Millions of Brits daydreaming of sunbathing on the beach could be left unprotected by their travel insurance, due to tricky rules around what you do - and don't - need to disclose.
Research by price comparison website Medical Travel Compared suggests as many as four out of five Brits were wrong about which pre-existing medical conditions they have to reveal to travel insurers.
This development comes after a recent Which? investigation found travel insurance customers faced punitive premiums when they suffered ailments. But failing to disclose could leave you without protection if you fall ill again.
Which? looks at which part of your medical history you should declare when buying insurance for your break away.
You may already know that you need to disclose some illnesses and injuries before taking out an insurance policy. But do you really understand the ins and outs?
Medical Travel Compared asked one thousand people aged between 44 and 65 about the impact of pre-existing medical conditions when buying travel insurance, and the results showed how complicated the rules can be.
Many people believe you only need to disclose illnesses if you're currently taking medication for them. Only one in five of the people surveyed understood the need to disclose any illness or disease diagnosed or treated within the past two years, even relatively minor ailments.
And seven in ten didn't realise they needed to disclose any diagnosis of depression, however long in the past. Around the same number didn't know they had to disclose any diagnosis of cancer they'd ever suffered.
And 68% incorrectly said they wouldn't disclose a mild heart attack if it was over 15 years ago.
Given the confusion surrounding travel insurance, what illnesses do you need to disclose, and what can you keep to yourself?
If you're currently being treated or taking medication for a condition, you'll always need to disclose it.
A number of pre-existing medical conditions must also be revealed if they occurred within a certain time frame, normally two years.
As a general rule, these medical conditions must be disclosed before purchase, according to Medical Travel Compared:
Keep in mind that this may vary from provider to provider. Always check your terms and conditions thoroughly before taking out a policy, especially if you've been diagnosed with any of the above.
The Medical Travel Compared survey revealed that a third of people with a pre-existing condition said it was difficult to obtain travel insurance, while the same portion also found the costs too high after declaring previous illness or disease.
One in five decided not to travel because of the difficulty in getting travel insurance.
After a survey of 10,495 members with a medical condition in November last year, we found a quarter had faced inflated premiums, and a fifth could only find policies that excluded all claims related to their illness.
If you're having difficulty finding travel insurance with a high street insurer, you may find specialist providers will offer you a better deal.
Which? looked at the prices offered by specialist providers to identify some of the best value cover.
The table below shows the prices offered on single-trip policies which all include at least £2m for Europe, or £5m worldwide, of medical cover and a minimum of £1m of personal liability cover. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on your circumstances and health condition.
|Provider/policy name||High blood pressure||Diabetes||Breast cancer||Heart disease|
|Blue Bear Travel (gold)||£19||£19||£19||£67|
|Explorer Travel (platinum)||£41||£41||n/a||n/a|
When shopping around for travel insurance, you'll find yourself answering the same questions again and again.
This is because most insurers use medical screening software from a company called Verisk (formerly Healix) to generate a 'medical risk score'. What insurers then do with that score and charge is down to them.
But alternative screening systems may be more suitable in other cases.