How many people travel abroad without the right cover?


When planning for a holiday, getting travel insurance is often the last thing on your mind. Why spend your time thinking about insurance when you could be making other more exciting holiday decisions, such as where to go while you’re away and what to pack?
No one has ever planned to get sick, robbed or have their flights cancelled while on holiday. None of these things are even worth thinking about. But if you don’t want to think about holiday plans going wrong, that’s all the more reason to protect yourself with the right travel insurance for medical conditions – just in case the worst happens.

How many holidaymakers travel without the right insurance?

Jetting off on holiday without the right travel insurance in place can mean putting yourself – and your family – at risk. That’s not something most people would choose to do, but research shows that plenty do, regardless.
According to research from ABTA, 38% of Brits travelled abroad without the right cover in 2017. That’s nearly ten million holidaymakers taking part in activities in other countries they were not covered for, not disclosing medical conditions to their insurance company, or travelling without any travel insurance at all.
Looking at these figures in a bit more depth reveals that 22% of those questioned admitted to having gone on holiday with no travel insurance in place. While 27% of holidaymakers risked having their insurance policy invalidated because they failed to tell their insurer about a pre-existing medical condition or took part in activities they weren’t covered for.
Speaking about these findings, Mark Tanzer, chief executive at ABTA said: “Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without sufficient travel insurance.”
He continued: “While many people are still choosing not to take out travel insurance at all, others are travelling unaware that their insurance policy is not protecting them as they expect.”

What happens if you don’t declare a medical condition?

When you have a pre-existing medical condition, finding quality travel insurance can be a challenge. From an insurer’s point of view, holidaymakers with medical conditions are seen as a bigger risk. The way the insurance company sees it, when someone has been ill they are more likely to need medical treatment while they are abroad.
However, from a traveller’s point of view this can mean they decide to either hide their existing conditions or skip getting travel insurance all together. As a result, more holidaymakers are putting themselves at risk in a bid to reduce costs.
However, this could turn out to be a false economy. By not declaring a pre-existing medical condition, people are in fact putting their whole policy at risk of invalidation. Incorrect information could lead to them not being able to make any claim for any situation. And that could, in turn, lead to a hefty hospital bill.
Guidelines from the Financial Ombudsman Service say that an insurer is within its rights to reject a claim that has nothing to do with a medical condition if they can prove that the policy would not have been issued if the condition had been disclosed.
And if you think the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will foot the bill if you fall ill abroad, think again.
According to Susan Crown from the FCO’s Travel Aware team: “The FCO cannot pay medical bills if you are hospitalised abroad nor can we fly you home. Make sure to take out an appropriate insurance policy and know what it covers.”
She continued: “It may feel like an added expense but the costs of not being insured could be many thousands of pounds.”
However, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s not all bad news. Holidaymakers with easy-to-manage conditions should not find buying travel insurance for medical conditions a challenge or too pricey.
Person walking through airport with suitcase

What happens if you don’t have travel insurance?

A common reason people do not get travel insurance is that they think their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will suffice. However, the EHIC only gives the cardholder access to state medical care. If you should fall seriously ill and need to be brought back to the UK by air ambulance, you will have to foot the bill yourself (at an extreme cost).
According to data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), 510,000 of UK travel insurance claims were made in 2017. After cancellations, medical claims were the second most frequent type of insurance claims, with 159,000 holidaymakers making claims.
Meanwhile, the average cost of a medical travel insurance claim is nearly £1,300 – a cost that’s about twice as much as non-medical claims.
Plus, if the UK leaves Europe without a deal, the EHIC may no longer be valid. Not having travel insurance before you go away is a real risk.

What medical conditions do I need to declare?

Getting the right travel insurance in place before you jet off is crucial – especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But what is that exactly? A pre-existing medical condition is anything you have received a diagnosis for or are prescribed medication for.
At Insurance Choice, we can arrange cover for most conditions, making sure you have the right cover for your travel needs.
Here are some of the medical conditions you need to declare when buying travel insurance.
·         Heart and respiratory conditions (e.g. heart disease, arrhythmia and asthma)
·         HIV and AIDS
·         Mental health conditions (e.g. stress, anxiety and depression)
·         Physical disabilities (e.g. paraplegic, quadriplegic and cerebral palsy)
·         History of stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack and angina
·         Motor Neurone Disease and other muscle wasting diseases
·         Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other progressive degenerative disorders
·         IBS, Crohn’s and/or coeliac disease
·         Diabetes type 1 and 2
·         Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and emphysema
·         Cancer
·         Haemophilia and other blood disorders
·         Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G
·         Liver and kidney conditions
·         Leukaemia
·         Allergies
·         Epilepsy
·         Multiple sclerosis

How can I make sure I have the right cover?

Getting specialist travel insurance for medical conditions will ensure you have protection tailored to your needs.
Insurance Choice is a specialist in travel insurance for medical conditions. We take the stress out of arranging travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions – leaving you free to plan everything else you need to organise for your holiday. Time to get packing!