Kate Simon: Better late than never. Travel insurers wise up to the grey pound

I've been trying out one of those multi-generation holidays (that my colleague Sarah Barrell scorned in this column last week). And, do you know what, they sometimes work.

My 81-year-old mum recently accompanied me on a trip that involved flying to New York for a few nights and returning to Southampton on the Queen Mary 2. I'll admit, I was worried about whether we'd survive being in such close confines for 10 whole days, the longest time we've been together since I left home more than 25 years ago. Yet, there wasn't one cross word said.

In fact, we had a blast. In New York – a city I feared would be far too noisy for my countryside-dwelling mum – we took in Wall Street, Central Park and all points in between. To top it off, the Commodore invited us to sail out of New York harbour on the bridge of Cunard's flagship ocean liner.

America is the furthest my mum has ever travelled from Britain, but then she didn't venture abroad until she was in her fifties. That was more than her mother ever managed. My old Nan, who died in 2002 at the grand old age of 102, never left these shores – a trip on an escalator was a thrill too far for her.

I'm not suggesting mum's trip was an extraordinary feat, but her willingness to travel so far at her age is a sign of the times. More and more senior citizens are criss-crossing the world; some are even taking risks that their children, even grandchildren, might not be up for.

Take Olive Cochrane, from Canada, who was on the news recently celebrating her 90th birthday with her first skydive. She's one of a number of nonagenarians who have hit the headlines because of their spirit of adventure. Gean Hodson, a 90-year-old from Linlithgow, Scotland, followed her doctor's orders and didn't do a skydive; instead she went white-water rafting on the River Tay.

One of the first concerns for any elderly traveller, however daring, is insurance, which for this age group has the reputation of being costly and difficult to arrange. Yet, an independent report by Oxera Consulting, commissioned last year by the Government, has busted both those myths. It found that while policies get more expensive as customers get older – because most claims are medical related in this age group – pricing tends to favour this sector of society more than any other.

And though there's a perception that travel insurance is hard to find if you're elderly, very few experience difficulties getting cover because of their age, with 66 single-trip policies now available for people aged up to 85, of which more than a third don't have an age cap. There are also 23 annual multi-trip policies.

Staysure is one company that specialises in insurance for the over-fifties. It confirms a doubling in interest from people in their eighties seeking travel insurance, a trend that has accelerated in 2010 and now accounts for more than 6 per cent of Staysure's business, up from about 2 per cent four years ago.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) believes that, as the number of older people wanting to travel more often and for longer increases, it is likely the market will respond. With the baby boomers not far off 80 now, this looks likely to become a lucrative market.

Got a travel issue to raise? Email sunday travel@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?