Travel insurance you could bank on

It’s that time of year – no-one can escape the advertisements, supplements and features about holidays and travel. The holiday rotas are beginning to appear in the workplace and dates of school holidays are already pencilled in.

If you’re retired and not governed by the work or domestic diary, holidays can be taken as and when you like – and for as long as you like. Extended visits to families overseas are possible, and trips to holiday homes abroad can last for a month or three.

There is a catch, though, for people in their 60s and 70s who enjoy such a flexible, globe-trotting lifestyle. If arranging the trips abroad is easy, arranging the travel insurance is not. And the cost rises with the years. The typical cost for an annual European travel policy for an 18-54-year-old is £52; for someone age 70 it triples to £152.

There are insurers which refuse to cover travellers and holidaymakers over 65, and for anyone over 70 it can be even more difficult to obtain cover. Single trip cover is still readily available, but annual multi-trip policies are not – and if you want to travel for more than 31 days, the standard period covered, then you’ve almost had it.

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But there is help at hand, from an improbable source. Bashing the banks is a popular pastime, yet the best deals in travel insurance for older people are now to be found attached to some of the premium current accounts offered by high-street banks.

Lloyds’ Gold Account costs £12.95 a month and among a range of benefits is annual worldwide travel insurance for a couple up to the age of 80 for a trip of up to 31 consecutive days. Viewed solely as a travel policy, the annual cost of £155.40 is just beaten (by only a few pounds) by only one specialist travel insurer on the Go Compare website. For a further £100, it is possible to extend the cover from 31 days to three months.

There is a catch, though… if arranging the trips abroad is easy, arranging the travel insurance is not

NatWest’s Advantage account similarly costs £12.95 a month (£155.40 a year) and also provides annual worldwide travel insurance for 31 days. That can be extended, at a cost of £187, for 90 days (although the cost varies according to the length of time requested). Once one of the couple is over 70, there is an extra charge of £50 – and by holiday insurance standards, that is a modest charge.

The cost quoted by specialist travel insurance broker Delta Insurance for a 70-year-old couple with no adverse medical history needing a worldwide annual, multi-trip policy with extended cover for up to 90 days was £435.20, or £332.80 for a more restricted economy policy – with no extension available.

The Go Compare site was able to include extended cover for a similar couple – but at a cost. The cheapest quote offered was £425.77 from Explorer – and the most expensive, from Club Direct, was a staggering £1,070.58.

The real deal

Online investment guru Mike Walters, 70, spends part of the year in Florida. He recently had to find travel insurance as his previous insurer’s cover stopped when he reached 70.

Walters’s wife, Maggie, researched the options and found that by upping her NatWest bank account to its premium account, she was not only able to get travel insurance thrown in as part of the £155.40 annual cost plus £50, but was also able to extend the cover to 90-day for £187 – a total of £392.40.

“Most policies won’t even quote for 90 days for anyone over 70 – so it’s a very good deal,” she says. “NatWest also managed to help us out over a weekend when I was in a panic – they were absolutely terrific over this and deserve a pat on the back.”