Finding reasonably-priced and suitable travel insurance can prove difficult for anyone with a ‘pre-existing medical condition’. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to try and find a tailor made and affordable travel insurance policy. According to a recent report by The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), cancer patients in particular struggle to find affordable policy cover – even if they’ve successfully finished their treatment.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says around £200m a year is paid out for medical treatment through travel insurance claims – 55% of the total annual pay outs under travel insurance policies. This is why insurers are wary about providing cover for people who may be at a higher risk of increased medical bills whilst on holiday.
With more than 15 million UK residents having at least one long-term medical condition, the FCA are trying to tackle this perceived problem that travellers with pre-existing conditions cannot secure cover. They have now pledged to work with the insurance industry to help people find specialist cover.
Fortunately, there are 10 simple steps holidaymakers with pre-existing medical conditions can take to obtain suitable, and affordable, travel insurance…
- Be wary of price comparison providers
Using a price comparison website can result in a failure to find suitable travel insurance, leading many people to feel that they were uninsurable – despite the fact there are a number of specialist firms ready to offer cover.
- Use specialist companies
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it makes sense to consider specialist travel insurance providers who can tailor the policy around your needs and medical history.
- Be honest and accurate
Complications can arise with insurers if you give them the wrong impression of your illness and its seriousness – which can undermine your chances of finding suitable and affordable cover or can lead to the policy being invalidated should you need to make a claim. If your condition is life limiting but not terminal in the short term, say so. Don’t give an insurer any unnecessary reasons to worry. Many people have a terminal or incurable prognosis but can continue to travel with relatively low risk. In most cases, being as honest and accurate as possible is the best approach.
- Get a doctor’s note
Some insurers will reduce their premium if you can provide evidence from your GP or specialist which confirms that the travel plans are realistic and that you’re well enough to take the trip because it gives them added peace of mind.
- Consider single-trip policy instead of an annual cover
Premiums can be contained by considering single-trip cover rather than a multi-trip or annual policy.
- Watch where you travel
The cost of travel insurance is largely dictated by where you are travelling to – so premiums are obviously cheaper if you stay in the EU rather than other destination outside of Europe – where the EHIC is not valid. There are also other destinations where reciprocal care arrangements exist, meaning medical bills for potential treatments are not excessive, and insurers are more likely to offer affordable cover for these.
- Carefully consider travelling to America
Consider whether America is your dream destination as an air ambulance back home can cost £65,000 and medical care sometimes costs upwards of £10,000 a night in the US. Therefore, avoiding this destination (and other parts of the Caribbean) will help to contain the cost of your premium.
- Carefully assess all your quotes
People with pre-existing medical conditions should obviously shop around to find the most appropriate policy for them and their individual needs. Once you’ve done that, it’s worth setting aside some time to weigh up all the quotes (from specialist insurers and brokers) as the price will be dependent on the extent of cover – which can vary considerably.
- Check the small print
Even if you’re prepared to pay a premium for the most appropriate cover, it’s a good idea to check the small print for any restrictions or clauses. Some policies have exclusions relating to anything connected with a pre-existing condition. If it does, this will obviously undermine the whole reason for having the insurance.
- Take your time
As a general rule of thumb, the earlier you arrange your insurance before travelling, the more difficult it will be to find a suitable policy which is affordable. If possible, leave it as late as you can to take out cover as your insurance will be based on a more accurate reflection of your current health and well-being.
How we can help if you’re injured abroad
If you or a loved one has been injured on holiday and it was caused by someone else, you could be entitled to compensation. Click here to read our comprehensive guide about What to do if you’re injured abroad.