Over-55s not declaring mental issues

A melancholy older man.
Travel insurance

New research has found that a worrying proportion of travellers aged over 55 are failing to declare their mental health issues when purchasing travel insurance.

The data, from UK-based specialist medical travel insurer AllClear, has found that 17 per cent of under-55s declare mental health issues to their insurers, compared with only 10 per cent of those aged 55 to 64, five per cent of those aged 65 to 74, and two per cent of those aged over 75. Thirty different mental health conditions featured in the research, from depression to claustrophobia.

Concerningly, according to National Health Service statistics cited by AllClear, one-fifth of people aged over 65 suffer from depression.

“Older people are traditionally less comfortable talking about their mental health and this can be a problem when seeking travel insurance,” said Chris Rolland, CEO of AllClear. “The consequences can be dire, as failing to declare can potentially invalidate a policy in the event of a claim. While it seems that the subject of mental health is losing its stigma for younger generations, the challenge remains in ensuring all age groups understand that mental health conditions need to be declared when taking out travel insurance. We need to start talking about mental health more, and the industry needs to do more to ensure people know where to find specialist insurance.”

The research comes hot on the heels of strongly worded calls from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute for the Financial Conduct Authority to review the pricing and availability of travel insurance for those suffering from mental health issues.