It’s certainly not new news that holidaymakers can be left to foot hefty medical bills due to their travel insurer refusing to cover costs, but it is easily prevented. Emergency medical expenses are covered as standard under most travel insurance policies, however existing medical conditions do need to be declared and the risk assessed accordingly. In most cases, a premium is added to the policy to cover said conditions.

Emergency medical treatment, aftercare, hotel costs, returning flights home, repatriation and search and rescue costs will all be covered by your travel insurer, where medically necessary – provided you have completed the medical declaration fully and include all your medical conditions, even though you may think they don’t matter.. Some will even cover the cost of a relative or close friend to fly out and take care of you whilst you recover.

However, with some prices rocketing, due to the complexity of a traveller’s medical health, conditions are being left off the declaration. A risk that could cost an obscene amount of money – or even your life.

Excluding, or failing to declare your conditions doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose all medical expense privileges. If you require medical treatment and it is unrelated to an existing condition, the costs will be covered. The complications come when you require treatment which is related to an existing, undeclared, condition; whether that’s a direct relation, side effect of the condition or a side effect to medication or treatment. Should this happen, any associated costs may not be covered by your travel insurer.

Whilst many rely on the GHIC (formally known as the EHIC) to protect them on European holidays, it has its limitations. The cost of repatriation back to the UK, prescription medication and search and rescue services will not be covered. And without the right travel insurance in place – you will be left to pay the price.

To put things into perspective the cost of an air ambulance back to the UK from Europe is around €20,000, that’s not including treatment costs or a nurse escort.

So now we know why we need to declare our medical conditions, let’s talk about what we need to declare.

Regardless of the company you are insuring yourself with, the medical assessments are relatively generic across the board. There are five categories which fall under the ‘have you ever in your life time’ bracket: breathing conditions, heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, a stroke. You will also be asked if you have taken prescription medication in the past two years and also if you have seen a medical professional in the last two years.

Once you have completed the initial questions, you will be taken through a series of condition specific question to assess the risk. A number of factors are considered during this process; your condition, the country you are travelling to, the duration of your trip and the type of policy you are taking out. There are some travel insurance companies that like to ask more detailed questions about your condition to get a clearer idea of how your condition affects you on a day to day basis. They are also a few that will offer a one-to-one service to discuss your condition rather than completing an online form. These are usually branded as specialist medical travel insurers.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your travel insurance please do not hesitate to get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to help: