After my diagnosis of PAD and CAD two years ago, I knew that I needed to let my travel insurer know about my new medical conditions. The travel insurance was a perk which came with my bank account. I was expecting to have a quick call and assumed that I would have to pay a little extra. Well that turned out to be naive in the extreme.
I was put through to the medical screening department and then had to answer detailed questions about my health and medication for over 20 minutes.
After holding on for an age, I was then told, the supplement for the annual policy for a 2-week trip was over £1,500.
This seemed to be excessive and I turned to the wide world web to see if there were any alternative insurers that may be able to help. There are several travel insurance companies that specialise in those with health issues. I found the agents to be understanding, helpful and the policies somewhat cheaper than the bank account insurance the cost was £185 for the year, excluding the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.
I have since learnt several things which I hope will be useful:
- Buy your travel insurance before you book your holiday so you are covered for cancellation
- Have all your health information, ready so that you can answer the questions
- Make the call when you have time to sit down & go through the process, at least 30 minutes
- The person on the line might be impersonal and uncaring. Truthfully, they are just asking questions and could be unaware of how they sound.
- Be 100% honest about your condition, your medication and any appointments you have
- Call them if your medication changes
- Call them if you are in any doubt if they need to know about an appointment
- Generally, insurers don’t like risk, so if you are waiting for results, you could find yourself uninsured for that condition, any other issues that come up or have it excluded from your policy
- If you book a holiday and you then have tests or appointments, you must let them know the results or they can withdraw the policy entirely even if it is unrelated to your chronic condition.
- Be flexible as to your destination, if the insurer really won’t cover a destination
- Use a broker if you are unsure (Association of British Insurers has a list)
- Check the policy very carefully
- Receiving your policy doesn’t mean you have been accepted for full cover in any circumstances. If you have to make a claim, insurers may dig into your details and failure to have disclosed a Material Fact could result in a genuine claim being reduced, or not paid at all
- Simply put, if in doubt; disclose it
This is the European Health Insurance Card which currently gives access to healthcare in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Regardless of what the future holds for the EHIC and Brexit, you should have travel insurance as there are limitations to the EHIC; for example, the scheme will not cover you being brought back to the UK and in some countries you may have to part pay for treatment.
The following is from the NHS website*:
“You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare when the UK leaves the EU if you're a UK national travelling to the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid if there's a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on arrangements with individual countries and might mean you need to pay for treatment in full.
The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.
If you're using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU or if your treatment started before exit day.”
Finally, enjoy your holiday!
It is all a bit annoying but well worth it when you arrive at your chosen destination for a lovely holiday, knowing that if something does go wrong you will be able to access healthcare and get home.