Medical travel insurance. What is it? Do you need it?
If you are among those who have had a bad experience trying to get travel insurance to cover your medical conditions, then you’ll understand that it can be a worry. Will the cost of it make going away too expensive? Will you be penalised for having common conditions? Will your family have to pay more because you have a medical condition?
Buying travel insurance can be frustrating. It’s one product you need but don’t want. And there are so many providers all seemingly offering the same thing. Or are they? Will it pay to shop around or go with your bank cover or something cheap from the telly? Can those kinds of policies cover what you really need?
In this blog post we aim to put the record straight. We’ll explain how medical travel insurance works and how we, at World First, can help you get the very best medical travel cover you need.
So what exactly is medical travel insurance?
It’s actually just a normal travel insurance policy but with extra cover added on for your medical conditions. And it’s important because it will ensure you are properly covered – and especially from those conditions you declare in your policy - when you travel.
What we define as a medical condition is anything that affects your health. It could be something that is seemingly trivial and doesn’t bother you on a day to day basis or something major that means you need constant medical care, medication and vigilance. It could be angina or cancer, pregnancy or depression.
Our social media man Tristan Rothwell, himself a sufferer of depression, recently wrote a blog post about travel insurance for people with depression that you may find handy if you have depression and are looking to travel.
Why do I need it? And why is it so important?
Medical travel insurance is vital. Why? Because when we cover you we need to know all the facts. So if you are ill or unwell when you are away we can cover it knowing everything about your medical history.
And the simple fact is that if you were abroad and became ill and needed treatment for a condition you already had but didn’t tell us about, our underwriters would refuse to pay your bills. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does the results can be devastating, especially when you consider how expensive it can be to be treated in Europe or the USA for seemingly simple conditions.
So don’t be annoyed with us when we ask you lots of questions about your medical history. We need the detail; to be able to offer you the right cover. We know it happens! But if we didn’t ask then we wouldn’t be doing our job properly and therefore wouldn’t be able to offer you the cover you need - so we can be there if or when you need us.
One thing we see often is people forgetting to declare conditions they have had for a long time and live with – so it’s off the radar. But they end up travelling uninsured as a result. Or, worse still, they end up cancelling their trip because of their undeclared condition and are unable to claim the cost back. This is awful and worth remembering.
We’ve also seen a rise in friends and family crowdfunding for friends who are stranded in a foreign hospital having incurred huge medical bills because they didn’t declare a previous illness.
Is medical travel cover going to cost a fortune?
Sometimes it is going to cost more, yes. Our premiums are worked out on the basis of risk. Having said that, you may well be surprised at how little some medical conditions can add to the cost of a policy. In many cases it’s just a few pounds. And we will never penalise anyone in your party or family who is travelling with you – because everybody screens individually.
Hypertension or high blood pressure, for example, is a common health problem, especially in older travellers, but it doesn’t always lead to a high premium. However, it must be screened.
What is a health screening?
Screening is simple. It’s not a full medical with a man in a white coat. It’s just a set of questions that we ask to gauge the severity of a health problem or illness. It doesn’t take very long, although this will depend on the severity of your condition or whether you have more than one health condition.
The screening system we use is called “Protectif”. It is based on the medication you take rather than the conditions you have and offers a much accurate assessment than a lot of other insurers are able to offer.
Why can’t you just give me a quote?
When it comes to medical conditions and health problems it’s not so straight forward that we can just give someone a quote. It is vital we ask the right questions to make sure you get the cover you need.
We do appreciate that going through screening can be a pain, but without it we wouldn’t be able to find out the facts and offer you a reasonable premium based on what we know. If we only had half the facts about a condition, then it’d be likely that your premiums would be higher anyway. And if we didn’t know about something you’d not be covered. So either way, you could lose out.
Over the phone or on the internet. Which is best for you?
We know that not everybody wants to go through all the questions online and that some people still prefer to speak to a real human. That’s okay. We understand. Just call us on 0345 90 80 161. We are open between 0900 and 1730 Monday to Friday and between 0930 and 1600 on Saturdays.
What health conditions will medical travel insurance cover?
At World First we offer comprehensive cover for thousands of medical conditions, from angina and cancer to HIV and heart disease. Thanks to our screening we are able to cover many conditions that other insurers won't. In fact, we often find people come to us because they have been refused cover elsewhere. Even if your condition is rare we can often help where other companies have been unable to.
So try us. We’ll get the right cover for you. And at a price that’s fair.