How to get the best value travel insurance

Date published: 26 May 15

29 people found this feature helpful

Silver Travel AdvisorOver 50 with a pre-existing medical condition? Why you’ll save money by purchasing a  separate travel insurance to your partner or family.

Taking out separate travel insurance to cut costs can sound counter-intuitive. But if you have an existing condition, it can be an effective way to save money.

When you’re thinking about heading off on holidays, the last thing you want to consider is something going wrong. But if it does, it’s important to ensure you are prepared, with travel insurance that covers you in the event of injury or illness. In 2018, the average cost of a medical travel insurance claim for medical treatment abroad is £2,268, and it can be a lot more, so without cover, you run the risk of racking up significant medical bills.

A high level of competition means that reasonably-priced travel insurance is readily available. However, if you are over 50 years old and have a pre-existing medical condition you will unfortunately find that this is often not the case. If you are over 65 years old, there are other factors you may have to take into consideration.

Conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes can cause the price of a policy to shoot up – and some companies even refuse to cover certain conditions, which means that you often have to turn to specialist policies. The upshot is that covering yourself for a trip abroad can turn out to be more expensive than first anticipated.

So how can you cut costs? Failing to declare your condition is not an option – it can void your policy and leave you without cover.  Instead, consider taking out a separate policy to your partner which could endup saving you money.

Joint policies are not always better

When it comes to travel insurance, people are often advised to take out a joint policy as a couple or family. It can be more efficient than taking out separate policies and, importantly, it can reduce your costs, with many companies offering discounts for this kind of policy. But, if one of you has a pre-existing condition, the reverse is often true.

Joint policies are based on the traveller who is seen as being the highest risk – usually due to being over a certain age and / or having a pre-existing medical condition, which means that you are statistically more likely to need medical treatment. With medical claims one of the biggest costs facing insurance companies, it is little wonder that these factors can significantly push up premiums.

If your partner does not have a medical condition, there is no reason why you should both have to pay the higher prices that come with a policy designed specifically to meet your requirements. Instead, it would make sense for them to choose a separate, less extensive policy that doesn’t cost the earth, offsetting the higher prices of the specialist insurance.

Another thing to consider is the excess on a policy. Policies that cover certain medical conditions might include a higher excess fee, and everyone who is on the policy will be subject to this excess. So, again, obtaining separate travel insurance policies could be key to saving you money.

A word of caution though. It is clear that in these circumstances, choosing separate policies can lower your insurance costs, but there are some things you should be aware of. For example, if you are on separate policies and need to cancel your trip due to your medical condition, your travelling companion(s) may not be covered for the cancellation. Also the separate policies may have different terms regarding theft, damage and repatriation. It is important to check the detail of each  policy carefully and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on the best approach.

This article was researched by Laura Maddison, Head of Marketing at Avanti Travelcare who specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.

You may also wish to visit Silver Travel Advisor's recommendations for Travel Insurance.

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