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Travel insurance for seniors and pensioners

As you get older, being able to go where you want when you want is all part of the joy. And changes in your medical needs shouldn’t stand in the way of your desire to travel.

Does it feel like getting travel insurance is holding you back? This guide looks at how to get the cover you need, including for pre-existing medical conditions, and what to look out for when you do.

Posted: 26/1/2022 | By Darren Williams

Senior citizens travelling and holding hands

Getting travel insurance in later life

Finding the right travel insurance for seniors of any age may seem difficult at times, but it needn’t be. A handful of insurers cater specifically to pensioners and seniors, and others can give people aged over 60 the same benefits under their normal travel insurance cover.

That’s how we do it here at Post Office. You simply request a quote the same way adults of all ages do. We’ll ask you about the type of holiday you’re taking, the activities you’ll be doing and the level of cover you need. And we’ll consider all medical conditions, with a simple online screening. Then, if you're eligible for cover, we'll quote you a price.

Post Office Travel Insurance can help cover medical costs, protect against delays or cancellations, lost luggage and documents, and personal liability. There’s no upper age limit on our single-trip policies. Or, if you’re travelling more in a 12-month period, we can provide annual multi-trip cover up to 75 years of age.


Why is travel insurance important?

Most holidays pass without any problems but there’s always a a worry about what might go wrong so it’s always safer to go prepared. Travelling without insurance just isn’t worth it – fall ill in some countries and you could be liable for huge medical bills as well as the cost of getting you home.

Travel insurance is important whatever age you are when you travel. And it’s a must-have for seniors especially – whether you’re 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 or above, or anywhere in between. Getting cover in place will let you relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about how you might pay for unexpected medical treatment, lost or damaged possessions, or cancellations.

It’s important to know that, insurers tend to see older age groups as a higher risk, the cover they quote for might be more expensive, or they may not cover all things you need. It's important to do your research and make sure the price and the policy are both right for you. Read the policy documents carefully and make sure you declare all medical conditions on the medical questionnaire. We’ll look at why this is so important in the next section.

Need insurance that covers your travels in later life?

Medical cover and the Ghic or Ehic

The most important thing about travel insurance for seniors and the elderly is that your health cover gives you the protection you need, such as in medical emergencies.

If you’re visiting a country in the EU, a valid UK Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic) or still-in-date European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) will let you access state provided medical healthcare for free or the same as it costs locals.

Getting travel insurance is still important, though, as it covers costs the cards don’t, such as repatriation to the UK if you need to be transported home. And, of course, it also protects you in the event of delays or cancellations, lost luggage and documents and personal liability.

Travel insurance and pre-existing medical conditions

It’s important to make sure you have the right cover in place in case something related to your condition happens while you’re away.

To get travel insurance you’ll need to accurately declare all pre-existing medical conditions when you apply. Insurers will make a decision based on the details you give them. There are different levels of risk they’re prepared to accept, so getting declined by one insurer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be declined by them all.

Conditions such as cancer, heart problems and diabetes will affect the policy and its price because they increase the chance of a claim. One way of managing this cost is to go with an insurer who offers specialised policies for your age group, and may be able to tailor cover to your needs.

You could also look at travel insurance for the elderly that is manually underwritten, meaning each policy considers the unique situation of the policy holder. This type of insurance is, predictably, more expensive in general than standard terms travel insurance.

At Post Office, we consider all medical conditions when you ask for a quote. This means, if you’re living with a long-term illness, you may be covered for any issues it could cause while you’re away, such as having to seek medical care or being rushed home for treatment.

If you’re in doubt or have a condition that’s particularly rare, it might be worth talking to a representative. If you have a serious condition that you’re struggling to find cover for, check the Money and Pensions Scheme (MaPS) directory of companies that may be able to help or call 0800 138 7777.

Find out more about:

Travel insurance for people with cancer

Travel insurance for diabetics

Travel insurance and high blood pressure


Choosing the right cover

Most travel insurance for seniors will follow a standard format: do you want insurance for a single trip, for multiple trips or for a specialist trip such as a cruise or a ski break?

