22 Aug 2018 by Olga Brighton
There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t ignore a pre-existing medical condition when arranging your pre-existing medical travel insurance, not least of all because it could be the single most eye-wateringly expensive mistake you’ll ever make.
No one wants to think about falling ill while on holiday, but medical treatment abroad can easily run into hundreds, or even thousands if you are admitted to hospital. And you could be more at risk if you have a pre-existing medical condition. According to The Association of British Travel Agents (ABI), costs for medical expenses and repatriation spiralled to £768,000 for one traveller to the US who suffered a stroke; and £81,000 for another traveller who had pancreatitis in Greece.
It’s natural to assume that your medical condition is under control and won’t cause you a problem while you are away, but it could have disastrous repercussions if it does. Not declaring a pre-existing medical condition could invalidate your travel insurance policy unless you have complied with the declaration requirements.
It may be trickier to find a policy that covers your condition, or be more expensive than buying standard cover, but this could be a drop in the ocean compared to medical costs you might face if there’s a problem.
As far as travel insurance is concerned, this is usually classed as 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 provider so always check carefully before you buy. NEVER withhold details of a pre-existing condition, or this could invalidate your insurance.
Pre-existing medical conditions, include common ailments 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. Or you risk not being covered for any claim that could be linked to that medical condition and this could cost you dearly in both stress and money.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), may cover costs of some state-provided treatment when travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA), however, state healthcare provision varies and can be limited in some locations. You will not be covered for private medical expenses, repatriation costs, or additional medical support – like a doctor or nurse escort for your journey home.
Some companies have a list of medical conditions they accept 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. Check Globelink's website for a full list of covered pre-existing medical conditions. Many Travel Insurance companies also offer a medical screening service to advise whether your pre-existing medical condition can be accepted for an additional premium, or with a change to the policy terms. Other more specialist providers cater specifically for more serious pre-existing medical conditions. You can carry out an internet search for these providers and select the one that best suits your particular requirements.
Do yourself a favour think twice before travelling without getting travel insurance cover for your pre-existing medical condition. Or your heavenly holiday could turn into a travel trauma before you know it.