Later life insurance: what coverage do you really need?

Insurance in your 70s can be tricky to suss out. What do you need and what can you scrap? Hopefully this will give you some idea.

Later life insurance: what coverage do you really need?

Figuring out what insurance you'll need in your 70s is especially crucial as people in this age group are more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions and other issues as a result of their age.

The bad news is that you're going to have to pay substantially more than someone younger.

Sarah Cordey from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) explains:

"Insurers take age into account when deciding the price of an insurance premium when they have clear evidence that there is a link between age and the likelihood of a customer making a more expensive claim.

"The average claim made on travel insurance is around four times greater for people aged between 86 and 90 compared with those aged between 31 and 35."

Yet despite the higher costs, it's still better to be covered than have to fork out for medical, car and funeral costs that you or your family can't afford.

In this guide we'll explain how to keep costs down without sacrificing vital protection.

Insurance policies you need

Travel insurance

Some insurers will automatically charge you a higher premium when you hit a certain age, even though there's been no change in your circumstances.

Some packaged accounts have a similar restrictive upper age policy on their travel insurance perk as well.

Luckily, many travel insurers have no upper age limit and some specialists cover more than 2,000 medical conditions.

Policies that cater for the over 70s often have other benefits like around-the-clock medical assistance.

The standard maximum medical cover is £1-10 million but some go as high as £20 million, while Virgin Money has unlimited cover.

If you don't have it already, make sure you secure your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip as it'll cover the unexpected happenings in the lead-up to your trip, such as cancellations or illness.

Cruises are popular with older passengers, but most insurers don't include cruises on their policies, while others will charge you a large to get it added on. Have a look at this guide to cruise travel insurance for more.

Also, consider the type of activities you have planned on your holiday.

Camel riding, kayaking and snorkelling top the list of activities older people want to try when they go on holiday, according to insurer Saga. One in 10 said they'd even like to have a go at ziplining.

Make sure you have the right cover for your adventurous activities. It's a good idea to really comb the small print and check for the activity you'd like to do.

The Saga research also found that 40% of over 50s will be taking five or more trips this year.

If this is the case for you, it'd be best to plump for a multi-trip policy over a single-trip policy.

Car insurance

Sure, you'll be paying less than a teenage driver who's just passed their test, but you'll still be paying steeper premiums than most. It'll be even greater if you're retired.

The average car insurance premium for drivers over 50 has risen by £40 over the last 12 months, according to price comparison site comparethemarket.com.

This will be made worse by the rise in insurance premium tax (IPT) and Discount Rate.

Before you just jump in to an over 70s policy, have a read and make sure it fits your needs. Age-specific policies don't always offer the best value in terms of premiums, but it'd be even worse if you weren't covered for an issue specific to you.

To beat premium price rises, it helps to think like a young driver. Get a car that's cheaper to insure, shop around, don't be afraid to haggle and try and limit your mileage.

Actually, it could be worth considering telematics (black box) insurance, which is typically targeted at younger drivers.

By 2024, black box car insurance will be a case of 'opt out' rather than 'opt in'. A small black box will be fitted to your car which will monitor speeds, where you drive, what time of day you drive and how well you handle things like cornering.

Privacy is a concern, but a telematics could help you save a significant amount on your insurance.

Is there any insurance you might not need?

Life insurance is important throughout your life but in your 70s, arguably less so.

The main reasons for carrying on with your life insurance would be if you have a high net worth, still support a dependent or are still working.

Some continue paying life insurance to cover the cost of their funeral. This might not be the best way to pay though.

It used to be quite difficult to pin down an over 70s life insurance policy as people simply weren't living that long. But as average life expectancy increases, they are becoming more common.

The length of policy will vary from provider to provider as well; some policies: Aviva will insure you up until the age 75, Old Mutual will cover up to age 100.

Whether or not you'll need a medical screening depends on the policy, the insurer and your age.

Even if you don't need a screening, it's now even more important to be honest about your medical history from the off. It's more likely that you'll have to make a claim, so you don't want to risk invalidating your policy and your loved ones ending up penniless.

Critical illness cover can be a good idea when taking out life insurance as it'll cover you should something develop suddenly.

Some may be welcomed on an over 50s policy, but others won't.

Age-specific insurance has had a bad rep in recent years, with many calling it a rip-off.

Once you've done your research, you might find that you're better off going for a standard policy with a higher age limit.

In any case, the important lesson is to shop around and make sure you're getting a policy that truly suits your needs.

"The insurance market is very competitive and this gives customers plenty of opportunity to shop around to find the policy that gives them all the cover they need.

"There are insurers and brokers who specialise in providing products to older customers," says Cordey at ABI.

Start off by comparing travel, car and life insurance policies here today.