Official advice is unequivocal – if you are going abroad, on business or for pleasure – it is important to have appropriate travel insurance.
Yet the number of people still travelling abroad without any form of cover is increasing - nearly a quarter of them have no travel insurance. This is significantly more than the one in five (20%) who had none in 2011, says the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
ABTA also expresses concern that the number of travellers arranging multi-trip travel insurance fell from a high of 30% in one year, down to 23% in the space of just 12 months. This is a disappointing trend since ABTA believes that annual travel insurance is the more economical choice for anyone taking more than a single trip each year.
When it comes to ignoring the need for travel insurance, young people are the most likely culprits (especially men). But older travellers also tend to overlook its importance - perhaps because the older you get, the more difficult it might be to arrange and the greater your need for specialist over 50 travel insurance?
Single or multi-trip travel insurance?
But, is ABTA right? Which is best - single or multi-trip travel insurance?
Before we compare the benefits of both, do note that the best travel insurance for you may be different to that of your neighbour or the person next to you in the boarding queue at the airport. This article will discuss what you need to know when buying cover, so you can make an informed decision as to which option is the most appropriate for you.
Single-trip travel insurance
Before travel became quite so easy and affordable as it is these days, foreign holidays were relatively rare and likely to have been taken, at most, once a year. If you bought holiday insurance, you probably made the purchase either when you booked your tickets, or at the last moment, when you reached the airport.
It might have been a convenient way to buy the cover – if you bought it at all – since the decision depended entirely on when you planned to go on holiday. But you were likely to have found a lack of choice when choosing travel insurance cover – meaning you may have bought a policy that was not entirely appropriate for your own unique needs.
Multi-trip travel insurance
Just as the term suggests, multi-trip holiday insurance – or annual holiday insurance as it is also known – offers cover for an entire 12 months, for as many trips abroad as you care to make.
Once you have arranged it, you will typically have cover for each trip you take during the insured period (i.e. 12 months), since it remains in place whenever you travel.
A caveat to the above is that you must check that your annual travel insurance policy covers the geographical area you are going to each time and any activities you wish to enjoy.
For example, if you buy an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy that covers you for trips in Europe only, you may typically need to upgrade the policy to include worldwide cover if you are going outside Europe, or include cover for winter sports if you plan to indulge in skiing or snowboarding etc.
If you are a frequent traveller, annual travel insurance is likely to be still more of a sensible choice, since you are always prepared, with the cover in place, whenever you decide to travel.
Over 50 travel insurance
Probably the main reason for arranging holiday insurance is to cover the cost of emergency medical attention if you suffer an accident or fall ill while abroad – where costs might run into many thousands of pounds – or of having to cancel your travel plans before you even go.
The government website, for example, estimates that even falling sick with a stomach bug while you are in the United States and are first admitted to hospital before needing a return flight home, might set you back as much as £100,000.
As you get older, the chance of falling ill becomes greater. It is a risk which insurance companies, of course, take into account. Their response may be to increase the cost of your over 50 travel insurance cover or to exclude any pre-existing medical conditions. This may not be ideal.
Specially designed over 50 travel insurance, however, recognises these difficulties and typically offers a more straightforward route for older travellers to secure the cover they need at a competitive price.
Pre-existing medical conditions
Do note that while over 50 travel insurance might be a more suitable product as you get older, you will still need to tell a prospective insurer of any medical conditions or ailments you already have.
Some insurers may or may not exclude pre-existing conditions from the cover you buy. Nevertheless, it is vitally important that you declare any such ailments when applying for your travel insurance, since omissions or inaccuracies may invalidate the whole policy and result in any subsequent claim being rejected.
Where to buy over 50 travel insurance?
Travel insurance for the over 50s is typically available as either a single trip or multi trip policy.
If you are a frequent traveller – or just like the idea of being able to go away on the spur of the moment, knowing you have the cover you need in place - multi-trip travel insurance for the over 50s may be the most convenient and affordable solution for you.
There is no need to buy your holiday insurance at the last moment at the airport or from a travel agent, where the premiums may be expensive, and you are unable to have a choice of cover. Doing your research beforehand by shopping around and comparing your travel insurance cover options may secure protection at an affordable price.
You can compare and buy over 50 travel insurance from specialist providers, such as ourselves at Over50Choices.