Does travel insurance cover pre existing medical conditions?
Standard travel insurance doesn’t cover people who have a pre existing condition as standard. For insurance companies, people who have any kind of pre existing medical condition pose a higher risk than those without. Whether you have a severe disease or disability or aminor condition, you will need to declare your pre existing medical conditions to make sure you will be covered by your travel insurance company in any eventuality.
Although you may feel that you are cured or not currently undertaking treatment, you must add all the information to your medical screening. For example, it may seem silly, but if you have been treated for heart disease in the past and break your leg while you are in France, you may be denied coverage and not be eleigible for care because the travel insurer may say that the two things are connected.
What is a pre existing medical condition and can I be covered?
However, it’s not a reason to despair. Many customers imagine that their insurance policy will rise in price so much that one in ten customers last year travelled without insurance at all, rather than pay, and 1 in 20 failed to declare existing conditions.
Many people don’t even consider that they have a pre existing medical condition although the term is all-encompassing. It doesn’t only include serious conditions such as heart attacks and cancer, but It can include many common and day-to-day conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Mental health problems
You may not feel like your illness affects your day-to-day life, you may also not currently be taking any medication for your health, but you still must declare it or you may find that you are not properly insured.
One in four customers think that they only need to declare a condition if they are taking medicine for it. This is not the case. In most cases, you will still need to declare a condition up to two years after you have finished treatment. In the case of people who have cardiovascular or heart problems, you must declare your condition for the rest of your life.
Is pregnancy a preexisting medical condition?
Travel insurers don’t consider pregnancy a pre existing medical condition, and generally, you won’t be able to get routine treatment for healthy pregnancy and birth, only medical expenses for complications associated with pregnancy. Additionally, not all travel insurance plans will allow you to cancel if you become pregnant after buying the policy.
So, if you are planning on trying to get pregnant, find out if your particular policy will cover cancellation due to pregnancy before you purchase your travel insurance. If you have to make a claim and the travel insurance provider finds out you were pregnant before you bought your insurance, that claim will be denied and you might find yourself out of pocket!
Additionally, although your travel insurance might give you the thumbs up, many airlines have separate restrictions on when they will allow pregnant women to fly - this might be up to 32 or 36 weeks, depending on the carrier.
What is medical screening?
Almost all insurance companies have a method of doing medical screening for their clients. How they do this varies from company to company. Some companies, such as Debenhams Travel Insurance, only offer telephone screenings, while most larger companies such as Axa and Aviva offer online screening for medical conditions. There are other companies such as Allclear and Boots, who specialise in insuring people with pre existing medical conditions, which have a slightly more extensive medical screening process.
In all cases, you will have to answer various questions about your illnesses, the treatments you have taken and the length of time you have had your illnesses. You may also have to know what types of medication you’re on.
What happens if my medical condition changes before I go away on holiday?
In most cases, if your condition changes before you go away, your travel insurer will adjust your policy to cover your new condition. Sometimes this may increase your policy fee and other times it won’t - it depends on the severity of the change in your health. The insurer may also decide to revoke your insurance if they feel that your condition is too high risk to cover.
If your cover is withdrawn, the insurer will usually offer you two options; to use the policy and claim for cancellation of the holiday cost, or to cancel the policy and receive a refund of a portion of the premium – but this differs between policies so be sure to check with the individual insurer.
How can a medical condition affect my travel insurance claim?
If you have a pre existing medical condition which is declared this shouldn’t affect your claim at all.
However, if you have a pre existing medical condition that you haven’t declared, then this can affect your claim hugely, in some cases invalidating your policy altogether. When you make a claim your insurer usually contacts your GP to confirm any medical history.
If the GP’s report and what you have put in the medical screening are different, then the insurer will have to investigate further. In some cases, they may deny your claim, and in others, it may cause a delay to your treatment - precisely what you don’t want during a medical emergency!
What are the best travel insurance companies for people with pre existing medical conditions?
Many customers report prohibitive increases in the price of policies if they have pre existing medical conditions. Some travel insurance policies won’t cover pre existing medical conditions at all while some insurers are more lax about the types of conditions they will include.
In fact, many times it’s worth checking out some less well-known travel insurance providers which may cover you at a lower cost.
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