Friday, December 23, 2011

Medical Travel Insurance - Avoid a financial nightmare

The subject of travel insurance is forever hitting the headlines with Brits travelling abroad only to find themselves stranded and out of pocket for failing to inform their insurer of any disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions. So what measures should you take to ensure you have sufficient cover?

Knowing what constitutes as a pre-existing medical condition generates a lot of confusion among holidaymakers. Many people are of the opinion, if their disability and medical conditions are well managed and cause no real disruption to daily living, this will be of low importance to the insurer and therefore, forget to mention them unless prompted. The reality is, most travel insurance policies will have exclusions in relation to medical conditions and if you fail to comply you could invalidate your policy, rendering it nothing but a worthless bit of paper. If you want to avoid any travel insurance shocks it's always wise to check the insurer's medical declaration to know exactly how you stand. The last thing you need during a holiday crisis is to find out your not covered for something you assumed would be. If you are getting quotes online, then navigate your way to the policy wording and read what the policy covers and more importantly what it does not!

When it comes to travel insurance there is a lot of variation in level of cover, excess and medical warranties and it would be wrong to assume all insurance companies operate on the same basis. When getting quotes, do compare the price against the level of cover you are getting for your money, this will help you make an informed decision on which policy best suits your needs and budget.

If you live with pre-existing medical conditions you may find mainstream travel insurance providers like banks, building societies and travel agents do not offer a product that can accommodate you fully. You can save yourself from alot of frustration by contacting a specialist insurer, they tend to be sympathetic, taking time to tailor policies to meet individual needs. Better still, because they have experience of insuring people with medical conditions the chances are, they will be medically aware and have a sound 24 hour medical assistance service that will respond if and when you need it. If you are physically disabled, these specialist companies can often offer cover for your mobility equipment and your care assistant in the event they become unwell on holiday and can no longer provide personal support.

You can acquire travel insurance online but be aware; the onus falls completely on the applicant to declare all the material facts and can be a little contentious. It may be easier to arrange disabled and medical travel insurance over the telephone and speak to a professional adviser, who will be responsible for informing you of the cover limits and your rights, plus these calls should be recorded protecting you in the event of a misquote. Tell your insurance provider if you take prescribed medication, require continuing medical supervision or have ever suffered from any strokes, respiratory, heart or cancerous conditions. If you don't declare medical conditions prior to travelling, it is unlikely you will be able to claim for holiday cancellation or any incurred medical expenses abroad if they are in any way related to past or present conditions.

Travel wisely folks, buy adequate insurance and hopefully you will never have to use it!

By: Victoria Moses
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