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TRAVEL PLANNING: Travel Insurance for Over 50’s

THE BACKPACKING HOUSEWIFE AFFILIATE LINK STATEMENT

Buying Travel Insurance to cover you for any unforeseen medical expenses or financial losses while travelling is an essential part of the planning and preparation for any trip.

Finding the best travel insurance for over 50’s policy when you are travel planning can be difficult and confusing but travel insurance is something we can’t afford to travel without at any age.

Travel insurance is there if the unexpected ever happens.

Travel insurance is there for you in an emergency situation while you are travelling outside of your own home country of residency.

Travel insurance can provide a financial safety net and get you the support and assistance you need if you ever get ill or are involved in an accident, an incident, or worse, during travel and while on holiday or vacation abroad.

At the very least Travel Insurance should provide you with peace of mind.

That’s why it’s so important that you choose the right travel insurance policy for your needs especially Travel Insurance for over 50’s.

When the backpacking husband and I were younger, travel insurance was much easy to buy and much easier to afford.

As we are now both middle-aged (we are both 64) we see travel insurance has become ever more specialised and ever more costly.

Especially, if there are existing medical conditions to report that can increase the travel insurance quotation.

In fact, Travel Insurance for over 50’s travel can be something of a major personal investment.

We can do all we can to minimise risks while we travel. We can take advice. We can be cautious.

We can get all our travel vaccines and be super careful. BUT life is risky.

Leaving home can be risky.

Accidents can and do happen and usually when you least expect it and when you are least prepared.

For all these reasons, it’s important to get the right insurance cover for your AGE, for your EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS, and for the specific DESTINATIONS where you intend to travel.

Spending money on a travel insurance policy that doesn’t cover you for all the things that you need in an emergency situation abroad is not only a terrible waste of your money but it also means you’ll have no safety net while travelling.

It’s down to YOU to choose responsibly and to buy the right travel insurance policy.

It’s daunting and scary and a huge responsibility I know – but don’t panic!

Table of Contents:

Travel Insurance for over 50’s

Travel Insurance Information

I’M SOMEONE WHO BUYS TRAVEL INSURANCE

But, first of all, I need you to know I am NOT an expert in travel insurance or Travel Insurance for over 50’s and this article is meant as general guidance only. I’m just like you. I’m someone who buys travel insurance.

So I’ve had some experience of choosing and buying a travel insurance policy over a period of many years and for global long-term and also nomadic travel.

However, I also need you to know that I’ve only ever claimed on a policy once in my life and that was years ago.

Since then and while travelling the world with my backpacking husband we have (thankfully) never had a reason to make a claim on a travel insurance policy.

But we always travel with travel insurance.

That’s not to say that while we have been travelling things have always gone to plan for us and that a life of travel is always spent in sunshine and flip-flops.

Because we have on occasion experienced situations of travel mishaps and mayhem and needed to see a doctor or a dentist or a pharmacist or we’ve lost or mislaid stuff and even managed to miss a flight.

But, as our incurred costs during these incidents have never exceeded our travel insurance policy ‘excess’ we have never needed to make a claim.

An ‘excess’ is an agreed payment stipulated in your policy that your insurance company will ask you to pay towards any claim that you may make.

All that has been down to luck rather than to anything else… but what about the next time?

That time I had a toothache and went to see a dentist in South Korea MIGHT have proved to be more expensive.

The time I slipped on a footpath in the rain in Thailand and scraped the skin off my foot and had to go to the pharmacist COULD have been a broken bone and a hospital admission if I hadn’t been holding onto my husband’s arm at the time.

That time we were in Central America and the backpacking husband was bitten by a mosquito and was feeling unwell COULD have been Dengue Fever.

From my experience of travelling I wouldn’t want to rely on luck alone.

I’d much rather know that my insurance policy covered me for such emergencies.

The Backpacking Housewife at the dentist in South Korea
The Backpacking Housewife at the dentist in South Korea

Okay… let’s Get Back To Travel Insurance

Why do you need travel insurance?

What kind of travel insurance do you need?

How does travel insurance for over 50’s work?

What IS covered and what is NOT covered?

Buying a travel insurance policy can feel confusing and overwhelming and time consuming.

