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1.8 million travelling Brits put insurance at risk by not declaring medical conditions

6th July 2016 Print

One in 10 (12 per cent) Brits with a pre-existing medical condition are running the risk of invalidating their travel insurance policy by not declaring it, according to new insight from MoneySuperMarket.

Analysis found nearly half (45%) of holidaymakers have a pre-existing medical condition they are required to declare to their travel insurance provider, but only 85 per cent of these actually comply. This means the 12 per cent that have a condition but do not declare - equating to 1.8 million Brits - risk invalidating their policies and could typically face minimum bills of £3,500 in the event they need to make a claim while abroad. This is 70 times the original cost of an average premium for travellers with a pre-existing medical condition and means in total the UK’s under-insured travellers run the risk of having to fork out £6.4 billion. 

For those who didn’t inform their insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions, a third (33 per cent) didn’t declare in order to get a cheaper policy. A fifth (20 per cent) blamed the fact their insurer didn’t ask them and almost half (45 per cent) claimed their condition hadn’t caused them any issues lately. A further third (29 per cent) didn’t know they needed to tell their insurer.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “You should never head abroad without the right travel insurance policy in place and it’s important to make sure you’ve declared everything, including any medical conditions - even if your insurer hasn’t asked you specifically whether you have one. The danger is that, if you don’t tell your insurer, your policy will be invalid and you won’t be covered if you have an accident or fall ill while abroad.

“For example, if you suffered a heart attack but hadn’t declared a pre-existing condition and the fact you’re on medication, you might have to pay your own medical bills and repatriation costs, which could potentially run into tens of thousands of pounds for those travelling to Europe, or hundreds of thousands for longer-haul trips.

“Insurance is based on risk and the simple truth is customers with medical conditions are a higher risk than those without. So, naturally, premiums are higher for travellers with pre-existing conditions, even those that haven’t caused you any issues recently. However, the costs associated with finding yourself underinsured and in need of help abroad are much higher than the cost of the policy, so it’s always worth ensuring you are adequately protected.”