August 3, 2018

Travel insurance for seniors

A wee while ago I was on radio for an hour chatting about travel with the many callers who phoned in. We got onto the topic of travel insurance for seniors as several callers explained they wanted to take a cruise or visit family or take that once-in-a-lifetime holiday but couldn’t get travel insurance because of their age and their pre-existing conditions.

I promised to do some research and here are my findings on who covers the grey gallivanters as they seek to see the world!

Senior travel insurance

I love these guys! This pic is taken in Romania by Jon Rawlinson/Flickr

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume the automatic insurance cover they get on their credit cards by paying for at least 50% of their travel will cover them in full. It might do, but the pre-exisiting condition rule still applies and if you haven’t informed them of any relevant health issues, you might find your claim is rejected. To be safe, just give your bank a call and make sure you have in writing that your pre-existing medical conditions are covered. You may have to pay an extra levy for this.

There are some great tips in the comments below from readers, so have a read of them too.

1 Cover
As a disclaimer, I am an affiliate seller of 1 Cover travel insurance. That means if you click on to their website through this site and you go ahead and book, I will get paid a small percentage. However, I called them to ask about insurance for seniors (not telling them I also sold their insurance) and said I’d heard they were one company who wouldn’t cover one of my callers that day.

“I’m reaallllly sorry,” said the girl on the end of the phone “but it’s on a case by case basis.” She didn’t offer any more info, so I dug a bit further and see they have a section on their website saying they cover 34 pre-existing medical conditions which you can read here >> Hover your mouse over ‘Travel Insurance Products’ on the left you will see a category for Seniors.

This company proudly promotes their insurance coverage of the “grey nomad”. They let you fill out your application form online using an online medical assessment tool and allow pre-existing conditions without having to visit your doctor. From memory, this company did cover one of the listeners who texted or emailed in to let us know they were successfully covered. Of course, you are going to pay more with each ailment, but that looks like it’s clearly spelt out as you go through the application.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance
Their website says that pre-existing conditions are excluded from their cover, however I have included the link above (in their name) where conditions are clearly spelled out and you can fill out an online medical assessment during the application process and if you name a condition that they cover, you’ll be able to provide more information and be presented with an answer (and an additional cost) right away.

Cover More
This link takes you straight to the seniors cover which includes 35 conditions including some cancers, gout, diabetes and unlimited overseas medical cover. Certainly worth adding to your list as you research the best coverage for yourselves. If your conditions aren’t in the list, they advise to call them anyway as you might still be covered.


I hope you get some joy from these websites, but if all that fails have a look here at where they’ve also done a bunch of research for senior travel insurers for you.

And if you have found a company that has covered pre-existing conditions please give them a shout out by letting me know in the comments below!


About Megan Singleton


Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio every week and a few newspapers and mags from time to time. I set off on this travel writing journey 18 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!)I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

"Travel insurance for seniors" - What do you think?

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  1. Sue on

    We have insurance with NZ Travel Insurance. The other issue we have had is getting insurance to cover us if we have to suddenly come home because something happens to an elderly parent. A lot of companies will not cover you.

  2. Cathy on

    1cover covered us for travel to Europe at Christmas then declined us for our next trip. No reason given. Southern Cross agreed to cover with exemptions, but expensive for our exemptions. We will look at Worldwide for comparison.

  3. Kim on

    Megan you are a life saver!
    Loved listening to you this morning on TV One so went straight onto your blog.
    So much to read and as w3 are planning to do the drive from SAN Francisco to LA next year your article was full of advice.
    But it was the travel insurance that got me as I alsways have a problem getting it with a pacemaker even though I keep in good health!
    1Cover travel insurance sounds good and I did a quote for a year worldwide and included two pre existing
    conditions and with the normal $450 the extra for me was an extra $350 on top which sounds a lot but isn’t.
    Very happy to know I can get this.
    Thanking you x

  4. Kaye on

    We used the ‘free’ travel insurance through booking using BNZ Platinum Visa card. This is now provided by AIG. Pre existing conditions have to be named then an additional premium is based on those if they agree to provide cover. My husband has a complex ‘colourful’ medical history while my conditions are stable and all in those usually covered without further information. They
    agreed to cover everything. I can’t recall the cost. Not cheap but reassuringvto be covered. We were going to Europe and UK. Out of interest I asked what the cost would be if we went to the USA. Answer much higher premium for me and no cover for my husband.
    Thank you for provide additional providers for us to explore in the future.

  5. Jos on

    Hi Megan

    I bought a Worldwide Annual Policy through Crombie Lockwood for my husband last year and about to purchase another one for this years travels. He is 73 and both his pre existing conditions are covered. The cost is $489, the best I’ve found by far.

  6. Patricia on

    Thank you so much for your info. After a more or less flat ‘no’ from 1Cover I managed to obtain cover from World Care for an 80 year old (with some pre-existing conditions). We chose not to cover those conditions. It was all very easy with an on-line form so no need for a further doctor’s visit.


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