Travel insurance premium painHigh costs for those with medical conditions

19 November 2011

Travel insurance

There is a 900% difference in price on policies covering those with medical conditions

Arranging travel cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition (PEMC) can be a struggle. Which? research has revealed a shocking difference of nearly 900% between the cheapest and the most expensive annual policy. 

We also found that some companies are charging three times their standard premium rates to customers with pre-existing conditions.

Nearly half of Which? members who have bought travel cover in the past year have a PEMC, rising to 61% for those aged 65 or over. So this is a common problem faced by our members.

Which? has also updated all our standard travel insurance Best Buys for those needing a single-trip policy or an annual policy for a forthcoming overseas visit.

Mind the price gap

If you have a PEMC, shopping around for travel cover could save you hundreds of pounds. We called a range of travel insurance providers to get quotes for a 70-year-old and a 50-year-old suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or a slipped disc.

For someone aged 70 with high blood pressure, the most expensive quote for a single-trip policy was more than seven times higher than the best price on offer. Companies such as Holidaysafe, Golfguard and Travel Insurance Medical will cover a two-week trip to Spain for £25 to £32. SportsCover Direct would charge £191 for similar cover, while Bupa’s premium rate was £88.

Cover for a 70-year-old with diabetes or a slipped disc saw the most expensive single-trip quotes provided being four times higher than the best offers. Holidaysafe (£25), Golfguard (£31) and Explorer Insurance (£36) were the most competitive companies for these scenarios.

Annual policy warning

For annual multi-trip policies the differences were even more extreme. A 50-year-old traveller with diabetes mellitus buying an annual worldwide policy could pay £37 with Holidaysafe, or nearly 10 times as much with Columbus Direct (£364). The second most expensive quote was from Now I Can Travel, at £215.

More on this...

  • Travel insurance Best Buys for European single trips - the best rates for a seven-day trip to Europe
  • Travel insurance Best Buys for European annual policies - choose an annual policy for trips in Europe
  • Travel insurance Best Buys for worldwide annual policies - low premium rates for an annual worldwide policy