If you travel abroad and fail to inform your travel insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions you could be jeopardising your insurance as well as your finances, as you could find you are not covered.
New research from Sainsbury's Travel Insurance reveals that over the past 12 months, nearly 1.3 million people with pre-existing medical conditions travelled abroad but did not tell their travel insurers about their health issues.
Although insurers will assess the risk and apply a slightly higher premium, they will cover people for most medical conditions. Despite this, the research estimates that 267,000 people with heart problems travelled abroad over the past 12 months and did not tell their travel insurance companies about their condition. A further 206,000 people with respiratory conditions did the same, as did 149,000 cancer sufferers or those recovering from it. 500,000 people with medical conditions travelled abroad over the past 12 months with no travel insurance.
Cost and fear of refusal were two of the main reasons why people did not tell their travel insurers about their medical conditions, with 15% saying they feared they would be refused cover and a further 19% saying it was because they believed they would secure a cheaper premium.
Sam Marrs of Sainsbury's says: "The purpose of travel insurance is to ensure that if a disaster does strike, you will get the necessary care and support. Withholding key information such as any medical conditions could mean your cover may be invalidated and in the worst of cases, this could mean facing large hospital bills or arranging your own repatriation. It is important to be honest with your insurer and provide all the information they ask for. It is a fiercely competitive market so if you have a common medical condition there is a good chance you will find an insurer to cover you for a fair and competitive premium. For those with more serious medical conditions, there are specialist insurers available. It is not worth taking the risk and travelling with potentially invalid cover or no cover at all."
Sainsbury's Travel Insurance has an online and telephone based medical screening process that ensures travellers are charged premiums based on their particular medical conditions.
Travel insurance: News update: 15/04/2009