Research released by Staysure, a specialist insurer of over-50s, has suggested that around 10 per cent of older British holidaymakers travel without insurance – a potentially expensive gamble – while one in 20 have confessed that they had either failed to declare a medical condition to their insurer or otherwise lied to keep costs down.
This temptation to be economical with the truth – or to simply forego insurance altogether – is, according to Staysure, because over-65s often face difficulty finding a company who will insure them, and may balk at the price when insurance is offered, particularly when pre-existing conditions are entered into the equation. Consequently, many older travellers are either taking a huge risk travelling uninsured, are risking their claim being denied because of their decision to be ‘selective’ with their medical information, or are simply choosing to save money and not travel at all.
Staysure’s chief executive Ryan Howsam describes this as ‘false economy’: “Doctor and hospital bills can run into tens of thousands of pounds – particularly for those travelling to America.” He cited a recent case with which Staysure dealt, where a 71-year-old fell ill with asthma while travelling in Spain, leading to a £35,000-claim for medical treatment and repatriation back to the UK.
What with the increasing demands of an ageing population and the fact that many older holidaymakers are choosing ever more challenging and risky activities to engage in while abroad, Staysure has suggested that the industry needs to ‘keep up with the times’, although the company also advises older travellers that, in the long run, staying safe and being honest can pay dividends.