In many ways, the insurance industry has still to catch up with what is happening in the real world. Although 65 is no age at all these days – indeed, it’s just the beginning of a whole new life for many people – some insurers seem to make it especially difficult to arrange travel insurance if you are older than normal retirement age.
Arranging insurance may be still more difficult if you are over 65 and have a pre-existing medical condition.
Making life difficult might extend to loading your insurance with additional premiums, insisting that you take additional cover, or flatly declining your proposal for cover.
But all is not lost
There are specialist insurers, however, who take the more practical and helpful view that the over 65s – and those considerably older – are travellers too.
Providers such as Bengo Travel, for instance, arrange over 65s travel insurance in much the same way as for any other traveller.
Questions may be asked about your medical history and any pre-existing conditions – as any other insurer may also ask – but there are still specialist policies designed to meet the needs of the older traveller, including those with certain health problems.
The pre-existing medical conditions you are asked to declare may vary from one insurer to another, but the government’s Money Advice Service suggests that these commonly include:
- serious conditions affecting your lungs, heart or involving cancer;
- all ailments and sicknesses you have need to consult your GP about during the past year;
- any condition for which you are currently awaiting exam results; and
- any condition for which you have an operation or surgery scheduled.
“Utmost good faith”
Whilst specialist insurers may go out of their way to ensure there is appropriate travel insurance for the over 65s and those in less than perfect health, it remains very important that you declare any pre-existing medical condition.
Conditions such as these are known in the insurance industry as “material facts” – those that are likely to influence the risk of your needing to claim on the insurance. The need to declare them is upheld by another important principle of insurance law and that is called “utmost good faith” (“uberimae fidei” to use the Latin term favoured by lawyers).
The principal requires parties to the insurance contract to enter it in every good faith, including for example, the declaration of all material facts and in this case the declaration of pre-existing medical conditions in particular.
Fail to mention them – or attempt to be economical with the truth when describing them – at your peril, since your insurer may decline any claim you subsequently make if it becomes apparent that you have not disclosed all pre-existing medical conditions or been less than honest in describing them.