Travel Insurance for people over 80 years of age
Specialist providers are now entering the fast growing over 80s travel market.
What if I fall ill abroad?
For the over 80s who don’t want to spend their life savings on hospital costs abroad, medical cover is key.
According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, just 2 days in a general ward in Spain could sting you £1,600. For 2 days in intensive care, reckon on £5,000.
As you’d expect America and Canada are more expensive destinations than Europe. In the US where there are no special arrangements for British visitors, you might need to take out a second mortgage to pay hospital bills.
Treatment for a broken hip - one of the most common injuries in people over 80 - could set you back between £20,000-£30,000.
Can I get cover for an existing medical condition at my age?
Yes. You can insure almost any condition nowadays, even terminal illness.
Most people over 80 have some form of pre-existing medical condition (eg heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure). The risk of something going seriously wrong is much greater for you than for someone in their teens or 20s, thus the higher premiums.
Unless your condition is very complicated, you should be able to buy cover online, after answering medical screening questions. Keep a note of medicines handy when you apply as you may be asked for details.
Some insurers provide free cover for less serious conditions (eg mild asthma).
Buying online or by phone to get instant cover means you’re immediately protected against cancellation, important if the holiday is expensive.
Remember that an undeclared pre-existing medical conditions will invalidate any claim you make for related healthcare costs.
EHIC Card scam
Don’t be fooled by internet sites that try to charge you or to pay to renew it. The card is free from the Government’s own website. Valid for 5 years, renewal is free, too.
Always take the EHIC card with you for holidays in Europe. It entitles you to any necessary medical treatment in countries inside the European Economic Area (EEA). Treatment is sometimes free with a valid EU Health Insurance Card but not always.
Surgery, aftercare and repatriation can easily cost over £1million, so it's vital to have good travel health insurance cover for medical mishaps.
Remember too that the EU medical card only covers necessary treatment in state-run hospitals. It’s not unknown for Spanish hotels to send sick tourists to private clinics where they’re charged over the odds for treatment they thought would be free with their EHIC.