How insurance companies handle medical conditions
Travel insurance has always been slightly more complicated if you are of a certain age and even more so if you have a diagnosed health condition. Most travel insurance providers approach older customers on the following basis – the older you are, the more likely you are to make a claim. This is especially true for medical emergencies, which is the costliest part of paying out on travel cover for the insurer. Of course, if you also happen to have a medical condition, the risks of you needing to seek out medical attention while you are abroad – which has to be paid for at private rates – increase further.
Many insurance companies will therefore do one of two things (or often both). They will set an age limit on their policies, after which they don’t want to take on what they see as the added risk of selling you insurance. If you are aged 70 and over, this reduces the choice available to you. Many insurers will also refuse to cover you if you have any medical condition.
The other tactic is to increase premiums by age to cover the higher likelihood of paying out on a claim. On top of this, many companies that will offer cover for medical conditions will charge handsomely for the privilege.
It is far from uncommon for travellers aged 70 and over who get diagnosed with a health condition to be quoted travel insurance prices they cannot afford. And because there is less choice available to them, it can seem like there is no alternative.
The good news is that there are alternatives – thousands of older people with medical conditions can still travel with complete insurance protection without taking on crippling extra costs.
Tips for finding over 70s travel insurance with a medical condition
Here’s a straightforward guide to finding over 70s travel insurance and the steps involved if you have a medical condition.
- Find a provider that specialises in over 70s insurance.
The first step is to find an insurance company that caters for your needs. Mainstream insurance providers base their model on selling standardised policies based on specific calculations about how many people will claim, the payout costs, etc.
Anything that upsets those calculations, such as the increased chance of making a medical claim if you have a pre-existing condition, threatens their profit margins. So their response is to either refuse cover or charge the earth for it. Not all providers are like that, however. Some base their model on catering to the needs of older people, or those with medical conditions, or both. Therefore, they can give you the protection you need, both health-wise and holiday-wise, at a fair price.
- Search for ‘over 70s travel insurance’ or ‘travel insurance for medical conditions’ online to find out who some of these specialists are.
- Share your medical background.
In most cases, the starting point for getting a policy from one of these specialists is filling out a simple questionnaire about your medical history and current condition. These are often multiple-choice. They are effortless to fill in and intended to give the insurer a clear picture of how your condition affects you and your needs.
What questions do I need to answer and ask?
Armed with this information, the provider will be in a position to match your needs to the right policy. They might ask to talk through various options directly with you as they perhaps ask a few more supplementary questions, all to get you the best possible cover.
What will my insurance cover?
You can find specialist travel insurance for over 70s and pre-existing medical conditions for any trip you plan – overseas or domestically, a traditional beach holiday or city break, a cruise or a worldwide tour.
And in the current circumstances, you can also get cover for any cancellations or mishaps related to COVID-19. For example, if you test positive before your trip and have to travel, or if you catch the virus while you are away and have to self-isolate before returning home, which can play havoc with your travel plans.
But most importantly of all, if you are over 70 and have a medical condition, your policy will cover you for specific medical treatments and interventions related to that condition.
Standard travel insurance policies won’t do, as they are designed to pay out for general care and medical emergencies only.