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Wednesday 23 November 2022

Older travellers being victimised

Older travellers are being penalised by being charged additional hidden costs and restricted choice, new research by British consumer organisation Which? has found.

The costs relate to purchasing holiday essentials including travel insurance and car hire," Travel Mole reports.

Older people have long been charged higher premiums for their travel insurance, with advancing age a recognised risk factor pushing up prices.

Which? also found data from that shows that since Covid, the amount older travellers are paying has risen disproportionately.

For a single trip policy covering a week in Spain, those aged 25-54 would on average have paid around £7.98 in 2019, while in July this year, they paid an average of £10.65.

Older age groups have borne the brunt of steeper increases, with the amount paid by the 85+ age group rising an absurd 169%.

Those in the 75-84 bracket have seen policies rising on average by 60%.

Which? is concerned that recent price rises for older travellers are disproportionate.

It recently scrutinised 199 travel insurance policies and discovered 190 of these (95%) set a maximum age threshold for new customers.

Car hire is another area in which older travellers are likely to be short-changed.

Many companies bury age restrictions in their terms and conditions documents.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz only ask to confirm if they are over 30 when booking online, meaning drivers could be at the desk before discovering prohibitive age restrictions.

To add to the confusion, age restrictions can often vary between locations, even when using the same company.

Fees for older drivers are also often exorbitant.

Which? has also found evidence of older travellers being penalised because of digital exclusion.

Those in older age groups who may lack technological skills will likely end up paying more as a result.

Saga, which offers insurance exclusively to the over 50s, charges as much as 30% less for those who book online.

Airlines including British Airways and easyJet charge customers more to amend a booking by phone.

A similar situation no doubt exists in Australia. 

Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel, said: “If you are an older traveller, it’s important to shop around and compare the rates on offer, as there’s likely to be a great deal of variation between providers.

Image: Nikol Mudrová on Scopio.

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