Travel insurance should be an essential consideration when you book your holiday, even more so if you suffer from a medical condition because medical bills can quickly add up if you fall ill whilst away. In this article, we provide a clear explanation of what a pre-existing condition is and exactly what medical travel insurance covers. We also provide a list of travel insurance providers that offer the best medical travel insurance policies for those that have pre-existing conditions.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Each travel insurance provider may have a different definition of what a pre-existing medical condition is, but the most common definitions of pre-existing conditions are as follows:
- Any serious medical condition you have had in your lifetime e.g respiratory problems or cancer
- Any condition that you have seen a doctor for or received treatment for in the past 12 months (for some providers this may extend to 24 months)
- Any medical condition where you are awaiting test results or an operation
When getting a quote for travel insurance it is imperative that you declare all pre-existing medical conditions, including any medication that you may have to take. Not doing so may mean that you are not covered when it comes to making a claim.
Is pregnancy considered a pre-existing condition?
In most instances, pregnancy is not considered a pre-existing condition and so you do not have to declare it to your insurer. However, if you develop any pregnancy-related condition such as gestational diabetes, this would need to be declared to your insurer to ensure that you are covered. We cover pregnancy and travel insurance in more detail in our article, 'Does travel insurance cover pregnancy?'
Can I get travel insurance for pre-existing conditions?
It is possible to get a quote from a range of providers for medical travel insurance but if you have a serious condition, a travel insurance provider may wish to exclude that condition. Some travel insurance providers such as Staysure offer an online medical screening process that allows you to see if your medical condition will be covered by the insurer whilst requesting a quote. Some insurers, such as Direct Line travel insurance say that they will consider "most medical conditions" but you will have to call them to discuss your quote.
MoneyHelper has put together a helpful directory for those that are finding it difficult to get medical insurance that covers their medical condition. The MoneyHelper directory points you towards FCA regulated medical travel insurance providers and is useful for those who have had medical travel insurance cancelled or refused due to a medical condition. It can also help if you have been offered insurance with your medical condition excluded or if it has been included in the policy but with a higher premium applied as a result.
Do I have to declare pre-existing conditions on travel insurance?
Yes, it is essential that you declare all pre-existing conditions on your travel insurance policy. This is because not doing so could prevent a claim from being paid. If you are unsure as to whether something is considered a 'pre-existing condition' it is best to contact the travel insurance provider to clarify.
If you travel against the advice of a doctor it is unlikely that you will be covered if you need to make a claim.
What does medical travel insurance cover?
Medical travel insurance offers the same cover as regular travel insurance but also covers any claims related to an existing medical condition. Because you are insuring a pre-existing condition this can make your travel insurance more expensive so it is worth getting quotes from a few different providers. A typical travel insurance policy will include cover for cancellation, emergency medical expenses and lost baggage. However, exactly what cover you can expect will vary depending on the provider. We compare some of the best travel insurance providers in our article, 'The best travel insurance providers in the UK - 2022'.
What travel insurance providers cover pre-existing conditions?
As mentioned throughout this article, MoneyHelper has a useful directory of specialist travel insurance companies that cover pre-existing medical conditions. It is worth noting that there are some mainstream providers that also cover pre-existing medical conditions and we compare some of these providers in the below comparison table. Other medical travel insurance providers can also be compared using comparison sites such as Compare the Market* or MoneySuperMarket*.
Travel insurance providers that cover pre-existing conditions
|All clear travel||Avanti||Post Office||Staysure|
|Policy excess||£0-£500||£0 - £150||£50-£125||£65-£100|
|Maximum emergency medical cover||£15m||Unlimited||£10m||Unlimited|
|Pre-existing condition cover|
|Cancellation cover (policy dependant)||Up to £25,000 (optional extra)||Up to £7,500||£5,000||£5,000|
|Upper age limit (restrictions may apply)|
|Defaqto rating||5 and 3 star rated policies||5, 4 and 1 star rated policies||5, 4, 3 and 2 star rated policies||5 and 3 star rated policies|
How to buy pre-existing condition travel insurance
One of the quickest ways to buy travel insurance is via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket*. This is because you can quickly and easily compare multiple medical travel insurance providers to find the best one for your trip. You can also get travel insurance quotes from providers directly or you may have travel insurance included in a packaged account deal with your bank.
When taking out travel insurance make sure that you check the policy documents carefully to ensure you have the appropriate cover.
How to reduce the cost of pre-existing condition travel insurance
If you have pre-existing medical conditions the cost of your travel insurance policy is likely to be higher than that of someone who does not have any pre-existing medical conditions. However, it may be possible to reduce the cost of your medical travel insurance policy some of which we list below:
Shop around for the best deal on your travel insurance by using a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market*. Comparison sites allow you to compare the cost of multiple travel insurance policies and some even allow you to enter the details of your pre-existing condition so that you can find policies that cover your specific medical condition. You can also shop around directly amongst travel insurance as some do not show up on comparison sites. Direct Line is a good example.
Increase policy excess
If you increase the policy excess that you choose to pay on your travel insurance, it is likely that you will see a reduction in the cost of your premiums. Just remember that this is the amount that you will be expected to pay if you need to make a claim so make sure that it is still affordable.
Choose the right policy type
It is important that you choose the right policy and doing so could save you money. For example, an annual 'multi-trip' policy can be cheaper if you are going away multiple times a year. You may also wish to choose a group or family policy to insure each member on one policy. If considering a group policy, however, a pre-existing condition could make the insurance more expensive overall and so separate policies could actually work out cheaper and so it is worth looking at both options. In any event, if you end up buying separate policies make sure that you check the policy terms and conditions thoroughly so that you know what is and isn't covered.
What to do if you are struggling to get medical travel insurance
If you are struggling to get reasonably priced quotes for travel insurance or if you can't find travel insurance that will cover your pre-existing medical condition visit MoneyHelper's travel insurance directory. The directory lists a number of insurers that specialise in pre-existing conditions and can be particularly useful if you have experienced any of the following:
- Higher travel insurance premiums as a result of your medical condition
- You've been offered travel insurance but exclusion of cover for your pre-existing condition
- Refusal of travel insurance due to your pre-existing condition
- Cancellation or amendments to existing travel insurance due to your pre-existing condition
It is also worth comparing multiple providers to see which has the cheapest quote as each provider will have a different risk level for each pre-existing condition. You may also wish to consider getting quotes from mainstream travel insurance policies to compare the varying costs of cover.
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