But it’s really important to carefully read all the TERMS AND CONDITIONS and read THE SMALL PRINT and to be fully aware of what IS covered and what is NOT covered in the policy.

Travel insurance for over 50’s is often sold with a choice of different Levels of Cover that are often called something like Basic Cover for emergency medical insurance only, Premium Cover that will also cover you against any lost luggage and travel delays, and a Fully Comprehensive Cover that will cover you for most eventualities.

Generally, you should always buy the policy that suits you best.

I can honestly say that I’ve never travelled without even the basic level of travel insurance.

Travel Tip: Take a note of your travel insurance policy number and contact number and keep it somewhere where you can find and access it in the case of an emergency. Also share this information and your travel itinerary with your loved ones back home as a back-up.

Who are the best providers of Travel Insurance?

Over the years, I have used several different (GLOBAL) travel insurance providers.

Family Policies: I’ve bought single trip family travel policies comprehensively covering all eventualities when we were taking the kids on holidays.

Holiday Policies: As empty nesters, when the backpacking husband and I first decided to travel full time, we started out taking travel insurance policies out in three monthly chunks.

But, if we were still travelling when the policy expired, we then had to renew from outside our ‘home country’ of UK.

This is when we discovered that most travel insurance companies require you to be in your country of residence during the time of purchase of your policy and often require you to have a return ticket for within a specified time.

For this reason, when we’ve been on an extend round the world trip, it has made sense for us to take out comprehensive annual multi-destination global travel policies from the outset.

We started out buying cover for all our flights, travel arrangements, and our luggage and stuff.

But sometimes – and increasingly – we prefer to travel light and we don’t carry any expensive equipment with us.

It has made financial sense for us to buy EMERGENCY MEDICAL insurance cover only for in the event of personal injury, accidents, and any unexpected illnesses, rather than for any flight delays, travel interruptions, cancellations or material losses.

Except, it was during one of those times – when we had only bought an emergency medical cover insurance – rather than one covering any trip interruption cover, that we were in Thailand and got the news of a close relative’s grave illness at home.

Of course, we had to fly home immediately – on the 2nd January and at one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year – and our basic cover insurance didn’t cover us for the cost of the travel.

On that occasion, we had to whip out our emergency credit card and accept the unforeseen costs.

The incident did make us wish that we’d bought the extra insurance cover.

We’d thought we were saving money by buying a basic cover policy but in the end it had backfired on us.

Travel Tip: If you are involved in an accident or incident however serious or minor then do keep any receipts and paperwork relating to what has happened to assist you in any travel insurance claim.

Travel Insurance

10 Important Things When Choosing Travel Insurance

1. Choose a reputable Insurance Company and do your research. Read recommendations and reviews.

Trust Pilot is a great website for consumer reviews and Money Saving Expert website is a good resource.

Global Travel Insurers I have used in the past include World Nomads and True Traveller and Stay Sure.

I now use World Nomads with whom I have an affiliation. See Disclaimer.

Do use the link below to get a no obligation quote from World Nomads.

2. Decide on the type of travel insurance cover you need. Do you want to cover for any cancellations to your travel arrangements and for your cash and personal property?

Especially important if you have high-value items with you while travelling. Or, do you only want cover for accident and medical emergency and repatriation should you need to come home quickly or if you die abroad?

3. Buy your travel insurance before you set off on your travels. Buying insurance at the same time you are booking your trip is a sensible option as you will be able to include cancellation insurance.

With a home start and a return ticket and a trip lasting less than 90 or 120 days you will also have lots of options regarding the company you choose as your travel insurance provider.

4. Travel Insurance when you are already travelling: There are not so many travel insurance companies to choose from when you want to buy or renew your travel insurance while you are already travelling.

The best I have found are: True Traveller and World Nomads. See Disclaimer.

5. Nomadic Travel Insurance: For those of you like the backpacking husband and I, who are travelling full time without a home base, then the global options for insurance will perhaps be more suited to you.

But I must warn you that you will normally have to have a registered home address for your policy application.

6. The Matter of a Registered Home Address: It’s essential to have a registered home address for all sorts of reasons – banking, healthcare, paying tax, voting, driving licence, etc.

I know lots people who are nomadic world travellers or live in an RV or motorhome who use the private address of a family member or a good friend or even the office of their lawyer or accountant for this purpose. We use the address of a house we rent back in the UK and where we stayed during the pandemic.

