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Worldwide travel insurance : Exclusions and restrictions

The list of exclusions, limitations and restrictions on some worldwide travel insurance policies are very short, while on others they can go on for several pages. The better policies are very clear as to what is or what is not covered. Others are vague, so insurers have to interpret, usually to their advantage, what is or is not covered.

The age-old rule of 'you get what you pay for' applies: cheaper policies may have more restrictions and an insurer with a reputation for avoiding or reducing claims. But price is not a fair guide to this as some cheap policies are good while other expensive ones are poor on cover and service. It is worth checking how long the provider / insurer has been in the travel insurance business.

Why must pre-existing medical conditions be declared?

You must tell the insurer about these, because if you claim on the policy, insurers will ask your GP for your medical records, and if you have failed to declare a relevant condition your claim will probably be rejected. This could be an expensive mistake: an air ambulance alone can cost £15,000 from Spain and £35,000 from the USA.

While some insurers will exclude treatment for pre-existing conditions, many conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, are acceptable to insurers if you tell them in advance. You must tell your insurer if your medical condition changes after buying the policy.

There are companies which will offer will offer specialist cover to people with illnesses, even including cancer and HIV.

It is vital to disclose fully any information about existing or pre-existing conditions. Even if you had a problem a long time ago, you still need to disclose it. If you don’t the insurance company can rightly claim it was misinformed and may not pay out. If you have an annual or multi-trip policy, you need to provide an updated confirmation certificate from your GP each time you travel.

If you have a terminal illness or are unfit to travel, then travel insurance companies will not cover you. If you are travelling against the advice of a doctor, insurers will not pay any claims.

There are worldwide travel insurance specialists who can arrange insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.