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Confusion over disclosure of pre existing medical conditions when buying travel insurance

01 December 2010 16:18

Confusion over disclosure of pre existing medical conditions when buying travel insurance

Travel insurance specialist, World First Travel Insurance, is warning the public of confusion over the disclosure of pre existing conditions when buying medical travel insurance policies.

When looking for travel insurance quotes, people are required to disclose any pre existing medical conditions to ensure they are provided with the right level of cover. Every insurer has different standard terms for this, with some asking for any medical history in the past five years and others, like World First, asking only for the past 12 months.

All insurers will ask different questions, with the answers that are provided being used to determine the level of risk the travellers may pose and the premium they will need to pay. With more and more people shopping around for the best deals they may find that they are have to provide very different information to each insurer, making it difficult to accurately compare their quotes.

Some people are being caught out by only disclosing the past 12 months' history, when in reality their insurers require information on any medical history or conditions from the past five years. This had led to some people finding they are not covered for any treatment when on holiday, as they had a related medical condition two or three years earlier which had not been disclosed.

People may also find that the cost of their travel insurance policy is excessively high, despite not suffering from any medical conditions for four years, simply due to the fact that five years worth of history is required. If you are shopping around and getting different quotes its worth comparing policy types and cover levels, if you travel frequently then a cheap annual travel insurance policy might be more cost effective in the long-term.

When purchasing travel insurance, whether it be a single or annual multi trip policy, a number of questions will be asked, either over the phone or via an online form. These questions are designed to determine whether an individual requires medical screening. The questions are linked to the terms and conditions of the policy – the definition of what is considered to be a pre-existing medical condition.

People are being advised to check with their insurers to clarify exactly how much of their medical history they have to disclose so that they can be confident their policy covers them should anything happen.

A number of online insurers rely on tick boxes to say that the person taking out the policy has read the terms and conditions. World First is warning that often, human nature when it comes to buying anything online is to simply tick the box without reading what is being linked to, but when it comes to travel insurance people could be agreeing that they do not have any pre existing medical conditions and that they don’t need to declare anything.

Managing Partner of World First Travel Insurance, Martin Rothwell says: "If you want to be covered for a pre-existing medical condition then you'll need to tell us about anything which has been suffered or for which medication, advice or treatment has been received in the last 12 months. This applies to all members of your party and includes investigations or reviews (routine or otherwise), longstanding conditions, surgery, as well as injuries which may be exacerbated by the activity/trip you propose to undertake.

"It's crucial to look at what insurers consider to be a pre-existing medical condition and ensure you fully declare everything, for all members of the party for the time period required. It's also essential to make sure you read all the terms and conditions before you buy, or as soon as you receive your documentation to make sure you are fully covered."