 80 year olds the price increased tenfold to around £300.

Which? said the investigation demonstrated how getting travel insurance had become a “nightmare” for travellers.

It said older travellers were often forced to seek specialist insurers due to the difficulty getting travel cover.

As pandemic restrictions lift and vaccination boosters are issued, older age groups are travelling again.

Paul Charles, chief executive at the PC Agency, a travel consultancy, said: “It doesn’t make any sense for insurers to put in more onerous restrictions and higher prices on those who are perfectly healthy and travelling more.

“They are shooting themselves in the feet by looking to charge more when elderly people are getting healthier and traveling more.”

Many older travellers are making up for lost time in the pandemic and holiday bookings have increased.

Older travellers also got far fewer quotes than younger travellers in the mystery investigation.

Tourists aged 80 had a tenth of the quotes than travellers aged 55 with those aged 55 receiving an average of 76 quotes.

People aged 80 or over only received an average of seven travel insurance quotes while those aged 70 received 26.

One in three Which? members said they felt they had trouble getting travel insurance due to their age.

A further third of members said they believed they had trouble due to existing medical conditions.

One member said that his wife’s irregular heartbeat meant getting travel cover was extremely difficult.

He said the condition resulted in “either a refusal to insure or astronomical premiums” for their worldwide cover.

One insurer quoted an extortionate £3,200 for a year’s worldwide travel insurance for the pair.

Older people were also quoted higher prices for car insurance in a similar Which? investigation.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, said: “There are hundreds of thousands of men and women in their 80s and beyond who remain extremely hale and hearty, and who are seriously disadvantaged by an age-based approach to measuring risk.

“This demonstrates that it’s time to consign hard and fast age limits of all kinds to the past and move to an approach that is more in keeping with the reality and diversity of later life today.”

Which? advised customers to contact the insurer directly by phone if there was relevant context to a request that couldn’t be communicated on an online form.

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