Travellers paying a premium for medical coverHolidaymakers with pre-existing conditions could save £100s

18 May 2016


Cover for travellers with pre-existing conditions can be prohibitively expensive 

Holidaymakers with pre-existing medical conditions could be needlessly forking out hundreds of pounds on annual travel insurance, new Which? research has revealed.

Our investigation into ten leading insurers, which looked at the cost of cover for travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, revealed huge price differences for similar annual worldwide cover.

While gathering our quotes, we discovered a price difference of £327 between the cheapest and most expensive policies for a heart condition, and a £230 difference for those covering high blood pressure. 

The research highlights the importance of shopping around for the most suitable travel insurance, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.  

In our travel insurance reviews, we scrutinise 200 policies, combining our analysis with feedback from thousands of customers.

Find out more: best and worst travel insurance - the big providers rated 

Huge differences in premiums

To gather our quotes, we posed as a 55-year-old looking for an annual worldwide policy.  

High blood pressure is relatively easy to cover, although it can prove pricey. 50 Plus Insurance charges £268 for a 55-year-old holidaymaker with high blood pressure looking for an annual worldwide policy. However, we also discovered Holidaysafe can provide like-for-like cover for £43.54.

Buying cover if you have a heart condition can be more difficult and more expensive. A 55-year-old holidaymaker suffering with arrhythmia and angina would have to pay over £443 for annual cover with All Clear Gold, yet similar cover costs just £115 with Holidaysafe. 

The cover conundrum 

The research also revealed the difficulty in finding cover for holidaymakers with medical conditions, with only two providers - All Clear and Good to Go - able to offer annual worldwide cover for a traveller with breast cancer.

Separate Which? Money research into travel insurance for travellers with cancer, revealed that cover for a trip to Spain or the United States could end up costing double, due to expensive medical treatment. Premiums for a couple in their 60s travelling to the States cost more than £1,000 with some providers.

How to buy travel insurance if you’ve got pre-existing conditions

1. Check your bank account

Some packaged bank accounts come with travel insurance as a sweetener, so if you have a packaged account check whether cover is included. Review its terms carefully and make sure it meets your needs. Will it cover your medical conditions? If it doesn’t, call your bank to see if you can extend your policy.

2. Declare your medical conditions

Insurers will ask you about your medical history so they can set your premiums and cover you correctly. Any conditions your insurer doesn't know about will not be covered and you could end facing a massive medical bill if you fall ill abroad.

3. Talk to the specialists if you're still struggling to find cover

If you're struggling to find cover speak to the specialists. However, be aware that specialists can be more expensive.

4. Ask a broker for help

If you still can’t find cover, contact the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) for advice. BIBA will put you in touch with a local broker to help you find the travel insurance you need.

5. Remember your EHIC

A European Health Insurance card, which can be used in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, entitles you to treatment in state hospital at the same price as locals. Make sure you have it with you before you leave.

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