Travel Insurance for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Why do you need special cover for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
Many standard travel insurance policies exclude poeple with pre-existing medical conditions, because policies are intended to cover unexpected events. If you choose to take out a standard policy without telling the insurer about an existing condition and then go on to make a claim relating in any way to an undisclosed condition, your claim may be refused and the policy could become invalid.
Medical costs abroad can be very expensive and without adequate insurance cover you could be left severely out of pocket. Cover will only be provided for pre-existing medical conditions, all of which must be declared. Note that you cannot pick and choose which conditions to include or leave out, otherwise any particular claim will be voided.
Taking out a policy that covers you for pre-existing conditions means that if you fall ill while on holiday and need emergency treatment or hospital care related to your condition, subject to the conditions of the policy and any excesses, the cost would be covered.
Risks of standard cover
Travellers may be tempted to take out standard cover and simply not disclose any pre-existing condition. But you run the risk of the policy not paying out if you were to make a claim.
A large proportion of consumer complaints to the Ombudsman about health-related travel insurance involve disputes over non-disclosure of pre-existing medical conditions.
There are many policies that are broad and ambiguous and it’s not clear whether consumers with a pre-existing medical condition would be covered. It is therefore vital you clarify you are buying the right policy.
You are expected to disclose all relevant information, so Medical Insurance Bureau’s expert advisors always make sure they ask appropriate questions to enable you to do so.
What is classed as a pre-existing medical condition?
These are ailments which existed before an insurance policy was taken out. A pre-existing condition usually means any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received.
Some common conditions include:
- High blood pressure and high cholestrol
- Respiratory conditions (relating to the lungs or breathing)
- Any heart, kidney, liver, circulatory or cerebral conditions
- Stroke or central nervous system disorder
- Cancerous conditions
- Terminal conditions
- Psychological conditions (diagnosed or treated)
- Prescribed medication, received treatment or had a consultation (within a given period of time)
Even those who have been cured from a medical condition may still have to declare this to their insurer. For example, a person who has been completely cured of cancer may still face higher insurance premiums.
You should speak to one of our experts to check whether they will include your condition on the policy.
What is medical screening?
Medical screening is a system that will ask you a series of easy multiple choice questions to assess the severity of your condition.
When searching for an insurance company that covers pre-existing medical conditions you will be often asked a number of in-depth questions and will be required to submit detailed and sometimes very personal answers. You will be asked about a range of conditions both physical and mental such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
Whilst this can be a frustrating process it is necessary so that the insurance company can tailor your policy to your specific needs and determine any risk you may impose.
Failure to declare a medical condition to an insurer could result in any claim being rejected and force you to cover any medical costs yourself. It may be tempting to withhold certain information in order to obtain a cheaper premium, but in the event of a claim the insurance company will request access to your medical records.
No matter how minor a medical condition may be it is always worth declaring this to the insurer just to be sure that you are fully covered.
Our experienced consultants can usually cover this over the phone.
How we can help you
Travellers with pre-existing medical conditions may find difficulty in obtaining a travel insurance policy which covers them. If you have had a stroke or heart disease, for example, it can be difficult to find one.
Because of the increased risk of claims, travellers with pre-existing conditions find themselves with fewer policies to choose from and also face paying more for cover.
Once you have answered all relevant questions there are a number of potential outcomes, these are:
- Offer a standard travel insurance policy depending on the severity or type of condition
- Exclude medical cover for certain pre-existing conditions
- Offer the insurance to you but at a much higher price
- Refuse to insure you at all
- Impose certain restrictions, exclusions, special terms or higher excess payments
- It does not cover all medical conditions.
- It does not provide for repatriation to the UK.
- Travel insurance also provides cover for baggage, cancellation and many other eventualities
Other insurers may not provide cover for pre-existing conditions, and with treatment abroad being costly it is best to be properly covered. With MIB, you can focus on enjoying your holiday with the reassurance that you're adequately insured.
The European Health Insurance Card
If you are travelling in the EU, as an EU citizen you are entitled to reduced cost or free emergency care in any of the member countries. The ‘E111’ form was previously the method for proving eligibility for such care, but has been replaced by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and is now obsolete. Each individual travelling must now apply for the new card by completing an EHIC application form. You can apply for an EHIC card free of charge by calling 0300 330 1350 or online at www.ehic.org.uk
The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to stateprovided medical treatment only, and you’ll be treated on the same basis as an ‘insured’ person living in the country you are visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you’d expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care.
The EHIC also covers any treatment you need for chronic disease or pre-existing illness. You need to make arrangements in advance for kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy. To arrange for kidney dialysis while you are away, contact your NHS renal unit in the UK before you travel.
Even if you are travelling in Europe with an EHIC you are advised to take out separate comprehensive travel insurance rather than rely on the EHIC because:
All of this backed up by discreet, understanding and experienced staff, to help you through if the worst should happen.
Never think you are too old or have too many pre-existing conditions, to take that trip of a lifetime with full insurance in place. Please do call us on 0191 284 8545 for further help and advice or to obtain a quote. Alternatively email email@example.com with your contact details and one of our specialists will call you back.
Even if you are only just thinking of booking, we can offer a quote before you commit to buying your holiday. Once your cover is in place you are full covered should your holiday be cancelled or you are unable to travel.