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Difficulties Of Obtaining Travel Insurance If Suffering From Illness

Difficulties Of Obtaining Travel Insurance If Suffering From Illness

Insurers vary in their willingness to include pre-existing conditions in their policies. Christian Young, of the AA, says: ‘You can’t exclude just one medical condition nor cherry pick illnesses you declare. The option you’re given is to have cover at a price or not to have them covered.’

The AA assess each individual medical condition on its own terms and price their policies accordingly, if the condition is considered too much of an unknown quantity then the customer is referred to a specialist insurer. This process is also followed at Saga where a broad range of illnesses are covered, including cancer if the customer has been in remission for five years. Bradford and Bingley will require more information based not just on ailments but age and destination.

According to insurance website Dogtag a pre-existing medical condition is classed as: ‘Any past or current medical or psychological sickness, disease, condition, injury or symptom that has given rise to symptoms or for which any form of treatment or prescribed medication, medical consultation, investigation or follow-up/check-up has been required or received during the 2 years prior to the commencement of cover under this policy and/or prior to any trip.’ Also included are any cardiovascular or circulatory conditions such as strokes or aneurysms.

Travel insurance for certain conditions is more sensitive than others. Macmillan Cancer Support and the Royal Bank of Scotland launched their Recovered But Not Covered campaign last summer and are fighting an ongoing battle against what they see as discrimination against cancer sufferers. Macmillan claim that the exorbitant amounts that former cancer sufferers are being charged in insurance costs is out of all proportion to the risk that they pose the insurer.

Macmillan Cancer Support’s head of campaigns Ayesha Owusu-Barnaby says: ‘More people are living long and active lives after cancer, and that’s why Macmillan is calling on the travel insurance industry to look again at the risk posed by people affected by cancer and improve the deal offered to them.’ Research carried out by charity Cancerbackup backs up Macmillan’s grievances, stating that whilst 70% of cancer sufferers were given the all-clear to travel by their doctors the premiums offered were so high that one in ten had canceled their holiday and one in twenty had gone abroad but without any cover.

However, a spokesman for Norwich Union states that the cost involved in utilizing an air ambulance for a medical emergency could be up to £25,000; a figure hardly reflected by the typical cost of travel insurance, which comes in at under £100.

There are insurance companies out there that specialize in travel cover for cancer sufferers, such as Insure Cancer and P.J. Hayman’s Free Spirit policy. The excess is still higher than on policies for ‘healthy’ travelers but nowhere near as extreme as the amount that a lot of mainstream insurers will charge.