Turning 70 can double the price of travel insurance even if someone is healthy, according to Which?
Policies can be markedly more expensive and harder to find once customers pass 65, even if they are in good health, the consumer group said.
Which? looked at common barriers to finding affordable cover, gathering the experiences of some members in the past two years.
Medical conditions and age were most commonly identified as the source of problems and travel insurance was the most common problem area.
In separate mystery shopping research, Which? searched for quotes for customers in perfect health buying an annual European policy, using a comparison website in September.
It found that once a customer reached 70, they had fewer quotes to choose from and the average price of the cheapest five nearly doubled, compared with customers aged 65.
The average of the cheapest five quotes offered to a 65-year-old was £29 and for a 70-year-old this nearly doubled to £57.
Posing as a 55-year-old travel insurance customer, Which? got 76 quotes, falling to just seven for an 80-year-old.
One Which? member said declaring his wife’s irregular heartbeat resulted in “either a refusal to insure or astronomical premiums” for the couple’s annual worldwide cover – with one insurer quoting as much as £3,200.
Older, more experienced drivers are often rewarded with cheaper car insurance, but this tends to creep up again after drivers pass their mid-70s, Which? said.
I still run, jump in rivers and chase salmon, and run stables and horses. It’s annoying to discover that at this age you’re deemed incapable of even driving
One Which? member, aged 78, was surprised to be offered quotes ranging from £450 to £2,134 for car insurance.
They said: “I still run, jump in rivers and chase salmon, and run stables and horses. It’s annoying to discover that at this age you’re deemed incapable of even driving.”
Which? said many specialist insurers and brokers, and even some mainstream providers, may be able to help customers struggling to find affordable deals on comparison websites.
Another port of call is the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba), which helps people find specialist brokers through the “find insurance” service on its website.
Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, said: “If you struggle to get insurance because of medical conditions or your age, there are some resources that can help you locate specialist insurers that lie off the beaten track of comparison websites.
“If there’s relevant context to your history or circumstances that you can’t communicate on an online form – or you’re unsure how to accurately fill one out – contact the insurer directly by phone or email to speak with a human being.”
Sarah Brodie, senior policy adviser, general insurance at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “Travel insurers aim to offer competitively priced travel insurance to as many travellers as possible.
“The cost of travel insurance will reflect a number of factors, including your age and travel destination.
“The older you are, or if you have a pre-existing medical condition, the more likely you are to need to claim for what can be jaw-droppingly expensive overseas emergency medical treatment costs.
“Travel insurance remains competitively priced, so it can pay to shop around, always making sure that you buy the policy most suited to your needs, not simply on price, and that you answer all questions, especially on any pre-existing medical conditions, fully and honestly.”