Who Needs to Bother with Travel Insurance!

Well the travellers that most certainly do need to bother with travel insurance are the increasing numbers of us Seniors who venture abroad.

It has been reported that 75% of pensioners own a passport and travel abroad each year with 28% of over 65s taking two or more overseas holidays a year. See my article: Seniors have holiday buying clout and are Internet-savvy

Travel insurance - Sydney Opera House
Far from home – Sydney Opera House

Unfortunately it is a fact that increasing years in general leads to increasing likelihood of needing medical attention, hence the importance of travel insurance for Seniors.

However, the increased risk obviously leads to increased premiums, resulting in some Seniors being reluctant to take out travel insurance.

But have you thought about what would happen if you needed emergency treatment when you are far from home? Falling ill (or worse) abroad can be harrowing, confusing, lonely and stressful, not to mention expensive. If you needed to be repatriated by air ambulance back to the UK, from say Australia, it could cost up to £50,000. Without travel insurance you would have to pay this out of your own pocket. So read on for advice to avoid having your holiday ruined.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are travelling within the European Economic Area and Switzerland, then make certain to obtain your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), previously known as E111.

EHIC Card
EHIC cards

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is very clear that having an EHIC card does not mean that you are insured. It highly recommends that you still need sufficient travel insurance to cover healthcare costs even if you do have an EHIC card.

Apply for a card free of charge on the NHS website.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance not only covers you for emergency medical treatment but also covers your personal belongings and many other things like cancellation and curtailment, delayed departure, airline failure etc. with the peace of mind of a 24 hour emergency support telephone line.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions You should always declare any current or past medical conditions you think might affect the cover. You may not be covered by your policy if you don’t. This applies to all travel insurance policies, including those that are offered as part of bank current account packages.

Important Dos and Don’ts for Travel Insurance

Stopover in San Francisco
Stopover in San Francisco

• Do declare all your pre-existing medical conditions.
• Do declare any situations which may lead to you cancelling your holiday, e.g. if a close family member is critically ill.
• Do book your travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday – that way you will be covered if you have to cancel before the departure date (single trip policies only). For annual policies, cover commences on the start date of the policy.
• Do ensure that your policy specifically covers you for winter sports if you are going skiing or snowboarding or similar.
• Do declare any stopovers to your insurer (e.g. if you are spending three days in San Francisco en route to Australia) if they are not automatically covered in your policy.

• Don’t assume that a travel policy that comes free with certain bank current accounts will cover all of your needs. Check first to see what they offer including limits on age and length of travel.
• Don’t rely on an EHIC to cover you entirely as it will only cover direct medical treatment and not ancillary costs such as repatriation.
• Don’t assume that because you have had a serious condition like cancer or heart disease that you will not be able to get cover – check with your insurer. Though an additional premium may be payable.