Senior citizens often have trouble obtaining travel insurance, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions - says Peter Stubbs of Worldwide Travel Plan.
Many insurance policies provide travel cover, but totally exclude any problems resulting from the medical conditions, leaving travellers high and dry in an emergency. This problem has been exacerbated in the current climate of cut-price supermarket travel insurance.
Any condition which is being treated by a doctor or medically qualified person, or for which the traveller takes prescribed drugs could be an exclusion risk. It is vital when booking travel insurance to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. Without disclosure any medical conditions may not be covered. If in doubt, the traveller should always disclose the information. If the condition requires medical treatment whilst on holiday, then the patient may be left in debt for the full amount of the treatment.
Many travellers simply do not know they should discuss their medical history with the travel insurers. The cheap and not so cheerful cut-price sellers are not proactive in informing travellers of the exclusions. Policies are sold and bought purely on their price point, with no questions as to their suitability. Often the question of medical problems is simply ignored by both buyer and seller.
The main danger occurs when travel insurance is sold with medical conditions excluded from the cover in the small print. The traveller may assume they are covered and only discover they are not when the unthinkable happens. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they are fully covered.
In 2005 a major insurer refused to cover a man from Wirral taken ill with hypertension whilst on holiday in the USA. The man had not disclosed the medical condition when taking out the insurance and was therefore not covered. Thus the medical bill was over £50,000.
The best option when booking travel insurance is to speak to dedicated travel insurance providers.
Peter Stubbs adds, “You cannot expect a young person trained to deal with faulty goods and out-of-date milk in a supermarket to understand the nuances of travel insurance. They simply cannot give you the correct advice.”
Travel insurance: News update: April 2007