Hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers are jeopardising their insurance by failing to tell insurers of their medical conditions, according to research from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance. Over half a million Britons travelled abroad last year with a long-term medical complaint but did not inform their insurer, potentially invalidating any claim they may have needed to make.
Many travel insurance policies offer customers the opportunity to cover most medical conditions. Despite this, Sainsbury’s Finance estimates that 245,000 failed to inform their insurer despite suffering from severe back pain, 110,000 travelled abroad last year with a respiratory condition without informing their insurer, and 50,000 have gone on holiday abroad whilst keeping their insurer in the dark about their heart condition.
One in five who failed to notify their insurer did so as they had a long-standing condition that they did not consider relevant to reveal. Other reasons for not informing insurers of medical conditions included embarrassment about discussing medical conditions over the phone and the fear of being refused a policy. 340,000 people, equivalent to 8% of those who travelled abroad with a medical condition in the last 12 months, did so with no travel insurance whatsoever.
Scott Gorman of Sainsbury’s says, “Good travel insurance can prove vital if you fall ill abroad so it is really important that people are open and honest with their insurer. The costs of medical treatment abroad can be exceptionally high and simply omitting to give details of a pre-existing condition because you felt it wasn’t relevant could, in the event of an accident or further illness, prove very costly indeed. Those with common medical conditions should now be able to find a provider who will offer fair and competitive cover. For those with more serious medical conditions there are specialist insurers available. Choosing to ignore a condition and travel with potentially invalidated cover or no cover at all is simply reckless.”
Travel insurance: News update: 12 July 2010