Cover for single or multiple trips

One of the first things to think about when choosing a policy is how often you’re likely to travel in a 12-month period. Different policy types may suit depending on the answer:

  • Single trip travel insurance is designed for people who want to take one trip within any given year. If it’s likely you’ll only travel once in that time, it may be the most cost-effective option
  • Annual multi-trip travel insurance tends to suit people who travel two or more times within a year. It can be better value for those who go away frequently


Do you need a more specialist type of cover?

For some holidays, such as cruises or skiing trips, you may need to buy a policy add-on or specialist policy that will cover the specific activities or risks involved:

  • Cruise cover costs a little extra but offers extra protection at sea, like emergency rescue and cabin confinement; cruising without it may invalidate your travel insurance policy
  • Sports and higher-risk activities: while lots of activities may be covered by regular policies some, such as golf and extreme sports, may need extra protection for you, other people and the equipment used.

Always check what activities your policy does and doesn’t cover. If your travel insurance and any add-ons you’ve bought with it don’t cover it you might want to think twice about getting involved and risking an accident

  • Winter sports travel insurance: if activities such as skiing are still your thing, they’ll of course need some extra cover for the higher risk of injury involved, and the safeguard equipment and property in the event of accidental damage

Some providers also offer cover for unexpected events like local unrest and natural catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions or tsunamis. Check the risks in your destination on the UK government’s foreign travel advice page. Or, if you’re going to a country that you know well, you may decide this cover is unnecessary.


Check policies for any age limits

Whichever policy type you choose, check carefully to see how long you are covered for each trip. Since older people tend to go on longer holidays, it’s important to know if there are any trip limits.

Travel insurers can set upper age limits depending on the kind of activity you want to do while away. For instance, you’re less likely to find ski cover if you’re in your 70s and 80s. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist; you just might need to find a specialist provider.

The older you get, the more restrictions there may be on how long you can travel and stay covered. For instance, while younger people may be able to get covered for up to a year, people in their 70s might be limited to 90 days, and those in their 80s to fewer days still.

This will differ between insurers, so it’s worth knowing what you can get covered for before making a purchase.

As an example, Post Office Travel Insurance has the following age limits:

  • Single-trip policies: if you’re up to and including 70, you can qualify for the longest possible trip of 365 days. If you’re between 71 and 75, the maximum length of your trip drops to 90 days. And if you are 76 or above, the longest trip you'd be covered for is 31 days
  • Multi-trip policies: the maximum age for our Economy, Standard and Premier level multi-trip policies is 75. Although you can take as many trips as you like within the policy year, there’s a maximum duration for each individual trip. The limit varies depending on the cover level chosen. It’s 17 days for Economy and Standard cover, and 31 days for Premier. On some policies the limit can be extended to 31, 45 or 60 days for an additional premium.

Policy details to look out for

When you compare travel insurance for senior travellers from different providers, check to see if you have cover for things such as:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Repatriation (getting you back home)
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage
  • Lost or stolen cash
  • Medical transfers
  • Cancellation or curtailment (cutting your trip short)
  • Personal liability
  • Legal protection

Not every policy will include all of these. Comprehensive travel insurance should cover most of them, but always double check, and be aware of how much you’re covered for in each case.

Does your policy cover the cost of your holiday if you need to cancel it? For older travellers, there’s an increased chance you might fall ill or be unable to make your trip. Ask before you buy what would happen if you had to cancel, and what you could claim back.

Interested in travel insurance?

Common questions

  • Travel insurance for seniors should include medical cover that suits the needs of older travellers, so you can call on it in emergencies such as injury or if you fall ill while you’re away.

    Other things commonly covered by a travel insurance policy include cancellation and curtailment, and loss of belongings. If you buy travel insurance at the time you book your holiday, then you’re covered from that point onward. This means that if you have to cancel your holiday before leaving due to bad traffic, unexpected illness or a family bereavement, you could make a claim.

