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Ask an expert: how can I find cheap travel insurance when I’m over 70?

Every week, Which?’s money experts answer your financial queries. You can submit your questions to, or via our Facebook or Twitter pages.[1][2] Q: We are a relatively healthy couple in our early seventies and have just booked a Caribbean cruise.

We have experienced some health issues in the past, but I was shocked at the level of questioning travel insurers put us through when we were looking for a policy. The process felt very long and intrusive and, to add insult to injury, one insurer quoted more than GBP2,000 – nearly as much as the cruise. Do you have any tips for finding good-value cover?

Submitted via Which? Money magazine[3]. A: Travellers aged 65 or older are often charged a higher premium by insurers, as they’re statistically more likely to make a claim.

But there are specialists who cater specifically for older adults, and tips you can follow to find the best possible deal. Which? explains how older people and those with medical conditions can find affordable travel insurance.

Travel insurance policies for older customers

Once you reach the age of 65, you may find that some travel insurance providers won’t cover you.

But there are policies available that cater for all ages. The table below shows the three specialist travel insurance providers with the best rates for 70-year-olds with a pre-existing medical condition. These conditions could include high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer and heart disease.

Source: Medical conditions travel insurance reviews[4]

In addition to these, some providers have no upper age limit – for example, Age UK travel insurance[5] and Co-op travel insurance[6]. A recent launch from Insurtech, Bought By Many offers travel insurance specifically for people with serious medical conditions, with no upper age limit and no medical questionnaire to fill out. However, it offers no protection for baggage and belongings, cancellation or travel delays – meaning you’ll need to buy another travel insurance policy to be fully protected while overseas.

If you’d like to find out more, you can read a comprehensive comparison on how the Co-op and Bought By Many policies stack up. You can also see the policies with a high Which? satisfaction score in our Which? travel insurance company reviews.[7][8]

What policy details should I look for?

Don’t let a policy’s price be your only guide – you need to make sure it will suit your needs. As a guideline, the minimum inclusions in a policy should be:

  • Emergency medical cover that of at least GBP2m in Europe and GBP5m worldwide.
  • Personal belongings and money cover of at least GBP1,500.
  • Personal liability cover of at least GBP1m.
  • Cancellation, curtailment and missed departure cover of at least GBP3,000.
  • 24-hour emergency helpline for advice and legal expenses cover

If you’re an older customer, or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should also consider what other assistance you might require, and make sure your policy will cover it.

What medical information do I need to share?

While it can be irritating to be quizzed at length about your medical history, it is important that insurers know about any past issues.

If you leave anything out and are taken ill abroad, you may find that any claims you make will be rejected, leaving you with a huge medical bill. As a general rule, try to answer any questions about your medical history honestly and in full. When an insurer makes a decision you think is unfair – either refusing you cover or rejecting a claim you make – don’t be afraid to make a complaint.

If the insurer doesn’t respond adequately, you can take up the matter with the Financial Ombudsman Service by calling 0300 123 9123.

What if my health changes after buying a policy?

Many policies come with a clause – often referred to as ‘ongoing duty of disclosure’ – that puts the onus on you to tell your travel insurance provider if your health changes after you’ve taken out the policy. Insurers need to know the name of any medical conditions, so you’ll need to be diagnosed by a GP before talking to your provider. Your insurer will reassess the terms of your cover in light of the information you’ve provided.

In many cases, your policy may not change – but there is also the chance the insurer could increase your premium, add an exclusion to your cover (for claims relating to the new condition) or cancel your cover. If your cover is cancelled, you should be refunded for any premiums paid – and you should also be able to make a cancellation claim if you have to rearrange or cancel your trip. While you’re waiting on a diagnosis, it might be best to wait and buy your travel insurance until after you’ve received this.

Help finding insurance

If an insurer doesn’t offer you cover due to your age, they are obliged to ‘signpost’ you towards an insurer or broker that can help you.

Using a broker could also be an option if you’re struggling to find insurance. Some brokers will charge you a fee for their service, while others will get paid from a commission on the service they sell you. You can find a broker by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) ‘Find a broker service’ on 0370 950 1790.

When should I buy travel insurance?

It’s a good idea to buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your trip, even if you’re not due to leave for several months.

Travel insurance will cover you for cancellation and many other things that can go wrong before your trip, not just while you’re away. As the chances of being ill and having to cancel your trip increase as you get older, it becomes even more important to buy it early. You should also consider how often you’re planning to travel.

Single trip cover is often cheaper as a one-off purchase, but if you go on holiday regularly it’s worth spending more to cover multiple trips.


