Our research shows the travel insurance industry’s letting older people down, with low age limits, high premiums and unfair treatment. Have you felt discriminated against when trying to buy travel insurance?
My grandma is 94 – excluding her sporadically malfunctioning left leg, she is completely fit and healthy.
Granted, she’s not going to be competing against Usain Bolt at London 2012, nor is she going to be doing any wing-walking daredevil stunts anytime soon (although that doesn’t stop many of her nonagenarian compatriots). But at 94 she – and maybe millions like her – would have to search high and low to find an insurer that’s willing to provide her with cover for going abroad.
When we researched travel insurance, 95% of annual policies we surveyed excluded customers above a certain age. And it’s not just the elderly who get left out – nearly a quarter of the policies considered sprightly adventurers in their sixties too old to insure.
So what’s the big deal about providing people over sixty with travel insurance? Surely that’s the time retirees should be hanging up their work clothes, and kicking back on the Riviera with a pina colada and parasol?
Insurers argue that insuring older people carries greater risk – and many of them choose not to cover people above certain age thresholds. Others can provide premiums so high that it puts older customers off altogether – we found one company that more than trebled its premiums over night once customers passed 65.
Comedy of errors
Whether insurers should have to provide cover to older people is a matter of debate – but we think the way some companies treat older people on their websites is shameful. When we entered an age over the maximum limit on their website, Lloyds TSB told us to ‘enter the correct information in the fields where there has been an error.’
And Lloyds TSB aren’t alone – plenty of other insurers hit older customers with rude and unnecessary error messages.
We think that some travel insurers need to take a long hard look in the mirror when it comes to the way they treat older people. After all, where else would an elderly person try to buy something, only to be declined and commiserated with a whopping great ‘ERROR’ sign?