Consumer VOICE

Points to consider to finalize Overseas Travel Insurance

Pre-existing medical conditions

Older travellers are more likely to have a pre-existing medical condition (such as hypertension) – and some will find that they are denied cover because of that condition. But there are insurers who will offer cover specifically for older travellers with current or past health issues. With providers that offer holiday insurance for those who are over 70, the screening process will often be more personal and tailored to the individual’s own particular medical history.

Holiday insurance options

If you plan to travel for a longer period, or to several different destinations in one trip (as with many travellers aged over 70), an annual travel policy may be the way to go. This can work out cheaper than buying separate single-trip policies. Equally, if you’re not planning on travelling beyond, say, Europe, look for a policy offering annual cover for just Europe, as this can be much cheaper than a worldwide policy.

Check that your policy includes unexpected event cover. In recent years, there have been several incidents that impacted on holidaymakers, including air strikes, civil unrest and the infamous Icelandic ash cloud in 2010, which caused huge disruption. Taking out additional cover to protect against such unexpected issues might be advisable, though it’s likely to incur extra cost.

Whatever you do, steer clear of the insurance policy being sold by your tour operator, as it will almost certainly cost you more than one bought independently.

Information is power

Take the time to research and compare quotes online. Costs for holiday insurance for those over 70 can vary widely. Make sure you read the small print, so you know exactly what you are covered for.

If you find you are turned away by a general insurer for being the wrong age, consider quotes from insurers who specialise in older travellers, as they will base quotes on an individual’s health and claims history.

Before you go away on your travels, read up on your destination in guidebooks and online. Also, do a bit of research into the health risks in the country you’re visiting. Check if you need any vaccinations or other medication, such as malaria tablets.

Some Dos and don’ts for an air traveller:

  • Keep your legs moving during a flight to avoid deep vein thrombosis; drink plenty of water; and take a walk at least every couple of hours.
  • At your destination, don’t drink tap water until you’ve checked it’s safe to do so.
  • Make sure your passport is still valid for six months after your return date, and that you’ve got the necessary visas required for any of the destinations you plan to visit.
  • Alert your bank to where you are travelling, and take a note of the emergency number for your bank and numbers of all cards and travellers’ cheques.
  • Leave contact numbers and an outline of your itinerary with friends or family at home, and stay in touch over phone or email.
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport, visa and airline/hotel ticket booking/confirmation in each check-in and cabin baggage.
  • Do not keep the original passport, visa copy (if issued separately), and foreign currency and credit/debit cards together (do not keep all eggs in one basket!) – in the event of losing one, you may lose everything.

Consumer VOICE compared 6 brands of international travel insurance for senior citizens. Click here to read the complete comparative study. Also read “The inclusions and exceptions of International Travel Insurance

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