2018 travel insurance initiatives for pre-existing medical condition holders

Specialist travel insurance for pre existing medical conditions

How many people, in the UK alone, are living with a long term health condition? According to the FCA, it's at least 15 millions of us. With a predicted rise to 18 million over the next 10 years. 

There's therefore a chance it's a topic affecting you or someone you know. The FCA has shared concerns that anyone with pre existing medical conditions might feel poorly served by the travel insurance industry or excluded, and they are looking into it. Find out how the changes likely to happen by 2019 could benefit you.

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What's happened with specialist travel insurance in the UK

Last year, the FCA commissioned a 'Call For Input'. A survey to you and me. They wanted to gather feedback on access to insurance. They asked a varied group of insurers (insurance middle men, comparison sites, charities and consumer groups) to comment on their experiences of buying travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions. Just under 1 in 4 adults in the UK have a physical or mental health condition(s) lasting 12 months or over. Whilst not everyone in this group finds it difficult to get travel insurance, there are still a significant number of consumers who might not be able to find an affordable quote or get cover.

The FCA published its findings last week (25th June 2018). It recommends significant changes and improvements that should benefit you if you have had cancer treatment, other physical or mental conditions, or if you are seeking insurance for your next holiday.

15 million people in the UK are living with a long term health condition

What are the main issues

The FCA have raised 3 key issues about travel insurance for people with pre existing medical conditions:

  • A lack of quality information on alternative options. What does that mean? At the moment, if you can't get a quote or your quote is too high you're back to square one each time. 
  • A lack of understanding amongst customers and firms. About insurance terms and risk factor considered when calculating premiums. A typical example of this is a recent case of an ex cancer patient who got quoted over £4K for his travel insurance, for a holiday abroad. An article that attracted plenty of comments as you can imagine....
  • A lack of transparency around pricing.

They have decided to work with a group of people from the industry to address these problems. Their aim is to create a more supportive environment if you are looking to buy travel insurance when you have, or have had, a medical condition. 

How the changes might affect you

Look out for clearer visual signs appearing on websites in particular that an insurer does offer policies to cancer patients (or other conditions). If they either can't offer a quote or give you offer a price that's far too high in your opinion, the idea is that they will refer you to someone in their network for a suitable quote. The FCA has stated that the pilot scheme for the changes would happen on travel insurance before being rolled out hopefully onto other products. 

Other benefits you might notice as a customer on the market for a travel insurance policy:

  • Better, clearer explanations about points including medical screenings and 121 tests or the impact of the destination/length of your holiday.
  • How to interpret "fit to travel".
  • What do your EHIC cards cover you for abroad (and how it might change following Brexit).
  • Highlighting exclusions at the start of policy documents, and writing policy documents in plainer language.
  • Other suggestions included providing examples of claims that would be excluded.

Will it be easier to get specialist medical insurance

It should be, if the text and products are described in a clearer and simpler manner, the option is given to you to be referred to a suitable travel insurance specialist and exclusions are highlighted  in a way that doesn't leave you with huge surprises if you need to make a claim. You can also always check ClaimScore for an insurer's reputation on their claim experience (how other people have found their insurer dealt with customer claims). 

What do you think?

Will changes above happen on time and make a difference in your view? What else could be introduced to make it easier to buy insurance for your next holiday if you have a pre-exisitng medical condition? Pop your comments below.

Latest changes in travel insurance with medical conditions


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