New Medical Conditions
What you should do
What happens if you’ve already purchased your travel insurance (because you always get travel insurance when you book a trip, we hope...?) and are subsequently diagnosed with a new or different condition? What about if your regular medications are changed? Does this affect your travel insurance?
It most certainly can.
Full disclosure of pre-existing medical conditions is a key part of your travel insurance contract, and by not disclosing something, you can invalidate the policy, leaving you responsible for the payment of expensive medical bills.
A pre-existing medical condition is any condition, illness or disease that you have knowledge of before your departure – and that includes symptoms, so please don’t ignore those just because you haven’t had a final diagnosis yet. If there are test results pending, or if you’ve seen a healthcare professional about anything and are waiting for a follow-up or referral to a specialist, you absolutely must include this in the information that you provide.
Even if you receive a new diagnosis or visit a doctor with a new ailment the day before your departure or the GP changes your medications, it’s essential to contact your travel insurance provider and update your cover. Depending on your policy and the condition, this may not require an additional payment, and even if it does, putting yourself at risk simply isn’t worth saving a few quid.
Making sure you’re taken care of
Advising us of new conditions will enable us to provide the best possible care in case you are injured or take ill. This information can be invaluable to the doctors treating you wherever you are – and even more so if you’re on a cruise without access to full diagnostic facilities.
If we’re aware that you’ve recently experienced heart palpitations, for example, we can advise the team taking care of you on board a cruise to look out for cardio- and hypertension-related issues. They may very well provide different treatment or medication with this knowledge, and it could even save your life.
On longer cruises, during which there’s very limited access to the healthcare you’re used to, even the smallest ailments can become a big problem if they’re not treated correctly, and can ruin a large part of that cruise.
We’re sure you know by now because we remind you so often, but please remember that leaving out a pre- existing medical condition when you purchase travel insurance can cost you a lot of money.
Standard treatments that are provided by the NHS at home can be expensive or simply unavailable in a foreign country. If you tell us about these conditions before you depart, we can ensure that in case of an accident or illness, you’re taken to a facility that’s equipped to treat you properly, or that you’re brought back to the UK if the treatment you need isn’t available.
Either of those options can run into the thousands, and if your cover is invalidated because of non-disclosure of the relevant condition, you would be faced with astronomical bills on your recovery. Some foreign hospitals may even require payment up front before they treat you.
What to do
If you’re diagnosed or being tested for a new medical condition, contact the company or broker from whom you purchased the travel insurance – there should be contact details on your policy wording document.
- Don’t wait. Make sure you advise them as soon as possible.
- Ask your healthcare professional for a letter with details of the diagnosis, medication prescribed, and any other important information such as activity restrictions. - If you email or fax the letter and/or your updated information, call as well to ensure it has been received.
- Also ensure that you receive updated documents such as a revised Medical Declaration,
- Medical Letter and Policy Schedule, which include the new condition details.
- Keep these documents with you when you travel, and save important information such as emergency contact numbers to your mobile phone.
Last but not least, take care when you travel. New medical conditions can be unpredictable and require a little more attention. There’ll be new medication to get used to, maybe some adjustments to plans that included more strenuous exercise, or perhaps some new symptoms or discomfort to adjust to, so look after yourself, relax, and make your holiday an enjoyable one.
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