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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.

World Nomads, of which I am an affiliate seller, covers travellers up to 69 years of age. So if you’re reading this over 70, they’re not the one for you. But they do sell 15% of the world’s travel insurance so would be well checking out if you are under 70. You can get a free quote on this widget and if you do go ahead and purchase, they will be pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

1 Cover
As another disclaimer, I am also 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 – and you are in New Zealand – have a look at where they’ve also done a bunch of research for senior travel insurers for you.

You might also like to read my recent post on Things to be Aware of when Buying Travel Insurance. It gives you lots of things you need to consider and what to look for in the small print. (It turns out I hadn’t been insured for cruises I’d been on for the last few years!)

Since writing this post I was contacted by US based who have a ton of in-depth advice and also recommend some travel insurance providers, so click on their link if you want to read more.


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Monday 10th of December 2018

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.


Saturday 11th of August 2018

Just to let you know I have been covered for pre existing conditions twice now by Tower Travel Insurance


Sunday 12th of August 2018

Thanks Renee, good to know!


Tuesday 7th of August 2018

Try world nomads. Broad cover and also cover retrieval from remote locations c


Tuesday 7th of August 2018

Thanks Helen :)


Friday 3rd of August 2018

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.


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

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


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

Oh that's great, thanks for your lovely comments Kim and yay for the cover!

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 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 my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!