    Some providers offer travel insurance tailored specifically to travellers in senior age groups. However, normal travel insurance policies are often available to customers well into their 80s. This might be better value and will still offer emergency medical cover. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you need specialist cover or if what is provided on a standard policy is right for you.

  • As we get older insurers see us as higher risk on our travels because we’re more likely to suffer health problems while we’re away, which usually increases the cost of insurance. But there’s another reason why travel insurance for seniors is usually pricier: older people tend to be more adventurous and often choose to travel to more far-flung, exotic places.

    Visiting Thai temples or African game parks is always a wonderful experience, but the medical costs should anything happen to you will usually be higher than if you were travelling in Europe. If you’re in an age group that’s over 65, 70, 75 or 80, these costs are likely to become higher still, as specialist care and travel arrangements may be more complex the older you get.

  • The simple answer is yes, you can. There are lots of policies on the market that cater to older travellers, either as part of their regular travel insurance product or with specialist products tailored to older age groups.

    The reason that people over 80 might need a special policy when they travel is they have a different set of risks. While nobody expects you to be engaging in too many extreme sports in your 80s, there are other risks that need to be accounted for, like illnesses or pre-existing medical conditions.

    At Post Office, while we don’t offer a specialist travel insurance policy for over 80s there’s no upper age limit on our single-trip policies. You can get a quote and we’ll consider all medical conditions.

  • If you’ll be travelling with a companion such as a friend, partner or family member, it’s important to check if they’ll be covered too. Many seniors travel insurance policies are just for individuals and a companion may need to take out their own cover. You may also need separate policies for younger passengers if you plan to travel with your grandchildren.

  • It’s a good idea to buy your travel insurance as soon as your holiday is booked.

    It will cover you for cancellation or anything that might prevent you from travelling, like redundancy, unexpected illness, injury or even bereavement before you make your trip.

    The right time to get covered may differ depending on the kind of break you book. Read our guide to when to buy travel insurance to find out more.

  • Before you go

    • Ideally before you book, check you’re traveling with a reputable firm. This is a good way to avoid being in a situation where you will be put at risk in the first place. Check the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to make sure that your trip is safe and well-managed by a trusted firm
    • Take a copy of your medical notes, including your emergency numbers
    • Check with your doctor or on the NHS travel pages to see if you need any travel vaccinations or medication before you go
    • Make sure there’s no Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against travel to your destination. If there is, travelling against it could invalidate your travel insurance
    • If you’re travelling to Europe, apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic) to get free or discounted medical care
    • Make sure your passport is still valid and apply for a new passport if you need to. Some countries like you to have at least six months left on your passport to allow you entry
    • Inform your bank about your travel plans so you can use your cards abroad – some banks will stop your cards when they’re used abroad in an anti-fraud measure
    • When packing medicines, it’s important to check what you can take on a plane as there are limits on liquids which can include medication. Bring extra prescription medication with you in case of delays, and keep spares of any glasses or hearing aids in a separate bag in case you lose your normal set

    Read our pre-travel and packing checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything important. And find out how to pack a suitcase with everything you need and nothing you don’t.

    During your trip

    • Keep your hand luggage light and check your bags in at the airport to make getting around much easier
    • On your flight, drink plenty of water and keep moving as often as you can
    • Try and book outside of the peak seasons. This will also help you find cheaper deals
    • Check your hotel for accessibility if you have difficulty getting around. Check the AgeUK advice on accessible holidays for more details
    • Make sure you know the address of a local doctor and pharmacy near to where you’re staying

Other travel products

  • Travel Money

    Order foreign currency online or in selected branches. Pick up in any branch or get it delivered to your home.

  • Travel Money Card

    One prepaid Mastercard™ that stores up to 22 currencies.

  • Passport Check & Send

    Get your passport application right the first time. We can even complete and submit it for you digitally.