Your Quick Guide to Travel Insurance and Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

07 May 2018 by Olga Brighton

Travel Insurance Tips

You will be forgiven if it’s not the first thing on your mind when booking your next holiday, but ignoring travel insurance and pre-existing medical conditions could be the single most eye-wateringly expensive mistake you'll ever make.

Why bother with cover?

Did you know that in-patient treatment abroad can easily run into hundreds if not thousands per day? The Association of British Travel Agents (ABI) revealed figures in 2017 that would have you quaking in your boots. Like £768,000 for medical treatment and repatriation for a traveller in the US who suffered a stroke; and £81,000 for treating pancreatitis in Greece. Even a flight home with a doctor escort could set you back over £10,000, and an air ambulance, over £20,000.

It’s easy to assume that your medical conditions won’t cause you a problem, but doing so can have disastrous repercussions and may invalidate your travel policy if you haven’t complied with the insurance declaration requirements. It may be more difficult, or more expensive to buy insurance that covers your pre-existing conditions, but it may be a drop in the ocean compared to the medical costs you’ll face if you have a problem.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

Health insurance pre-existing conditions

This is an illness or medical condition that you have previously had symptoms, advice or treatment for. The exact definition and declaration requirements vary a lot by travel insurance policy so always check carefully before you buy. NEVER withhold details of a pre-existing condition, or this could invalidate your policy.

Many of us suffer from common pre-existing medical conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes or osteoarthritis, so it’s essential that you check and comply with the rules set by your chosen travel insurance company. Otherwise you are likely to find that you’re not covered for anything linked to that condition and this could cost you dearly in both stress and hard earned cash.

Did you know what cancellation reasons are covered by travel insurance? Find this and other top 12 travel insurance questions answered.

Aren’t I covered with an EHIC Card?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), may cover costs of state-provided treatment if travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA), however, state healthcare provision varies and can be limited in some locations. You won’t be covered for repatriation costs, or additional medical support this may involve – like a doctor or nurse escort.

How can I get covered?

Medical tourism insurance

Some companies have a huge list of questions you must answer before you buy and a short list of ‘accepted conditions’ they cover as standard. Globelink now cover more pre-existing medical conditions than ever before, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, gastric reflux and more. We also offer a medical screening service to check any conditions that are not on our standard list.

Do yourself a favour and think twice before travelling without checking your pre-existing medical conditions are covered. Your holiday heaven could turn into a traumatic trip before you know it.

Read also: 10 Worst Travel Mistakes Practically All Tourists Make

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