7. Single trip policies or annual policies? Work out which will be best for you depending on the region and the countries included in the policy and the additional benefits to buying an annual policy. I have found travel to (even transiting through) the United States of America is often an optional extra on policies and charged at a premium.

During my last trip, I managed overcome the additional expense of adding an overnight transit through the USA by buying an annual policy that allows for 14 days in the USA as part of the annual policy at no extra cost.

8. Declare all your pre-existing conditions and make sure the travel Insurance policy will cover emergency repatriation and check for Covid and any Covid related illness cover. If you have travel insurance cover included through a credit card provider or a bank account are there any age restrictions to their cover?

Does your card provider know about any pre-existing conditions, any prescription medications or any doctor or hospital appointments you’ve attended over the past few years? If not, then you might NOT be as well covered as you think or not covered at all.

9. What age are you? Unfortunately, the older you are then the more expensive and more difficult it becomes to find travel insurance. Some travel insurance companies will only provide cover to under 65-year-olds.

If you are older then you might want to use a company that specialises in insuring older travellers and those with pre-existing conditions. Take a look at GoodToGo Insurance (UK) and Saga Insurance and check out Money Saving Expert for a list of Over 65 travel insurance options.

10. Travel Insurance Europe: Travelling from UK to Europe? The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in the EU at the same cost as a local person.

After Brexit (1 January 2021) those in the UK who have an existing EHIC can continue to use it in EU countries (but not Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, as they’re not part of the EU) until the expiry date on the card.

If you don’t have an EHIC or it’s expiring then you’ll now get a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead.

The GHIC card is FREE and you can apply online at The Official NHS Website.

For up to date European travel information the website OPEN EU is a useful resource tool listing the current restrictions in Europe and when countries are reopening.

What does Travel Insurance cost?

Get a Quote from WORLD NOMAD TRAVEL INSURANCE

Conclusion

I do hope this guide on travel insurance has been helpful to you and has helped you to understand the importance of having the right travel insurance and how to go about finding it.

The information I have included here is based on my own experience as a UK national.

I appreciate that your own requirements will pertain to your own country of residence.

Before your trip, check to see if there are current travel alerts for your destination – you can also check travel advice and restrictions for your destination(s) as these may impact cover, or your ability to travel.

Do leave a comment if you have any travel insurance stories to tell

Or information about travel insurance. you’d like to share

Or recommendations that you’d like to add that might help other travellers!

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4 comments

Jackie Powell -

Hi Janice, just to say we enjoy your blog very much. We spent 5 years planning for our retirement at 55…hardest thing was getting out of the door! The last thing in my project plan was medical insurance…not because I left it that way but because I could never find anything that covered us…Long term travel over 12 months, renewing whilst abroad, over 55 and riding motorbikes more than 125cc….eho new we were so odd? Eventually with 3 months to go I found an American insurance policy by IMG called Patriot Lite…sounds like a missile?? Anyway it worked for us to get us on our way (14.months in Africa). On renewal there is another company that covers older travellers on bikes…Big Cat travel insurance which is I think better 👍 We are off on the bikes to North Africa and Europe for this year and then trying to choose South East Asia or Central America for the winter….tough choices 😄😄

Reply
JANICE HORTON -

Hi Jackie – thanks for getting in touch with your experiences of sourcing suitable travel insurance. Your journey sounds amazing and retiring to travel at 55 is a fabulous age to have adventures! Best wishes to you and I’d love to know if you choose Central America or South East Asia next – and yes, a very tough choice! Janice xx

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Brigid Roberso -

This has been informative, though it hasn’t helped me narrow down a Travel insurance that will cover me as a 73 year old wanting to travel for a year . Starting from Northern Ireland, flying to France for 2 days then on to Singaphore for 2 days. Flying from there to Melbourne, New Zealand, and then Bali.

Reply
JANICE HORTON -

Hi Brigid – I understand how frustrating it is to have so few options for travel insurance once you get over 60 years old. Have a look here at Go Compare (not an affiliated link) and I hope you manage to find a suitable policy for what looks like a fabulous trip. Let me know how you get on? https://www.gocompare.com/travel-insurance/over-70s/

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