Holiday-goers fail to declare medical conditionsOlder Brits risk invalidating their travel cover
16 July 2010
The cost of not having adequate travel insurance has been highlighted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The British Behaviour Abroad report states that many older holidaymakers don't declare medical information when buying travel cover.
The cost of paying medical bills abroad can be extremely high, especially when on-going treatment and repatriation are required. The Association of British Insurers estimates medical bill payments on travel insurance reached £274 million in 2009.
Which? Best Buy travel insurance policies must offer a minimum of £2 million medical cover, but this would be void if the policyholder was found to have not declared a pre-existing medical condition that they were aware of. The FCO report highlighted the case of a man who suffered a major heart attack while visiting the USA. He had failed to declare a double bypass operation that he'd undergone 20 years previously. As a consequence his insurance was invalidated and he was forced to arrange a payment plan to clear the substantial medical bill.
The British Behaviour Abroad report also revealed that almost one in five visitors to foreign destinations go without any travel insurance. According to Which? insurance expert Dan Moore this too is a big mistake: 'Travel insurance is not prohibitively expensive, and the peace of mind it offers can be invaluable. No one should travel abroad without adequate travel insurance, and there's nothing to be gained by failing to declare any pre-existing medical conditions.
'If you don't come clean, and the worst happens, you won't be able to claim. If you do declare, it may just mean paying a small additional fee on your premium.'
For more information, read our expert Which? guide to travel money.
Which? Money when you need it
You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.
Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.
Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.