Travel insurance hope for holidaymakers with pre-existing medical conditions

15 July 2019

Millions of Brits currently have to purchase exclusions for a pre-existing medical condition, while thousands more are declined cover

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The financial regulator has launched a consultation on proposals designed to help consumers with pre-existing medical conditions have better access to travel insurance.

The consultation is seeking views on the introduction of a new ‘signposting’ rule for firms, which would provide consumers with details of insurers that cover consumers for pre-existing medical conditions.

Customers would have to be informed:

  • When cover is declined or cancelled mid-term due to a pre-existing medical condition.
  • When cover is offered with an exclusion for a pre-existing medical condition that cannot be removed.
  • Where a consumer is offered cover with an additional loading to their base premium due to their pre-existing medical condition.

The FCA will also be working with insurers to try to improve consumer understanding of the travel insurance market to help them understand the implications of travelling with exclusions and how medical costs in different countries can impact travel insurance premiums.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA says: “We want to reduce the numbers of consumers, who are currently faced with a choice of not travelling or travelling without insurance, and running the risk of incurring significant costs, including medical bills abroad.

“The changes proposed today will be an important step in helping people to navigate the market more easily and also in reducing the number of customers who are over-paying significantly for travel insurance.”

The FCA is consulting on the draft rules until 15 September 2019.

Thousands declined cover

Millions of Brits are having to purchase an exclusion for a pre-existing medical condition when they go on holiday each year, while thousands more are being declined cover.

The watchdog estimates there to be up to 14.1 million consumers with a pre-existing medical that look to purchase travel insurance each year.

Of these consumers, nearly 10,000 were turned down for cover, while 1.6 million purchased a policy with an exclusion for their condition.

Aashna Shroff, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, says: "Too many consumers end up taking the risk of travelling without insurance if they are unable to take out a policy due to a prior illness or injury, and, in some cases, even give up the idea of travelling altogether because they think they can't get the cover they need.

 "The reality is that you can get travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition, but not every insurer will cover you and those that do will charge you more because you are more likely to claim.

"This is why it is really important to shop around and compare policies to understand exactly what is covered and to make sure you are getting the best price possible."

Getting cover for a pre-existing condition

Finding travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition can be extremely difficult.

Older people can also struggle to get affordable insurance compared to younger travellers as they are more likely to be ill while abroad.

Insurance companies also see them as a greater risk as there is a greater chance they will have pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a pre-existing condition it is worth shopping around as there are insurance companies out there that may be able to offer you cover.

One option is to get quotes from a comparison site such as Compare The market, Gocompare or Moneysupermarket. Alternatively you could try a specialist comparison website such as Medical Travel Compared or All Clear Travel.

Some companies such as Saga, RIAS and Age Co that specifically cater for the over-50s do offer cover for some pre-existing medical conditions, but make sure you check the terms and conditions first.

If you are having trouble finding travel insurance or the quotes are too high you could try using an insurance broker. They can offer you advice and scour the market to find you the best deal.

Comments

OAPs with pre-existing conditions.

Although we have always managed to get reliable cover, we have NEVER had to make a claim based on our pre-existing conditions, just food poisoning! HOWEVER, insurance companies treat us as a captured market and just increase prices to whatever level they choose irrespective of zero changes to our pre-existing conditions, just exploiters!

OAPs with Pre-Existing Conditions - OR NOT!

I totally agree with the above comment that, Insurance Companies treat us as,
'A Captured Plumb Market to Exploit at Every Opportunity' It seems to be the 'Trend' of so many modern companies to isolate themselves from their customers reach by placing a set of ideal questions with their pet answers on a website or to make you dig like blazes to find a contact telephone number that turns out to be in India and you just get the 'run-round'
Very few, if any companies today have any recognition of their most valuable assets, 'The Customers'. It seems that the only, and prime incentive of all companies today is 'GREED'

Insurance existing condition

I have 'managed asthma' ... the question on insurance websites asks how many times in the last twelve months have I had hospital treatment... I've never been hospitalised because of my asthma... it's carefully managed and mild... that's not an option on the form though!

Travel Insurance

I don't see anything in the proposals that will make it "easier" to get travel insurance covering pre-existing conditions. I might make things "clearer" but is not going to change the minds of those companies that decline them. It is even possible that having to be more open might encourage more companies to opt out of this kind of cover altogether.
People who are cleared as fit to travel by their doctor should have the right to get insurance. albeit with a modest increase in premium.
I have pre-existing conditions which have been covered by a few companies but wonder how this will be now that I am over 70.. With brexit looming even travel in Europe will become more difficult

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