One of the things that people get unnecessarily confused about when thinking of purchasing single trip travel insurance is ‘pre-existing medical conditions’. |
In reality, this is a very simple situation and is easily explained.
A Little Philosophy
It’s not always well understood that one of the bedrock principles of insurance is that it exists to cover the possibility of bad things happening in the future. There may be a very few, highly specialised exceptions but generally speaking, you don’t take out an insurance policy to cover you for something that’s already happened in the past.
Just as you can’t take out motor insurance to cover an accident you had last week, you typically also can’t take out new single trip travel insurance today to reimburse you for the theft of your luggage during your last holiday.
The Link to Health
All insurance companies calculate their premium (the amount you pay for your policy) based upon what’s called ‘risk assessment’. That is the business of trying to understand just what the likelihood is that you will suffer a certain type of ‘problem’ when travelling abroad.
To take a trivial example, the chances of you picking up a tropical infection might be low to near non-existent if you’re planning to holiday in Sweden, but far higher if you’ve chosen to visit tropical Costa Rica. These are the sort of calculations companies apply when thinking about the risks associated with a given destination.
A related stream of risk assessment is included when thinking about you, as the insured party, irrespective of where you’re off to.
Let’s take another theoretical example – a policyholder who suffers from epilepsy. Of course everybody hopes that the problem is fully controlled but nevertheless, the chances of someone in that position suffering an attack resulting in the need for emergency medical attention will be very significantly higher than for someone who does not have such a history.
As a consequence, the risks for the policy provider are also higher. Essentially the person concerned is known to be suffering from a potential medical problem. It is known about and already exists even if it’s controlled with medication – it is not an illness that might arise in the future without any previous history.
Single trip travel insurance providers therefore normally require that you declare any pre-existing medical conditions so that they can use those to accurately calculate a premium.
A common urban myth is that if you do suffer from a pre-existing medical condition you won’t be able to secure single trip travel insurance. In fact, this is almost never the case.
If you declare that you are suffering from a medical condition, you may be asked to pay a higher premium. In other cases you might find that cover for the individual condition itself is subject to certain limitations. Another possibility is that cover for that particular condition is excluded altogether but it is highly unusual for cover to be refused overall because of a single pre-existing condition.
Different companies have different guidelines as to what they need to know about your medical past, so make sure you read the guidelines carefully and, if in doubt, declare a condition and let them decide if it’s relevant.
Broadly speaking, they’re likely to require you to stipulate conditions such as:
• Asthma • Coronary problems • Respiratory illnesses • Certain types of infection such as HIV • Epilepsy • Any recurring illnesses • Major surgery (e.g. bypasses) • Etc.
Don’t be tempted to ‘hide’ such a condition when taking out your policy. In the event of a claim if it comes to light it might invalidate your policy in total.
Just make sure you declare any such conditions openly and honestly to your provider of single trip travel insurance. The results may be far less worrying than you imagine!
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in single trip travel insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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