Having a medical condition such as diabetes, heart or respiratory problems, or even fighting cancer shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone being able to travel.
But unfortunately, that isn’t the reality for tens of thousands of people. And one stumbling block above all others stands out – finding affordable travel insurance.
The basic fact is, if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, you are going to have to pay more for travel insurance than you did previously. But what makes the situation so difficult is the wild fluctuation in prices from provider to provider.
People with health conditions are regularly quoted prices up to nine times higher than standard travel insurance policies. It’s far from uncommon for premiums to hit four figures – often making insurance more expensive than the actual holiday.
There are ways and means of finding medical travel insurance at affordable rates. The problem for so many travellers is it takes time and effort to track them down. If you don’t know where to look, you can waste hours wading through eye-watering quotations. You might even find a provider that previously offered you a decent deal suddenly puts the price up way beyond what you can afford.
It can all get very disheartening, very quickly.
The good news is that there are providers out there who specialise in travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Not only do they offer the fairest rates, they will actually give you the best protection by offering medical cover tailored to your particular condition.
Here’s what you need to know to track down the right policy for you quickly and without all the worry and hassle.
Why do some providers quote such high prices for medical travel insurance?
First of all, let’s take a moment to understand where those kinds of four-figure premiums come from – and why, if you have a medical condition, you are best off avoiding mainstream providers and comparison sites altogether.
One of the key things travel insurance covers is medical costs if you fall ill or have an accident while abroad. In most countries, foreign visitors are not entitled to state-subsidised healthcare. So if they do need treatment, they have to pay. If you end up needing hospital treatment, this can be very expensive. In cases where patients end up spending a lengthy period in hospital and then have to be flown home with assistance, it can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and more.
Of course, this would be enough to ruin most ordinary travellers financially. That’s a major reason to take out travel insurance. But it’s also a cost that insurance providers don’t want to be taking on too often. That’s why most restrict their medical cover to general emergency care. Or in other words, they don’t cover specific treatments related to specific conditions.
If you have a medical condition, this means you’re hit with a double whammy. First, insurers see you as a greater risk of needing emergency care. So they slap a huge premium on covering you.
Second, even at those sky-high prices, most won’t cover treatment related to your condition. So if you have, say, a bad turn related to your diabetes or heart problem, the cost of your hospital bed and emergency care will be covered. But you could still be asked to pay for any medication you receive.
The value of going direct to a provider who wants to know about your condition
If you’ve tried to buy travel insurance through a comparison site or similar, you’ll have come across the medical questionnaire forms you are asked to fill in. What did you notice about the amount of information you’re asked to provide? Not very much, is it?
One of the issues with mainstream providers covering medical conditions is they don’t treat you as an individual case. They will have a formula based on your condition and your age, and that will determine what you are charged. No consideration of your personal circumstances, your current state of health, how well your condition is managed.
That’s not the case with medical travel insurance specialists. On the contrary, they want to know about your condition, your medical history and your current state of health. They will ask you more questions, sure. But that’s so they can understand your circumstances better and offer you a policy that gives you the protection you need, at a fair price.
Ultimately, if you want to avoid going round in circles trying to find travel insurance without the stress of being quoted some truly shocking prices, the best advice is to steer clear of mainstream providers. Look up medical travel insurance specialists, go directly to their websites or give them a call, and see what they can do for you. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.