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All About Pre Existing Conditions

Sep 13, 2008
So you're getting global travel insurance, and you're up to the pre-existing conditions section. You're probably wondering whether you should declare and play it safe, or whether your predisposition to the sniffles is something to be brought to their notice. Hopefully this article will go some way to explaining the point of pre-existing condition surveys in global travel insurance, as well as explaining why you need to make it clear, and what is worth mentioning...

What are pre existing conditions?

When a travel insurance company offers you a policy, they consider the likelihood of you needing to claim on it. If you're doing something potentially dangerous, like skiing say, then you'll need a more expensive policy than someone planning on just seeing the sights of a city, because they're more likely to make a loss on you. Then of course there's the risk involved in covering the person going - certain people are more likely to have accidents than others. This is where pre-existing conditions come in. The idea is that people with, say heart complications, are more likely to need medical attention abroad than those who are as fit as a fiddle. It's worth mentioning too that you need to declare these even if you are on medication that keeps them under control - you never know when something may go wrong, and you'll need your global travel insurance company to foot the bill if the worst happens.

What happens if I keep them quiet?

Probably nothing... IF you don't need to make a claim! If you do need to, and it comes out that you neglected to mention your condition, the travel insurance company are well within their rights to refuse to pay the expense. Make sure you have it in writing that your condition is covered too - take no risks, and you should be fine.

What conditions are likely to be worthy of mention?

Anything that you are taking medication for, or that you have a family history of suffering is worth covering - and if you're in doubt, ask! The last thing you want to find is that your cheap travel insurance was worthless because the benign disease you've carried all of your life suddenly flares up in the sun!

Obviously some illnesses are going to send your premiums up, and these tend to be the ones that put you at a real risk: heart conditions, asthma, diabetes and allergies should be drawn to the insurers' attention. There are certain conditions that many cheap travel insurance companies will flat out refuse to cover: serious kidney problems, strokes, cancer and HIV sufferers are unlikely to find cover, but are doing themselves no favours by buying travel insurance without declaring - because their claim will be turned down anyway, should they need medical attention while abroad. The rule is that global travel insurance is designed to cover unpredictable emergencies, and not the usual protection you'd get in the UK - if you need cover of that kind, then you need to pay that bit extra.

So the lesson of this is that it's worth highlighting any serious conditions you have when ordering your cheap travel insurance, because if anything bad happens relating to the illness, then the policy may not be worth the paper it's written on! It may cost you a little extra by way of premiums, but as of many things in life, here honesty really is the best policy!
About the Author
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of Journey's Travel. Their commercial travel insurance website, Insuremore, offers cheap global travel insurance and offer a quick and easy online claims feature.
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