Do I need to declare my medical conditions for travel insurance?
The main headline here being….. If you don’t, it may make your travel insurance policy invalid (in full or in part!). If the worst happens and an insured person gets injured or sick while on holiday, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your insurance coverage.
Research by 'Medical Travel Compared' suggests that as many as 4 out of 5 travelling Brits were incorrect about which pre-existing medical conditions they have to disclose to their insurer. One of the main misunderstandings was how far back in their history the insured person needed to disclose their medical conditions.
What do you mean by invalid in full?
The insurer will reject any claim, even if the medical condition had no impact on the claim itself. i.e. if you wanted to claim for delayed personal belongings, but had not disclosed an insured's medical condition. An insurer would likely reject the claim even though their medical condition had absolute no impact or relevance to the claim being made. To make matters worse, the insurer may keep the insurance premium you paid when purchasing the policy. Another reason it is incredibly important to be truthful with your insurer and clear on what and how far back you need to go in disclosing any medical conditions. Rules may be slightly different between insurers so always make sure you check with your chosen insurance provider. Your insurance provider may not always ask for an additional premium to cover any pre-existing medical conditions, but you must tell them so you're not running the risk of not being covered.
What does invalid in part mean?
An insurer may decide that any claim where the insured's medical conditions is relevant to the claim would be rejected. If the claim was unrelated to the pre-existing medical condition the insurer may decide to accept and pay out these claims. If we use the example I mentioned above, the insurer would pay out the delayed personal belongings claim as the insured's medical condition is of no importance in this type of claim.
What sort of things should I be disclosing to my insurer?
You may need to disclose any medical conditions you have or have previously had, and also record if anyone in the travelling party you are insuring are taking medication, receiving treatment or consulting a doctor or hospital specialist for any condition in the last 2 or more years. This may not be the case with all providers so again, this is worth double checking. To be absolutely clear, this also includes mental health conditions you may have suffered from.
Do all insurers cover all medical conditions?
No. Disclosing your medical conditions to the insurer doesn't mean they'll be automatically be covered should a complication or reoccurrence crop up. Some insurers will decline cover for your medical conditions - it depends on their risk appetite towards travellers with certain histories.