Travel insurance, pre-existing medical conditions and Brexit uncertainty
Please note: As the UK finally leaves the EU on 1 January 2021, there are changes to requirements for health insurance. Check government advice for latest guidance.
It’s tempting to believe that travel insurance is an optional extra when you’re fit and healthy. But as soon as you or your older relative develop chronic conditions that need long-term medication, travelling without insurance could cause expensive problems.
While many of us may know what and how we need in the way of travel insurance, the aftermath of Brexit could change everything, so it’s worth looking afresh at what’s available every time you buy single-trip or annual insurance for anyone with pre-existing medical conditions.
AllClear Travel Insurance is a specialist in travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and offers some tips.
Don’t rely on EHIC
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has been a great standby for European trips until now. But it shouldn’t be considered an alternative to travel insurance because it only provides access to the state healthcare available in any given country. This may not be the best care, and may well not be up to the standard that you expect from the UK’s NHS.
Importantly, it doesn’t cover repatriation in the case of serious ill health. Repatriation, even from Europe, can cost thousands, and if a doctor or nurse is needed as a companion, that cost can rocket.
Check what insurance will cover, where
Costs and cover can vary considerably by destination. For example, the high cost of medical treatment in the USA can be as much as $10,000 per night in hospital, so premiums will be high. Closer to home, the cost of private medical treatment in Spain is greater than anywhere else in Europe, so where you are going will make a difference.
There are various specialist sites are available to help you compare prices, including AllClear Travel, which focus on policies specifically designed to cover travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, together with their travelling companions, families and/or carers.
If you are travelling with others who have their own travel insurance policy, be aware that their insurance is unlikely to cover a cancellation due to your own medical condition. If you are worried about this, look at adding them to your own policy as travelling companions.
Declare all medical conditions
It’s essential your insurer understands your medical situation in order to provide comprehensive cover. Failing to declare all conditions may cost you more in the long run if you need to make a claim and it is rejected or only partially paid. If in doubt, mention it, even if that means making a call.
Consider what you need cover for
Consider what is important to you. You can save money on your premium by opting for a larger excess, or restricting activities you might not need, such as winter sports. If you’re booking at the last minute, you probably won’t need cancellation cover, so this can be omitted to lower costs.
Be wary of packaged bank account travel insurance
Cover within ‘bundled’ packages can look very attractive, but sadly may not cover pre-existing medical conditions. That means you may not be able to make claims related to your health. Check the details of your policy if you have one, and make sure you are happy with the level of cover provided, and that you have declared your medical conditions to the insurer.
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