Medical conditions double the cost of travel cover

People on a beachAs many as one in five Britons have pre-existing medical conditions that mean they often pay twice as much for travel insurance as those able to take out standard policies.

And as the size of the premium depends on the severity of the condition, travellers with major health problems can pay even more. Here, we investigate why that is and what you can do to keep costs down.

Why do people with pre-existing medical conditions pay so much more for cover?
Medical claims and emergencies abroad are one of the biggest costs to insurance companies, which is why people who have pre-existing conditions that increase the chances of them making a claim pay more for their cover.

As many companies avoid offering travel insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions, competition is also much less fierce, meaning that those who do offer cover can charge higher premiums.

People with health problems are not the only ones who pay more for travel insurance, though.

Older holiday makers are also often quoted much higher premiums – again because the number of insurers offering cover for travellers over the age of 65 is relatively small.

What happens if an insurer is not informed about a pre-existing condition?
Given the cost of travel cover, travellers with medical conditions may be tempted to withhold certain information in order to keep costs down.

However, failure to declare a medical condition to an insurer could result in any claims being rejected.

No matter how minor your condition, it is therefore always worth declaring it just to be sure that you are fully protected.

Otherwise, you could be forced to cover any medical costs yourself, which could leave you with a bill that far exceeds the cost of your trip.

It is not unusual, for example, for holiday makers unlucky enough to end up in hospital in the US to present insurers with claims amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.

Is there any way to reduce the cost without risking rejected claims?
There are ways to minimise the cost of travel insurance - even if you have a medical condition.

For example, it is often possible to slash the premium by agreeing to pay a higher excess towards any related medical claims.

Travel insurance experts also recommend opting for single trip cover, rather than an annual policy and using the internet to shop around for the best price.

Restricting your travels to places where medical care does not cost an arm and a leg can also help to keep the lid on your premiums. In this instance, the list of countries to avoid includes the US, Canada, Spain and Cyprus.

  • Do you have a pre-existing medical condition? Get a travel insurance quote here.
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