Whether you’re jetting off to Sunny Spain, cruising the Caribbean or heading for a seaside break in the UK, travel insurance is essential. For those with an existing medical condition, you may need to find a specialist medical travel insurance company – like us! Unlike standard travel insurance, specialist medical providers like us can generally cover medical conditions that are a little more complex.
Why Do I Need Specialist Medical Travel Insurance?
While your medical condition may be completely stable at home, a change of scenery, climate and the stress of travelling could cause your condition/s to flare up and leave you requiring medical attention on holiday.
Often it is not the actual condition itself, but an associated condition or the treatment of your condition that causes issues. For example, diabetes and some medications can make you more susceptible to deep vein thrombosis (DVT/Blood Clot). Flying and being stationary for prolonged periods of time are also known to cause this. Mix the two together and there is a higher risk which will need to be covered by your medical travel insurance provider, should the worst happen.
There is also the risk that your health could change unexpectedly. Whether that’s a change associated with your current condition or an entirely new diagnosis, in some circumstances, you may not be well enough to travel as planned, or if you have travelled, you may need to remain at your holiday destination for emergency treatment, and therefore can’t travel home as planned. Having a specialist medical travel insurance policy in place that provides cancellation cover, and emergency medical treatment cover for your existing conditions means you shouldn’t be left out of pocket if you are suddenly taken ill or your medical condition flares.
How Does My Medical Condition Affect My Travel Insurance?
Someone with a medical condition will be a higher travel insurance risk, than someone who has a clean bill of health. Therefore, the price of your travel insurance policy is likely to be higher if you have a medical condition. Having said that, research is key when finding a specialist medical travel insurance provider. Some providers will charge a set price based on your diagnosis, whereas others will take the time to get to know how your diagnosis and the treatment you may be receiving affects your day-to-day life.
At Insurancewith, we use our own specialist medical screening tool which allows us to do the latter.
It is important to understand, not declaring all of your existing condition/s or any changes that may happen between when you buy your policy and when you travel could result in your claim being denied. This includes claims for cancellation, coming home early and medical expenses if it is found to be related to any undeclared existing medical conditions.
What do travel insurers mean by pre-existing medical conditions?
You may see travel insurance companies refer to medical conditions as ‘pre-existing’. All this means is a medical condition that is current or you have previously been diagnosed with. In all circumstances, you will need to declare any medical conditions that fall in the question categories (more information about this below) to your travel insurance provider when completing your quote.
What Medical Conditions Do I Need to Declare?
All travel insurance companies will ask you a basic set of medical questions to determine whether you need to complete a medical declaration. Generally speaking, these will be made up of ‘Have You Ever in Your Lifetime’ and ‘Have You in the Past Two Years’ questions.
The Lifetime question set will ask if you have ever been diagnosed with a heart or lung condition, cancer, diabetes or had a stroke (including a transient ischaemic attack/mini stroke). Whereas the Two-Year questions focus on any medical treatment, medications or a new diagnosis (that doesn’t fall into the lifetime categories).
Answering yes to any of these questions means you will need to complete a medical declaration. It is essential you complete this as accurately and honestly as possible, as failure to do so may result in a claim related to your medical history (this includes cancellation and curtailment claims as well as emergency medical expenses) being denied.
Here at Insurancewith we pride ourselves in our detailed medical questions; it allows us to assess you as a person and how your condition affects you, not just determine cover or a price based on your condition for guidance. When completing a medical declaration with us, you will need to know your height and weight, the names of the medications you take and the conditions they are prescribed for. For some conditions, you will need to know your latest test results. If you get stuck at all, don’t worry; our customer service team are on hand to help you ensure we have all the information we need to process your quote.
Are There Specialist Medical Travel Insurance Companies?
Yes. There are plenty of specialist medical travel insurance companies out there and we recommend doing your research to find the one that has suitable cover, and is an appropriate price, for you. It may be worth speaking with any support groups you are a part of or your treating doctor as they may know of a company that could help.
If you are struggling to find a specialist medical travel insurance company that will cover your existing medical conditions, there is the Money Helper Travel Insurance Directory, which is a government initiative to help people with medical conditions find suitable travel insurance.
What If No Medical Cover is Available?
Our founder, Fiona, knows all too well how difficult it can be to find a suitable travel insurance policy that will cover complex medical conditions. It’s the main reason she started Insurancewith all those years ago. You can read more about her story here. Here are her top tips if you find yourself struggling to find a travel insurance company that will provide cover: