16 Oct 2018 by Olga Brighton
If you have thought about getting travel insurance for your existing medical condition, you are already one step ahead of the crowd. If you haven’t, then you should, or it could be the most stressful and costly mistake you ever make.
Travel insurance is a must-have if you are travelling, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. It’s all too easy to think that your medical condition is well controlled and won’t cause you a problem while you are away. But the simple truth is that a change in climate, environment, food and drink, or even the heightened excitement, or stress of travelling, could all contribute to a change in your medical condition while you are away.
Medical claims are one of the biggest costs for travel insurers and seeking medical treatment whilst abroad could be the single most expensive move you ever make. You don’t have to look far to discover some true horror stories about the cost of overseas treatment. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABI), have sited cases where medical expenses and repatriation costs have spiralled to £768,000 for one traveller to the US who had a stroke; and £81,000 for another traveller who had pancreatitis in southern Greece.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition you may be more at risk of claiming, so depending on your condition, it may be more problematic to find travel insurance. But it’s worth it for the added peace of mind and it could avoid the risk of gargantuan medical costs you might face if there’s a hiccup on your travels. Not forgetting that if you do have a medical condition, not declaring it could invalidate your travel insurance unless you have complied with the declaration requirements when you purchase.
Put simply, the exact definition and medical declaration requirements vary between travel insurance providers, but usually it’s an illness or medical condition that you have previously had symptoms, advice or treatment for. Even if you are completely cured of a medical condition, such as cancer, you may need to declare it. Always check carefully before you buy and don't ever withhold information about a pre-existing condition, as this could invalidate your insurance and be seen as fraud.
Pre-existing medical conditions, can include every day ailments like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes or osteoarthritis, so check and comply with the rules set by your chosen travel insurance provider. Or you risk your claim being declined if it can be linked to the medical condition you have and this could cost you dearly in stress and hard earned cash.
The good news is that it’s never been easier. There are more providers than ever offering cover for pre-existing conditions.
Many travel insurance companies have a list of medical conditions that they accept as standard so you may be able to get covered without paying extra and without any special restrictions on cover, so always check what their ‘accepted conditions’ are. Globelink now cover more pre-existing medical conditions than ever before, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, gastric reflux and more. Check Globelink's website for a full list of covered pre-existing medical conditions.
Some companies specialise in offering insurance for pre-existing medical conditions and these policies may be more expensive, but they could be worth considering, depending on your condition and where you are travelling. Medical costs in the US, Canada and Japan are particularly eye watering.
With all travel insurance policies you are likely to be required to answer some initial medical questions about your condition and depending on your responses, you may have to call a special Medical Screening Helpline and answer more in-depth questions about your condition. This can be frustrating, but it’s necessary so that the travel insurer can assess whether they can offer cover and what premium and terms will apply.
If your condition is not on the ‘accepted conditions’ list, you may have the option to exclude it, or be offered a policy for a higher premium or with certain restrictions, exclusions, terms or a higher excess.
If you need a specialist provider for your medical condition its always worth shopping around to select the one that best suits your particular requirements and budget. It may be worth checking with any special charities or reputable associations linked with your illness as they may recommend certain insurance providers.
Ultimately, our recommendation is don’t forgo peace of mind and risk a huge medical bill for the sake of paying for travel insurance, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. There is plenty of choice out there so spend 10 minutes searching and it could save you tens of thousands in medical bills if things do go wrong.
Globelink, provides quality travel insurance for over 20 years. Visit Globelink's website, or call (UK) +44 (0) 1353 699082 to find out more about Globelink travel insurance policies.