Factor 75: pensioners could be sun-blocked this September by travel insurance troubles

22 September 2015

One in ten aged 75 plus willing to travel without insurance as over half struggle to find a policy

As many older travellers look to get away this time of year, Nationwide is reminding people to seek out flexible travel insurance policies. Research1 from Britain’s biggest building society shows more than half of those aged 75 plus either struggle to find a policy or are refused cover. This is despite the poll showing that from the age of 60 upwards, the number of people who have made a claim is broadly consistent, at around one in eight (12%).

Nationwide’s FlexAccount2 and FlexPlus3 current accounts include travel insurance for those under the age of 75 as standard and for those travellers aged 75 plus there is a £50 annual fee per account with no upper age limit4. The Society is one of the few current account providers to offer travel insurance for customers 75 or over, with many ceasing cover at 705.

The poll of 1,000 people aged 60 and over reveals that those aged over 75 are the group most likely to holiday in September, with around a quarter (24%) intending to take their main break this month.

Refused policies

Nationwide’s survey shows that more than half (56%) of those aged 75 and over struggle to get travel insurance, with more than a fifth (21%) having been prevented from taking a policy on the grounds of age, pre-existing medical conditions or soaring costs of policies. By comparison, a fifth (21%) of those aged between 60 and 64 have difficulty finding a policy, while 16 per cent have been refused cover due to their circumstances.

Despite age and pre-existing medical conditions potentially affecting premiums, one in ten people (10%) aged 75 plus are willing to throw caution to the wind and travel without any travel insurance whatsoever.

Cost of policies

The poll highlights that respondents aged 75 and above paid significantly more for their travel cover each year: a quarter (26%) spend in excess of £200, while one in ten (10%) spend more than £300.

Age/ insurance spend £200 plus £300 plus £400 plus
60-64 years 9% 4% 2%
65-69 years 11% 3% 1%
70-74 years 18% 6% 4%
75 plus years 26% 9% 5%

Types of cover

More than a third of those aged over 60 (37%) take a new insurance policy each time they travel, resulting in them having to go through the difficulty of arranging cover every time they go on holiday. Around a quarter (24%) possess standalone multi-trip cover.

However, while there is only slight fluctuation between age groups taking single and multi-trip travel insurance, the survey shows that those aged between 60 and 64 are twice as likely to have a packaged account offering travel insurance than those aged 75 and above (20% vs 10%). This could be because many policies will not cover beyond the age of 70 years of age (see table in Notes to Editor).

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “September is an extremely popular time for older travellers to enjoy a cheap and peaceful break outside of the school holiday season. But it appears many are willing to go on holiday without insurance due to their age, their medical history or because they feel it’s just too expensive.

As one of the few current account providers that allow customers to upgrade their travel insurance from the age of 75 and over, we would always recommend looking around for a provider that is willing to cover you at an affordable price.”

The Nationwide FlexAccount offers free UK and European multi-trip travel insurance to eligible customers. The FlexPlus current account offers a range of benefits for just £10 a month, including worldwide travel insurance for customers and their family, with winter sports, golf, business and wedding cover as standard6. Holidaymakers are covered whether they are travelling abroad or in the UK7.

Notes to Editors

Case studies available of customers over the age of 75 who have saved money by taking Nationwide travel insurance provided as part of their current account.

1 One Poll research: total sample size was 1,000 adults aged 60+ who go on holiday. The survey ran from 04/08/15 to 11/08/15.

2 FlexAccount Key Information

Full information can be found here

Travel insurance eligibility

  • Be a permanent resident of the UK
  • Be aged 16 - 75 (cover will continue until 75th birthday and an age upgrade policy should be purchased annually to continue the cover
  • Hold a Visa debit card (not cash card or cash card+) and either,
    • Switch all Direct Debits and standing orders from another bank or building society to the FlexAccount, using Nationwide’s Current Account Switch Team,
    • pay in at least £750 per month into a FlexAccount for at least 3 consecutive months (excluding internal transfers)
  • Eligibility will be assessed when the account switch is complete or at the end of the month, when £750 or more has been deposited.

3 FlexPlus Key Information

Full information can be found here

Account Eligibility

  • FlexPlus is open to new and existing customers aged 18 years and over
  • Single and joint account options available

Account Fee

  • FlexPlus has a £10 per month fee

Credit Interest

  • 3% AER (2.96% gross p.a) on credit balances up to £2,500
  • Credit interest is not payable on balances over £2,500


  • Worldwide Family Travel Insurance
  • Commission-Free Cash Withdrawals Abroad
  • Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance
  • UK and European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance
  • Extended Warranty Cover
  • ID Theft Assistance
  • Worldwide Card Emergency Assistance

Exclusions and limitations apply to all FlexPlus insurances

4 Travel insurance

  • All customers wishing to purchase an age extension are accepted, there are no additional criteria that the customer must satisfy
  • FlexPlus and FlexAccount customers are sent an annual eligibility mailing which provides a reminder to purchase age upgrades and declare pre-existing medical conditions
  • Customer who declare medical conditions can purchase upgrades which range from £30 to £90 per condition (payable in addition to the £50 age upgrade)
  • Each medical condition is screened by our insurance partners and their underwriting team calculate the cost based on their risk criteria
  • Certain conditions or a multitude of health issues can be deemed uninsurable and therefore the customer cannot be covered
  • Customers can choose not to have pre-existing medical conditions covered. If they travel without an upgrade and incur a cost which is directly attributed to the condition, the policy will not provide recompense However they will be covered for other issues which are not attributed to the condition such as lost luggage
  • Customers over the age of 75 without an age related upgrade have no level of cover under the terms of the policy

5 Competitor comparison (correct on 5 August 2015)

Provider Account Age Limit on Travel Monthly Fee
Nationwide FlexAccount Up to 75
£50 age extension per account for people over 75 (no upper age limit)
FlexPlus Up to 75
£50 age extension per account for people over 75 (no upper age limit)
Lloyds Lloyds Silver Up to 65 £9.95
Platinum Up to 80 £17
Halifax Ultimate Reward Up to 70 £15 (or £10 if meet lower monthly criteria)
NatWest Select Silver Up to 70
£50 age extension per person over 70
Select Platinum £16
Black Account Over 70 (no upper age limit) £24
Barclays Bank Account Travel Pack/Travel Pack Plus Up to 70 European Travel Pack £8.50
Travel Plus Pack £13.50

6 For more information and a list of all the exclusions, please download the policy summary

7 Trips must start and end in the UK. Trips in the UK must be more than 25 miles from your home and be for 2 or more nights in duration. Trips outside the UK must be no more than 31 days, unless extended journey cover has been purchased. UK trips must also be in a commercially run premises that doesn’t belong to a friend or family member

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Please note: If you are a customer looking for information on our products and services, please visit the main website.