If you’re booking a holiday as restrictions are beginning to ease, then getting travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked is vital. And while policies now generally cover Covid medically, there is a whole host of scenarios around the pandemic where you won’t be covered. And as you get older, many insurers use your age as an excuse to charge you more. We take you through what to watch out for, and our top-pick insurance policies.

What is travel insurance for over 65s?

The aim of travel insurance is to cover the cost of the unforeseen, such as illness and injury or theft of your personal possessions while you’re on holiday. It’s also designed to cover you if you have to cancel your trip before you go, or if you need to return early due to an emergency.

For older travellers, the cover works exactly the same way. However, as you age, insurers see it as an excuse to charge you more – the main thinking being that you’re more likely to develop medical issues while on a trip.

And, while it covers a lot, travel insurance isn’t designed to (and won’t) cover every eventuality or every loss or inconvenience that you experience while on holiday. Read this guide carefully so you know what is (and isn’t) covered.
What does travel insurance cover?

A good travel insurance policy should cover you for:

Cancellation
Medical costs (while abroad)
Curtailment (ie cutting your trip short)
Baggage and personal belongings
Sports, excursions and other activities
Personal liability

While you can expect an insurer to pay out for most of the above, the exact level of cover will vary by policy – so check the terms carefully before you buy.

You also won’t be covered for any of the above if you’re travelling to a country the Foreign Office is warning against travel to, whether that’s because of its coronavirus levels or for other reasons eg war or terrorism. If you do need to travel to one of these countries, you’ll need specialist cover.

Over-65s’ travel insurance – Need To Knows

Getting the right holiday cover is a much more arduous task as you age, as statistically you’re more at risk of injury and illness.

However, besides the extra cost, over-65s’ travel insurance is just like cover for younger travellers, insuring against unforeseeable mishaps which may occur before your holiday starts or while you’re away.

Before you buy cover, here are a few things you should know.

If you’ve booked a holiday a holiday, do not leave arranging the insurance on the ‘things to do’ list, as you’ll be taking an unnecessary risk.

This is because travel insurance doesn’t just cover you while you’re away – it also covers you for cancellation, events such as redundancy or an injury or death in the family, or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE you make your trip. You’re also covered if you catch coronavirus shortly before your trip and can’t go.

So, always buying your travel insurance ASAB (As Soon As you’ve Booked a holiday).

While choosing a travel insurance policy isn’t rocket science, don’t think you can buy cover without first giving it considerable thought.

Like all insurance policies, there are a number of things that providers won’t pay out for. Here are the most common:

Alcohol-related injury. You may be on holiday to unwind but if you are badly injured while you are more than just a little tipsy, your insurer is likely to reject your claim. The same goes for drugs. Insurers have different classifications of 'drunk', with some using blood alcohol limits, so check your policy carefully before you buy.

Medical conditions. Insurers will often cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions, but if you fail to tell your insurer and then need treatment for that condition, or a related condition, you won't be covered. You may also struggle to get a claim paid if you ignore advised medication or jabs needed to enter a country.

How to claim on your travel insurance
making a claim on your travel insurance

Claiming on your travel insurance shouldn’t be daunting and – if you understand the terms and excesses on your policy – you shouldn’t be in for any nasty shocks.

Follow the five steps below in the event you need to claim…

Submit your claim as soon as possible. Contact your insurer as soon as you can. Some parts of your policy may have a short window to submit a claim and it may take a while to be processed.

Get your insurer to accept a medical claim before you get treatment. If you need to make a medical claim – and it's not an emergency – get your insurer to accept the claim over the phone first. For example, if you sprained your ankle, call your insurer – if it accepts the claim then, you're less likely to be faced with a rejected claim later down the line. For obvious reasons, don't delay treatment if it's an emergency.

Notify the police if it's a theft or loss. If something goes missing or is stolen when you are abroad you may need to get a crime reference number or the overseas equivalent to make a successful claim. Report the incident to the police as soon as you can – you often have to do it within 24 hours to be able to claim – to make sure your claim doesn't hit the skids.

Keep receipts. If you are claiming for lost luggage or delay, remember to keep receipts of essential items you have bought in the interim, such as food and drink. Many insurers allow you to add these expenses to a claim and may ask for receipts as proof.

Complain if you feel your claim was unfairly rejected. If your insurance company rejects your claim, and you think it has done so wrongly, do not take it lying down. Complain to the free Financial Ombudsman. This independent adjudicator will make the final decision on a claim if you are locked in a dispute with your insurer. For more on how to make a complaint, read our Financial Rights guide, or see our section below