We are all living and staying active longer. According to the Office for National Statistics, the United Kingdom population is expected to reach over 75 million (currently 66 million) by 2039.
Improvements in healthcare technology and modern life in general, means that 18% of the population are now over 65 and 2.4% are over the age of 85.
That means, more of us are living with medical conditions. According to the latest Financial Conduct Authority report, up to 15 million people, living in the UK have a least one long term health condition.
The result is a greater number of us who have to declare medical conditions, when we apply for travel insurance.
This is a concern for the Financial Conduct Authority, who 12 months ago started to assemble evidence about how to help consumers with pre-existing medical conditions, find affordable travel insurance.
ThatsInsurance have created this Guide to help you find travel insurance that will cover pre-existing medical conditions.
The cost of medical care abroad and repatriation to the UK can be expensive. The main concern for Insurers rightly or wrongly, is an increased chance that previously diagnosed illnesses, will reoccur whilst abroad and lead to larger bills for the Insurer.
For example the cost to treat a heart attack in the USA, is estimated to cost an average of $40,000. If surgery is involved, this can increase to up to $200,000
It is easier and more cost effective for Insurers to only insure "Mr & Mrs Average". Increases in technology and more effective capture of customer data, allows Insurers to marginalise those who they feel may represent a higher risk, because of existing medical conditions.
A one size fits all approach to underwriting can mean those of us with medical conditions are charged higher premiums, or not covered at all.
You can see the obvious benefits of obtaining quotes direct from a Travel Insurer's website. We have been able to dramatically speed up this process by ranking and reviewing every travel policy (no other website currently does this).The current issues for those seeking travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions are;
Our Search Facility gets you one step nearer to solving this problem, as you have the ability to filter out those Insurance Providers who don't offer online screening for Medical Conditions.
We provide details of the basic premiums, cover levels and rankings, which you can use to help you decide on a potentially suitable policy, before going onto the Insurance Provider's website direct, to complete a full medical screening.
Although this is a step in the right direction, our future goal is to analyse each individual medical condition, provide a comprehensive report on the policies that provide the best cover and which are most competitive for that specific condition. You will be able to see a list of common medical conditions below and link to them for the report.
In the meantime to help you fully understand Travel Insurance and Pre-existing medical conditions, we have provided answers to a list of frequently asked questions below.
Specific criteria vary from Insurer to Insurer. Some only require you to declare conditions you have received treatment for in the last twelve months. For others it can be two, three or even five years. Some Insurers require you to declare any condition for which you are taking medication.
If you want to include specific medical conditions, you must read Insurers requirements carefully, as you may not need to declare a condition with one Insurer, whereas you are required to do so with another.
To give you an idea of the specific requirements, we have provided a typical set of questions for you to read belowAny medical conditions for which in the past 2 years:
If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, you must declare the condition to your Insurer.
REMEMBER; Most Insurers also need to know about the health of any relatives, a business colleague, travelling companion, or a friend or relative with whom you have arranged to stay. They may not be specifically insured on your policy, but Insurers will not pay out any claim, caused by the medical condition of another person, unless they have been fully declared and accepted by the Insurer.
Some Insurers will not cover this scenario at all, so you should think carefully about anyone who could cause you a potential problem.
While most medical conditions will need to be declared, some Insurers will cover minor ailments without the need for medical screening.
Ailments like Acne, Blindness, Deafness, Nose Bleeds, Gout, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, repetitive strain injury, sprains and throat infections, to name a few, are listed as accepted medical conditions.
Check carefully any list of automatically accepted medical conditions, as your problem may already be covered, without the need to declare it.
There are two main areas of a travel insurance policy where medical conditions can cause a claim. The first is cancellation.
If you suddenly become too ill to travel and have to unexpectedly cancel your trip, you would be entitled to claim a full refund of the cost under the cancellation section.
The second is medical expenses. If you are suddenly taken ill whilst abroad and need medical attention, the costs will be paid for under the Emergency Medical Expenses section of a policy.
If either of these claims were as a result of a pre-existing medical condition and you hadn't declared it to the insurance company, your potential claim would be declined and could end up costing you thousands of pounds.
You might think "It won't happen to me", but you also run the risk of not being covered for unrelated incidents. For example, if you broke your leg when on holiday, but an undisclosed condition made the treatment more complicated or expensive, an Insurer would be within their rights to dispute the validity of your claim.
It very much depends on the Insurer. Some Companies are explicit, that non declaration of medical conditions totally invalidates the policy and refuse to pay out for any claim whether related or not.
Others will only refuse to cover claims that are related to the condition, but as you can see from the example above it is a grey area, open to interpretation and fraught with danger.
The basic rating structure for travel insurance is fairly simple by Insurance Standards. It is the destination, number of days travelling (single trips), number of people on the policy, their ages and the level of cover required.
Trips to Europe are the cheapest to Insure and trips to the USA and Canada are generally the most expensive. Typically the older you are the more expensive the cost of travel insurance, although some Insurers do charge more for travellers under the age of 25. Insurers often provide a choice of three or four levels of cover; the more benefits provided the greater the cost.
Some Insurers will tell you the premium before underwriting any medical conditions, other companies will carry out all the underwriting before revealing the cost. Personally, I like to see the basic cost, so I know how much I am being charged extra to include medical conditions.
Underwriting medical conditions is much trickier, hence the disparity between the premiums that are charged. Take Asthma for example. You can be asked to answer anywhere from six to eighteen questions depending on the Insurer and the severity of your condition.
That's eighteen different answers depending on the individual that have to be taken into account when calculating any additional premium. Multiply this by over 2000 different medical disorders and you can appreciate underwriting medical conditions becomes extremely complicated.
Very simply that your doctor or medical practitioner can see no reason why flying or taking a trip abroad, would be detrimental to your health. If there is a chance that travelling abroad will exacerbate an existing condition or is likely to cause medical problems, the Insurers are not going to take the risk and will not cover you.
For long term illnesses this is generally recognised as there being no change in your medical condition or change in medication/hospital admission, for at least six months prior to your trip.
If you are unsure, you must visit your doctor, to discuss your journey and take his or her advice.
Most Insurers will charge an additional premium to cover pre-existing conditions, but as I have mentioned above, there are some who will cover minor ailments as standard and of course if you don't take medicine or have been treated for a condition, that falls, outside the Insurers requirements, you won't need to declare it and be charged an additional premium.
Pregnancy does not count as a pre-existing medical disorder and does not need to be declared to your Insurer.
Although the exact wording varies from Insurer to Insurer most will cover emergency medical expenses or cancellation costs that occur up to week 28 of your pregnancy (24 weeks for multiple births).
Some Insurers refuse to pay any claim after that date and others, only if there is an unforeseen complication connected to your pregnancy.
This is a list of the most common complications in pregnancy.
Toxaemia, Gestational diabetes, Gestational hypertension, Ectopic pregnancy, Post-partum haemorrhage, Pre-eclampsia, Molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole, Retained placenta membrane, Placental abruption, Hyperemesis gravidarum, Placenta praevia, Stillbirth, Miscarriage, Emergency Caesarean, A termination needed for medical reasons, Premature birth more than 12 weeks (or 16 weeks if you know you are having more than one baby) before the expected delivery date.
Remember to check with your doctor that there are no complications with your pregnancy and you are medically fit to travel.
How to use this table: Search for the policy by price, rating or name from the table below. Click on the right hand column to get more information and quote.