  1. ^ Facebook (
  2. ^ Twitter (
  3. ^ Which?

    Money magazine (

  4. ^ Medical conditions travel insurance reviews (
  5. ^ Age UK travel insurance (
  6. ^ Co-op travel insurance (
  7. ^ how the Co-op and Bought By Many policies stack up (
  8. ^ Which? travel insurance company reviews. (

Ask an expert: how do I protect my card details on holiday?

Each week, the Which? Money experts answer your financial queries. You can submit your questions to[1] or via our Facebook[2] or Twitter[3] pages.

Q: What’s the best way to protect details about the credit cards and debit cards I take on holiday? I currently write them all down and keep them in my suitcase but often worry that they could fall into the wrong hands. I have considered keeping a note of them on my mobile phone but that would run the same risk if the phone were to get lost or stolen.

Submitted via:[4] A: You should never write down details about your credit cards[5] or debit cards, and you also shouldn’t store them on your phone.

Doing so can dramatically increase your risk of fraud and also result in you not getting reimbursed if you do lose money. If your bank can prove that you negligently failed to keep your debit card Pin safe, your refund claim could be rejected. The situation is a little better with credit cards, where providers have to give you a full refund unless they can prove that you authorised the transactions yourself.

The only number that you need to make note of when travelling is your card provider’s 24-hour customer service number, so you can get in touch with them as quickly as possible if you do lose your card or it gets stolen. You can usually find this number in the following places:

  • the back of your credit or debit card
  • your card statement
  • your card provider’s website.

When contacting your card provider, you will be asked a series of security questions associated with each of the accounts that your cards are linked to. Most card providers offer the option to cancel your cards online as well.

Protecting your credit card and debit card details on holiday

The following tips can help you keep your card details safe when travelling.

1) Don’t write down your card details anywhere

Writing down your credit card or debit card details can significantly increase your risk of fraud, and you may not even notice that it’s happened until you see your statement.

If you write down your debit card details, this could be classed as ‘gross negligence’, meaning your card provider may refuse to refund you for any money lost.

2) Only take the cards you really need

Don’t travel with all of your credit and debit cards. Limiting the number of cards you take on holiday can decrease the impact of fraud should they get lost or stolen, and also means less of a headache when arranging stoppages and replacements. Take some emergency cash and keep it in a safe place, separate from your cards, to tide you over should the worst happen.

3) Use a prepaid card

Using a prepaid card[6] on holiday can be a useful alternative to taking your credit cards and debit cards.

Prepaid cards work by letting you load money onto a card, which you can then withdraw in cash or use to make purchases. They are issued under Visa and Mastercard, which means that they are widely accepted in the UK and abroad.

What should I do if my credit card is lost or stolen when I’m abroad?

Whether you’re at home or away, you should always report the loss or theft of a debit or credit card immediately. Credit card providers should always refund you in full for any transactions that take place after you report your credit card as missing.

In cases where you haven’t realised that your card is missing and so don’t immediately report it, you will still be entitled to a refund. However, you may be liable to pay the first GBP35 of the fraudulent spending. Banks usually waive this GBP35 contribution so it’s worth checking the terms and conditions.

Your credit card provider will only be able to refuse your refund if they can prove that you authorised the payment yourself.

And how about my debit card?

Your bank should also give you a full refund for any transactions made after your debit card is lost or stolen. You can only be rejected for a refund if your bank can prove that you have acted fraudulently or that you were ‘grossly negligent’. This includes writing down details about your debit card, such as your Pin.

What to do if you are refused a refund

If your debit card provider refuses your refund because they claim you have acted fraudulently or were ‘grossly negligent’ with your card details, the following steps can help you claim your money back.

1) Escalate your complaint

Ask for your dispute to be escalated through your card provider’s internal complaints process.

If they still refuse your refund request, ask them to send you a ‘final letter of deadlock’ so that you can refer your dispute to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

2) Take your claim to the FOS

You can take your claim to the Finanical Ombudsman Service (FOS) if your card provider is insistent that you’ve been fraudulent or negligent and won’t issue you a refund. The FOS is the UK’s official expert in resolving disputes between consumers and financial services providers. They will consider all of the circumstances around the transaction and may ask you to give additional information to help make their decision.

Once the FOS has made a decision, card providers must comply. If you’re not happy with the outcome, you can take your claim to the small claims court[7]. However, this will incur court fees and other legal expenses so think carefully about how likely you are to win against a decision made by the FOS before taking legal action.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029).

Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which?

Financial Services Limited.


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