Travel insurance: tips for finding cheapest deals as Which? finds over 70s charged almost double

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A Which? investigation found that policies can be significantly more expensive once holidaymakers reach the age of 70

Turning 70 can double the cost of travel insurance for holidaymakers, new findings reveal.

A Which? investigation found that policies can be significantly more expensive and harder to find once holidaymakers pass the age of 65, even if they are in good health.

Why are over 70s paying more?

In a mystery shopping exercise, researchers from the consumer group posed as potential holidaymakers seeking insurance.

The average price was then taken from the five cheapest offers to reveal the final cost.

Researchers searched for insurance quotes for customers in perfect health buying an annual European policy, using a comparison site in September.

They found that once a customer reached the age of 70, they had less quotes to choose from and the average price of the cheapest five deals nearly doubled when compared with customers aged 65.

The average quote offered to a 65 year-old was £29, whereas for those aged 70, this was almost double at £57.

By the time people reached age 75, this figure had tripled to £74 and had increased ten-fold by age 80.

When posing as a 55 year-old customer, Which? was given 76 insurance quotes. By comparison, when posing as an 80 year-old, this figure dropped to just seven.

It was found that medical conditions and age were the most common problems in finding affordable insurance cover, particularly for travel.

One Which? member said declaring his wife’s irregular heartbeat resulted in “either a refusal to insure or astronomical premiums” for the couple’s annual worldwide cover – with one insurer quoting as much as £3,200.

Similar issues also cropped up when trying to find car insurance, with another Which? member, aged 78, surprised to be offered quotes ranging from £450 to £2,134.

They said: “I still run, jump in rivers and chase salmon, and run stables and horses.

“It’s annoying to discover that at this age you’re deemed incapable of even driving.”

How to find cheap insurance deals

Which? said that seeking advice from specialist insurers and brokers, including some mainstream providers, could help customers who are struggling to find an affordable deal on comparison websites.

Another option is to contact the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba), which helps people to find specialist brokers through its “find insurance” service on its website.

Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, said: “If you struggle to get insurance because of medical conditions or your age, there are some resources that can help you locate specialist insurers that lie off the beaten track of comparison websites.

“If there’s relevant context to your history or circumstances that you can’t communicate on an online form – or you’re unsure how to accurately fill one out – contact the insurer directly by phone or email to speak with a human being.”

Some simple tips to help cut down on travel insurance costs include:

  • Shopping for the best deal - travel cover costs can vary between providers, so shopping around for several quotes is a good way to make sure you are getting a good deal. Some providers also specialise in cover for older people, so it’s worth contacting those.
  • Get annual cover - if you travel more than once a year, taking out an annual policy can help to cut costs rather than getting a single trip policy for each holiday.
  • Check the level of cover you are getting - make sure you are not paying extra for cover that you don’t need and remove anything from a policy that you don’t think is necessary. Most travel policies will allow you to remove some cover, such as lost baggage protection, but be sure not to cut too much or you could risk being out of pocket.

Which? advised that the following travel insurance provders do not have maximum ages for new customers and so could be a good option to look at if you are struggling to find cover on account of your age:

Sarah Brodie, senior policy adviser, general insurance at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), added that the cost of travel insurance is influenced by a number of factors, including your age and where you are travelling to.

Ms Brodie said those who are older, or have a pre-existing medical condition, are more likely to need to claim for overseas medical treatment costs, and this is reflected in the price of the insurance quote.

In this case, she advised that it is best to shop around to ensure you are not only getting the best price, but the best policy to suit your needs.

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