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Travel Insurance: Need-to-Know Essentials If You Have a Medical Condition

It is far from unusual for our hunger to travel the world to increase as we get older. Far from being a young person’s game, many people discover a new zest for adventure after they hit 50.

Why? For a number of different reasons. The new-found freedom of children growing up and leaving the nest often has something to do with it, as does retirement. The increased financial security of no longer having a dependent family, and perhaps finally paying off the mortgage after all those years, no doubt helps.

Perhaps there’s also an element of simply wanting to make the most of the time we’ve got left.

There are some downsides to planning travel as you get older, though. Time eventually catches up with the most young at heart and, as we clock up the years, the likelihood of developing any number of health conditions steadily increases.

As long as they are well managed and you are not significantly ill at the time of wanting to travel, there is generally no reason why a diagnosed medical condition should stop you exploring.

It just requires that bit more work in the planning – taking the right medications with you, getting the necessary doctor’s letters and prescriptions should you need assistance while abroad, perhaps speaking to your airline and accommodation provider about specific requirements around mobility or diet etc.

And then there is travel insurance. In some ways, the knock-on effect on travel insurance is one of the biggest inconveniences long-term medical conditions cause as far as your travel plans are concerned.

In short, it becomes harder to find the cover you need, and you may get quoted eye-watering prices in the process of shopping around. But never fear. Go to the right over 50s travel insurance specialist and you’ll find bespoke policies for a wide range of pre-existing medical conditions available.

Here’s what you need to know.

Standard medical cover is not designed for specific conditions

Every travel insurance policy includes what is known as medical cover. In fact, this is by some distance the most valuable part of a travel insurance policy.

What’s it for? If you fall ill or have an accident while abroad, you won’t automatically be entitled to whatever state subsidised healthcare is available. In that case, you will be expected to pay for any treatment at private rates. If you are poorly enough to require hospitalisation, you could end up facing an astronomical medical bill – many times more than a stay in the most luxurious five-star hotel.

Travel insurance policies include medical cover for this very reason – to save a holiday illness or accident turning into a financial nightmare. But, they are generally only intended for unforseen circumstances, like being struck down by a virus or injuring yourself in a fall.

What most insurers will not do is pay out on treatments for pre-existing medical conditions. That’s why you need to go to a specialist who offers bespoke cover for specific conditions.

Don’t be tempted to keep quiet about your condition

As many people looking for travel insurance when they have a medical condition discover, it can be a disheartening experience. Many mainstream insurers will either refuse to provide cover outright, or else charge a premium so high it makes you question whether you can still afford to go away.

Even so, never be tempted not to disclose your condition. You might think yours is well-managed and the chances of having to make a medical claim related to it are very slim. But that’s not the point. Non-disclosure will invalidate your entire policy.

If you ended up, say, getting hurt in an accident and made a claim, your insurance provider would look into your medical history. Even if the accident had nothing to do with your condition, they would refuse to pay out, arguing that if they had known about your background, the terms they sold you the policy on would have been different.

What you will need to disclose

Whereas general travel policies only provide medical cover for general (and emergency) medical interventions, condition-specific policies offered by specialist providers will pay out on any treatments required related to your ailment.

How do they decide on the right policy for you? You won’t have to go through anything like a medical exam, or even submit your medical records. It’s all done on voluntary disclosure, usually through a questionnaire.

Typically, you’ll be asked to tell your insurer about any diagnoses, symptoms, treatments, surgery or other interventions you have gone through in the past two years. If you’ve had a clean bill of health for longer than two years, there’s no need to share details of older conditions, unless it relates to your circulatory or cardiovascular system.

It is also important that you don’t try to travel against the advice of your doctor. So if you have any doubts about your fitness to go away, talk to your doctor before trying to buy travel insurance.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Lifetailored has partnered with Creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Lifetailored and Creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers Additional Disclosure: This site has affiliate links. We may be compensated when users make a purchase or register to a third party website. For more details read our privacy policy.

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