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Travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

Medical cover is one of the most important parts of your travel insurance. When you go away, you don’t want a medical emergency to run up massive bills that aren’t covered by your policy. At InsureandGo, we offer a minimum of £5 million cover for medical expenses.

What is medical travel insurance?

At the very least, all travel insurance should cover some medical costs in the event of illness or injury. The cover can vary wildly from company to company, but this should be a major part of any travel insurance policy. What many people mean when they talk about specific medical travel insurance is usually a type of policy that’s able to take into consideration pre-existing medical conditions.

What are pre-existing medical conditions?

Pre-existing medical conditions describe any illness or condition that has occurred before you take out an insurance policy, ranging all the way from asthma to cancer. Your policy’s medical cover won’t always cover you for existing medical conditions as standard, however, and you’ll need to declare it when you buy your policy. Your condition may need to be covered specifically and there may be an extra cost for the cover. At InsureandGo, we’ll consider all pre-existing medical conditions and try to tailor a policy suited to your individual needs.

What medical conditions might incur extra costs?

Pre-existing medical conditions may mean we’ll need to ask you some questions about your conditions to see if we can cover them and if you’ll need to pay extra to cover them.

This may apply if you have any of the following:

  • Heart-related conditions
  • Blood circulatory conditions (e.g. high blood pressure or high cholesterol)
  • Diabetic conditions
  • Breathing conditions (e.g. asthma)
  • Mental health or psychiatric conditions (e.g. anxiety or depression)
  • A physical or mental disability
  • Neurological conditions (e.g. epilepsy or stroke)
  • Treatment and conditions related to cancer (usually within the last five years)
  • Conditions related to in-patient hospital treatment or surgery (usually within the last year)

How to declare your pre-existing medical conditions

When you get a quote for your travel insurance, you’ll be asked to provide information about your previous and current state of health. There are a few easy-to-answer questions that may then lead to a medical screening process where you’ll need to disclose pre-existing medical conditions including recurring illnesses or injuries, on-going or lifelong conditions, previous surgeries and any conditions you are currently suffering from.

This information will then be used to determine any extra premium (the amount of money you pay for your insurance), or a medical-related exclusion.

It’s essential you declare all pre-existing medical conditions before you buy your policy. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to cover you if you try to claim for something which is pre-existing that has not already been declared, or if you have chosen not to pay the premium to provide the correct cover.

View our policy documents for more information.

What’s not covered by medical travel insurance?

Not all pre-existing conditions may be covered by your travel insurance. Also, you may not be able to be covered if you make a claim that arises directly or indirectly as a result of one of the following scenarios:

  • If you’re receiving or waiting for medical tests or treatment for any medical condition or set of symptoms that have not been diagnosed
  • If you’re travelling against the advice of a medical practitioner or travelling to get medical treatment abroad
  • If you’ve been told you have a terminal condition

If you plan to travel while you’re currently undergoing a programme of chemotherapy for cancer, for example, you may not be covered for claims arising from your condition or the treatment of the condition, especially if your doctor has not declared you fit to travel.

If your condition isn’t included (perhaps if a medical exclusion is applied), you won’t be covered for any claims related to your pre-existing medical condition. In this instance, you must consider the risk of falling ill without travel insurance while you’re away from home.

What happens if my medical situation changes after I get my insurance?

Your policy could be affected if there’s a change in your medical condition. If you bought standard travel insurance and then you develop a medical condition, you’ll need to tell us about this change. In many circumstances, you may find your insurance is unaffected, but you must double-check first.

If you have a pre-existing condition and you buy an insurance policy that covers it, your insurance may extend to illnesses related to or arising from that condition. But no policy can cover every eventuality, so it’s not always clear whether your personal circumstances will be covered.

If you’ve got insurance with InsureandGo and your situation changes, you should contact us as soon as possible on 0330 400 1383.

Medical health cover in private healthcare countries

The USA has long been one of the safest and most popular holiday destinations for UK travellers, but just like anywhere else in the world, there’s always the chance that something unfortunate could happen. Taking out travel insurance to cover as many eventualities as you can is always a wise move.

What if I have to go to hospital in the USA?

Medical costs in the USA are famously expensive and foreign visitors don’t get free healthcare, even if you come from a country with a system like the NHS. Also bear in mind that A&E (or ER, as they call it in the USA) isn’t free either. So in an emergency situation the costs can rack up exponentially.

If you’re considering medical travel insurance, it’s sensible to explore your options for cancellation, repatriation and medical evacuation cover. It’s not unheard of for foreign visitors to return to their home country to seek more affordable healthcare if they suffer a misfortune on their travels.

Where can I get medicine if I’m ill?

The USA has a plentiful supply of pharmacies, except in some rural areas. As in the UK, you’ll require a prescription from a doctor to get certain medicines, but unlike the UK, there are some drugs that we buy over the counter that you’ll need a prescription for in the USA.

These include some contraceptives, antihistamines and sleeping pills. Other over-the-counter drugs are widely available. American pharmacists typically do not accept prescriptions from foreign countries, and prescription medication can be very expensive in the USA.

For more information, visit our United States page.

Tips for travelling with a medical condition

Prior to travelling

  • Always seek medical advice from your GP before booking your holiday.
  • Read up and also ask your local GP if you will need vaccinations prior to travelling.
  • Make sure you are stress-free with wheelchair assistance (if required), as well as making sure any special dietary requirements are noted and made aware of before travelling.
  • It is essential you research where you will be visiting to see where the nearest hospitals/ GPs are in case your condition could deteriorate suddenly.
  • Read up on your policy and be certain you will be covered for everything you require.

Taking care of your medication

  • When travelling it is vital you are organised with your medication and that you and those travelling with you know what to do in an emergency situation. Keep a doctor’s note to hand of all your medications and their doses.
    • Having this in your native language as well as a translated version could save time in an emergency. Just make doubly sure the translation in correct if you decide to do this.
  • Keep medications in their original packaging not in unmarked containers.
  • Store your medications safely, whether this is refrigerated or kept in safe packaging. (this may mean contacting the airline prior to your trip)
  • It’s always important to carry backup medication, in case you run out or it gets lost.
  • Be prepared that different countries have different names for medication.

Paracetamol is known as Acetaminophen in the United States, Japan, Canada, Venezuela, Columbia and Iran. There may be a local alternative to your medication that may be easier to obtain. Consult your GP before taking any alternative medications.

Lastly, before travelling check if your medication is allowed in another country, different rules and regulations apply for the type of medication and also the quantity.

Remember your EHIC

What is an EHIC? This is a medical card that can be used throughout the EU and Switzerland. (Used to be named the E111) This entitles you to free medical or reduced costs within the countries in the EEA.

However, the EHIC card does not entitle you to free private healthcare, and you may have little choice as to what is available should you need it. The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and does not cover the cost of repatriation if you need to be flown back to the UK due to accident or illness.

Should you have any questions regarding our travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our customer services team either online through our contact form or on the phone at 0330 400 1383.

Resources

Advice on medical travel insurance:

Travelling with prescription medication:

Travelling with medical conditions:

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