Older UK holidaymakers being priced out

insurance LISBON, PORTUGAL - May 02: Tourists reelax in Doca da Marinha as Costa Deliziosa, a 92,720 GT cruise ship flagship operated by Costa Crociere, sails the Tagus River after leaving the city's cruise terminal on May 02, 2023 in Lisbon , Portugal.  Cruise ship industry contributions to the revenue from tourist in Portugal as revenue from tourist accommodation reached 5 billion euros in 2022, representing an increase of 114.7 percent compared to 2021 and a 16.5 percent increase on 2019. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), the country welcomed 26.5 million guests and 69.5 million overnight stays with respective increases of 83.3 percent and 86.3 percent compared to 2021. When camping sites and youth hostels are include, these numbers rise even higher, to 28.9 million guests and 77 million overnight stays across the year.  Algarve had the most overnight stays in Portugal (19.1 million), making it the country’s top touristic region, followed closely by Lisbon with 17.1 million overnight stays.  Portugal remains one of the most popular countries to visit in Europe.  Having set a new record in revenue in 2022, Portugal's tourism industry is back on track and geared up to reach new heights.  (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Holidaymakers who are older or have medical conditions pay higher premiums than everyone else. Photo: Getty

Older travelers or people with medical conditions end up paying several times what some others pay for insurance, or risk being priced out of traveling altogether.

The median average price paid for those declaring medical conditions was 56% or £54 more than those without medical conditions, according to Which?.

People with medical conditions paid £150 on average while those without paid around £96, the consumer body says.

One traveler, who told Which? they have well-controlled diabetes, said they had found they were paying roughly four times what they would be charged if they did not declare their condition, which they described as “so unfair”.

Age is also a factor when it comes to paying higher premiums, with the biggest hikes seen for travelers 75 or older, even if they are in good health. The median price paid for annual cover by those aged 75 or older was £300 – 65% (or £118) higher compared with customers aged 65-74 (£182), and more than double the amount paid by those aged 55-64 (£142).

Read more: Rip-off travel: Online agents charging hundreds of pounds for flight extras

Older travelers are also more likely to have medical conditions, which means their premiums will still be bumped higher.

Jenny Ross, editor of Which? Money, said: “It’s really concerning that travelers with medical conditions still routinely face barriers to finding the right cover for their holidays.

“Our research has found that awareness of insurance specialists is too low among those who could benefit from them, meaning some travelers could either assume they can’t get cover, decide not to disclose their conditions due to price concerns or disclose them and end up paying more than they should.

Six in 10 (61%) people surveyed for Which? had a pre-existing medical condition or a history of one – and within this group, more than a third (36%) said that in the past three years, they had encountered problems buying travel insurance because of their conditions.

This could include expensive premiums, insurers declining to cover their conditions and issues when claiming, Which? said.

Just under half (48%) of people who have difficulty buying insurance because of their medical condition in the past three years have tried a travel insurance specialist.

Of those with medical conditions, one-fifth (21%) said their medical conditions meant premiums were affordable but very expensive, while just under one in 10 (8%) said if they disclosed their medical conditions, they were offered insurance, but not at prices they could afford.

which? said 7% had skipped buying insurance because of the high costs, leaving them without crucial protections should things go wrong while away.

Read more: Holiday rip-off: Solo travelers being charged up to 87% more than couples

Of the customers in Which?’s survey who had claimed within the past two years, more than a third (36%) had their claims rejected, disputed or only paid in part.

The results come after the FCA issued data showing that travel insurers were among the least likely to pay out for customers’ claims.

According to its figures, reflecting the second half of 2021, three quarters (75%) of claims made on single trip policies were accepted. By comparison, nearly all (99%) of car insurance claims were paid.

Ross added: “The FCA’s new consumer duty must mean that insurance firms improve the visibility of their signing, and be clearer with customers about how their cover could be limited as a result of their pre-existing conditions.

“The regulator must be ready to take action against firms not following the rules.”

Watch: How to spot a holiday scam

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