Travelling with a medical condition? Don’t forget to tell us everything!
From time to time we hear of difficult cases where people have been taken ill on holiday and have then faced huge hospital bills. More often than not it’s down to the fact that the person who was taken ill has failed to declare an existing condition and, as a result, their travel insurance company have refused to pay out, like in the story of a man from Port Talbot who is currently stuck in the Dominican Republic having fallen ill with gallstones.
It appears that the hospital have refused to allow him to leave until he pays a medical bill of a whopping £45,000. According to the story from ITN News, the hospital authorities have confiscated his passport, are refusing to let him leave and are still charging him £400 per day to remain at the hospital.
Why? Because he failed to declare the fact that he was receiving treatment for gallstones before he left to his travel insurance company. That meant they are refusing to cover the cost of his treatment because it was an undeclared existing condition and therefore not covered by his policy. That leaves his family desperately trying to raise the money to get him home and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office doing all they can to remedy the situation - despite stating very clearly that they “cannot pay bills or give you money from public funds” in their guide ‘Support for British nationals abroad: a summary’.
It is a very worrying situation for all concerned and highlights, once again, the need to declare medical conditions when you book your travel insurance. It might be tempting to keep your conditions to yourself to save a few pounds on the premium but it could well backfire and leave you in a terrible mess.
Here at World First we speak to customers every day who are surprised by the prices of our policies - even when they have declared all their conditions. That’s because we are medical travel insurance specialists and work with specialist underwriters who know how to assess the risks of thousands of medical conditions.
So if your travel insurance company gives you a quote that seems overly expensive to cover your conditions or refuses to cover your conditions, talk to us. The chances are that we will beat it – often by a long way!