Advice on Travel Insurance PleaseBack to Forum
Anonymous4 Feb 2011
I just received a bit of a bombshell when submitting an insurance claim for disrupted travel last month – my insurer ceased providing travel insurance at all on 1 Jan 2011. Apparently it wrote to all policy holders, but I most certainly did not receive any letter.
Notwithstanding this, as I’m off to Valencia, Zurich and Sofia in coming weeks, I need to put new arrangements in place. I require Annual Cover, for myself, my wife and my son.
Having trawled the net, I have a problem. Since commencing cover with the previous insurer, I have been diagnosed with hypertension (probably as a result of reading Airpocket’s posts on here, no doubt) and am now on medication.
Whilst this was not a pre-existing condition in respect of my former insurer (it was diagnosed well after cover was commenced), it clearly is an issue now I’m seeking insurance elsewhere.
It appears that my only option is to take insurance that would exclude any circulatory or coronary-related incident being covered. As you can imagine, I’m not too keen on this.
Does anyone know of any other solution? I am prepared, obviously, to pay increased premiums for full cover, but don’t have the time to go through any medical screening or the like prior to my next foreign foray.
Many, many thanks in advance (“heartfelt” thanks, one might say!),
Simon4 Feb 2011
Good evening Simon,
I had a quick look at my policy terms for pre-existing conditions and, while I’m no legal or insurance buff, the wording of my policy would seem to meet your requirements:
Pre-existing Medical Condition(s)
Any condition for which you:
a) have attended a hospital as an in-patient in the last
b) are on a waiting list for an operation, consultation or
c) within the last three months, have commenced or changed
prescribed medication or treatment;
d) require a medical, surgical or psychiatric check-up every
12 months or more frequently;
e) have been given a terminal prognosis;
f) know of any reason whatsoever, which may necessitate
any trip to be cancelled or curtailed.
The policy I hold is a Annual Prestige Policy with American Express.
I would assume your diagnosis of hypertension required at most an out-patient visit to a hospital, if it wasn’t diagnosed by your GP. If the treatment you are taking for this condition started more than 3 months ago, this would also seem to cover you.
Hope this helps.4 Feb 2011
My advice would be rather than trawling through the internet, phone an IFA who specialises in general insurance. There are several companies who will insure people with the added risk factor.
The other check you can do, is look at your household insurance policy because some have very good travel policies as an add on. Again, they may provide cover, if you tell them the exactly what the score is.
There is a very fine line now that you have been diagnosed with hypertension and are on medication, against “non disclosure”. My advice would certainly be to disclose your hypertension and medication at the proposal stage and invite the travel insurers to obtain the medical history form your treating GP, if they require. That way there cannot be any dispute about whether you needed to disclose the illness and the onus is place firmly and squarely on the insurers.
Good luck and keep well.4 Feb 2011
I have to have a blood pressure check every 6 months, so that seems to fall within pre-existing in AMEX’s definition, unfortunately.
Just talked to one firm who are willing to insure me (and the family) for 12-months for around GBP 120 p.a., excluding my pre-existing, or I can take out an option at a further GBP 80 and that will cover me for the pre-existing.
From your advice, it looks like my best option.
Many thanks again for your kind advice.
PS Charles – my original insurer WAS my household and buildings insurer as well, alas. They just decided to stop doing travel insurance. The rats!4 Feb 2011
Sorry to hear about your blood pressure issues; hope your treatment and a new regime will help nip it in the bud.
In the meanwhile I would echo others’ assertions that calling a broker/IFA would be the course of action, although I would also consider going direct to people like AXA, which provides the American Express Centurion Card insurance, and which if you can get I would strongly recommend.
ALWAYS take the disclosure path; it just isn’t worth not being covered especially if you travel as much as we do.4 Feb 2011
Pleased to hear you can get you all insured. One interesting additional excercise is to check what your travel insurance is actually covering you for besides the medical side of things.
I concur with the other posters about the Amex Centurion cover, but be careful if you speak to Amex/Axa becasue there are different tiers to their cover.
The Centurion cover for black card holders is the highest, but there are diferent policies within the Amex/Axa range. One of the key differences is the amount they will cover you per trip. I dont have the actual figures to hand, but the range is somewhere between £6,000 to £12,000. With some family holidays costing in xs of 10k, it may be worth checking what else any policy actually covers.
Until travel insurance becomes regulated, the onus is on the buyer to find out what cover is being provided rather than the provider to openly disclose what cover is being bought.4 Feb 2011
Simon……do not know the details but Amex Platinum have certainly been good to me in the last year. Indeed theysettled my claim for the December trip before BA had even sent the corporate standard reply.
Good luck4 Feb 2011
Simon, I know, unlike Switzerland, private health cover in the UK is not the norm (no NHS in the land of the Gnomes!) but if perchance you have BUPA (as I do) or other private cover you will most likely find it also covers you while travelling. Your Amex etc will then be good for delays, baggage etc.
Get well soon and best wishes, LP.5 Feb 2011
Thanks VK, Binman, LP, Charles, Benji and Tim,
I’ve gone down the route outlined in my last post, so I’m now sorted at around GBP 200 per year, for any health issue. I’m very grateful for the advice.
I absolutely agree with you all about how critical disclosure is.
One thing that I have also heard is that the EU Reciprocal Care Card (the bit of plastic you carry in your pocket if you’re an EU citizen which should ensure you get free reciprocal medical attention) is almost useless in practice, as many health providers in the EU (public sector ones I mean) still expect you to pay up front and then claim back, rather than granting free health care at point of “sale.”
I don’t know how true this is – any comments, folks?
Regards and thanks, especially for your good wishes,
Simon5 Feb 2011
Travelers using Avios reward bookings may wish to consider using the travel insurance through the BA partner.
Uniquely (I believe), the policy specifically provides cover for the Avios points used for a booking, in the event of cancellation, subject of course to the policy terms and conditions.
If any one finds that their own travel policy provides similar cover, please do correct me.12 Jan 2012
SimonRowberry’s comments re the EU medical card are accurate. Here in Belgium they simply ignore it and ask for the money up front. The french are the same. The Germans will accept it for hospital treatment but not a local GP.12 Jan 2012
Sad to say but SimonRowberry’s right. The EU medical card is rather useless, many places still require you to pay upfront. Not to mention the paperwork for the claims..Which is why I usually get travel insurance whenever I fly. Amex in EU and US, and DBS in Asia. Never had problem with them.18 Apr 2012