Hunting for affordable insurance for your first overseas trip since the pandemic began? You may be in for a nasty surprise if you’ve celebrated a big birthday recently.

According to new data from Which?, insurance policies become a lot more expensive for those over 65, and can double past the age of 70 – even if you’re healthy – with travel being the worst culprit.

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In mystery shopping research, the watchdog found that options dwindled as a customer’s age increased, with 76 travel insurance quotes available for a 55-year-old and just seven for an 80-year-old.

“Industry stats suggest that older age groups claim more frequently, and for higher amounts – on average – than younger travellers,” says Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which? “Premiums consequently rise with this increased level of risk, and many insurers also have maximum age limits – meaning the very old have far less choice when shopping around for insurance.”

But there are ways to cut costs, even over the age of 65. Follow these expert tips to find out how to get the best deal on your travel insurance…

Don’t stick with the same provider

How to get cheaper travel insurance as you get older
(Alamy/PA)

“If you’re over the age of 65 and want to keep the cost of your travel insurance down, it’s essential to shop around for the best possible price before picking a provider,” says James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at Money.co.uk, which has an insurance comparison tool – other useful sites include Confused.com and MoneySupermarket.

“Older travellers can sometimes stick with the insurance company they’ve used for years out of habit, but if you do, you’re likely to be paying more overall. There’s no room for brand loyalty in this situation, so compare as many deals as you can before making your decision.”

Don’t double up unnecessarily

 
 
 
 
 
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Another common mistake is thinking you need health insurance on top of travel cover.

Andrews says: “Most over-70s travel insurance policies automatically include medical cover as standard, meaning you won’t require an additional private health insurance policy on top. When you buy your travel insurance, make sure you get a list of exactly what’s covered under the policy, so you can avoid paying for unnecessary extras.”

Get expert help if you need it

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Depending on your circumstances, you may be better using a broker or going to specialist insurance firms. “A broker’s job is to help customers find appropriate cover,” explains Which?’s  Gareth Shaw. He recommends using the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) Find Insurance service which lists brokers by area of expertise.

“There are insurers that specialise in providing affordable cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions, which older travellers are more likely to have,” he continues. “There’s an official directory of these providers on the MoneyHelper website and the BIBA also has a directory of its own.”

Compare single trip and annual policies

 
 
 
 
 
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“Pre pandemic, one of the best ways to keep the cost of your travel insurance down for over 70s was to take out annual cover, rather than paying for a single trip policy,” says Andrews. It’s still wise to compare both options, but he warns: “It’s important to remember that if international restrictions change in the next year and borders close, you’ll end up with an annual policy that you can’t use.”

Shaw advises: “Some providers will offer single trip cover to customers that they wouldn’t sell annual cover to. It’s therefore worth looking to see what single trip policies are available. Even if you plan to cover more than one holiday, you could find it more cost effective to cover each separately than all on an annual policy.”

See if you can bag a freebie

 
 
 
 
 
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“Another trick that might work is taking out a different product that includes travel insurance as part of the package. Some credit cards and paid for bank accounts offer this, for example,” says Andrews.

“You’ll need to check the fine print to make sure you aren’t excluded by your age and the insurance is up to scratch, but it can work out cheaper to pay the annual fee for the card or bank account than take out a travel insurance policy on its own.”

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