A blog on the website sprytimes gives an excellent reminder:
“Cosmetic surgery is a growing market. More and more men and women are opting for a nip and tuck to delay the aging process. Procedures such as breast implants, face lifts and tummy tucks are an expensive indulgence, which some people cannot live without. This is why it is becoming more popular to travel abroad for these procedures, where they are cheaper. But what does this mean for their travel insurance?
“Breast surgery is the most common procedure, which would cost you around £4500 to go private in the UK. If you were to go to any other country in Europe, the price of this procedure would near enough halve. Prices for face-lifts, liposuction and laser eye treatment are all cheaper in Europe as well, again sometimes being half the price. With such huge price differences, it is understandable why more people are opting to travel out of the UK for medical treatment.
“More than 126,000 British people travel abroad for medical treatment each year, and shockingly, only one third of those bother to check whether their travel insurance will cover them if something goes wrong with their surgery. If you are travelling to get cosmetic surgery it is imperative that you state what the purpose of your trip is, otherwise your policy will be a waste of money. Don't be tempted to overlook this when organising travel insurance.”
Unfortunately, it also says:
“For those who do not check, the majority of providers will not pay out on claims made related to surgery. Claims can still be made on lost baggage or cancelled and delayed flights. Few insurers provide cover for a trip specifically for medical purposes. Those few companies who do, obviously charge more for your cover, as you are a higher risk than other travellers.”
The truth is different:
No normal travel insurer will pay out on claims related to surgery.
Few insurers will pay baggage and other claims if the purpose of the trip is cosmetic surgery or medical treatment.
It is a waste of time searching for normal travel insurers who will cover your trip. Even if the travel agent or sales person says “of course it makes no difference”, if you are unfortunate enough to have a claim - the specialist claims company will look at the letter of the policy and pay no heed to any telephone or face to face conversation. Unless there is written evidence that the insurance underwriters have agreed to cover your trip for cosmetic surgery or medical treatment, insurers are entitled to refuse to pay claims on any section of your policy.
For details and a list of specialist travel policies that will cover you – see our medical travel section.
Medical travel health insurance: News update: 19/05/2009