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
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence