Pre-existing medical condition - Declare or not?

By: Keith Mcgregor

So why do insurers make such a song and dance about it? Well put simply, insurers argue that the medical cover provided by a travel insurancepolicy is there for emergency cover and is not a substitute for privatemedical insurance. There are specialist products on the market forprivate health care and all that travel insuranceis covering for is the unforeseen medical emergency that might occurwhilst on holiday and provide for hospital care in country andrepatriation if required.

Once back in the UK, patients can then use the NHS or individual private health care plan they may have in place. This allows travel insurancepolicies to have lower premiums than their private medical insuranceequivalent though these premiums do vary considerably by area visitedand the much higher medical costs in the USA will see North Americandestinations more costly than elsewhere.

What travel insurance medical cover does have in its favour thoughis the wide network of specialist medical assistance companies to callin when an emergency does occur. The big question will always be “willI be covered if I have a medical history and what does that meanexactly?" All policies have similar interpretations but you should readthe medical section of a policy before taking out that travel insurance.

A medical history of heart, kidney, respiratory conditions or cancershould be always declared and this may very well be expanded to themedical history of close family members and travelling companions. Thereason for this is to allow the insurance company to see what thepotential risk is of you cancelling or curtailing your trip or fallingill whilst abroad. An insurance provider may well decline you insuranceat this point or may offer to cover you for an additional premium ormay even insure you but void any subsequent claims if related to thedeclared condition. Certainly you will not be covered if you travelagainst the medical advice of your doctor and there will be strictrules on when you can travel if pregnant. So do you need to declare?Yes, you do though not all declarations will result in a higher premiumbut provided you have done so and the insurer has provided you coverArticle Search,then it will greatly simplify the process if you ever have to make aclaim.

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