Phoebe Slim
Author: Phoebe Slim, Marketing Executive

Phoebe is a keen traveller, always looking to add to her list of cultural destinations.

Originally posted: 1st May 2019

Four in five Brits unaware what pre-existing medical conditions to declare

New research released today by specialist medical travel insurance comparison website, Medical Travel Compared, has revealed that only 21% of British travellers correctly identified that they need to disclose any illness or disease that they’ve been diagnosed with or treated for within a certain time period (usually within the last two years, but in some cases longer) when buying travel insurance.

Medical Travel Compared are a specialist travel insurance comparison site with a panel of over 40 insurance providers. As part of a quote application, customers are asked a series of questions relating to their health to determine whether or not they need to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. These medical history questions are representative of those asked by the wider travel insurance market.

Brits mistakenly believe that they only need to declare a condition they are taking medication for at the time of taking out insurance, however, in truth, holidaymakers may need to declare any illness or disease diagnosed, even if that condition is no longer present or if they are no longer taking medication for it.

The survey of 1,000 Brits identified the hidden medical conditions that most aren’t declaring to their travel insurance company prior to travel. A staggering 70% didn’t know that they must declare if they’ve ever been diagnosed with depression. A similar number (72%) were unaware they needed to disclose if they’ve ever suffered from any diagnosed cancerous condition – even if they’ve had the all-clear for ten years.

Almost three quarters (71%) were unaware they’d need to declare if they have been prescribed medication within two years for Irritable Bowel Disease, even if they’ve not suffered a flare-up in five years. 68% wrongly identified that they wouldn’t need to declare a mild heart attack which happened 15 years ago.

Whilst most conditions will only need to be declared if you’ve been diagnosed with, or received treatment (including repeat prescriptions) for the condition within a certain time period (usually 2 years), some conditions providers will usually need to know if you have ever suffered from them. These include any diagnosed heart, respiratory, circulatory, psychiatric or psychological and cancerous conditions.

Commenting on the findings, Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director of Medical Travel Compared, said: “Almost a third of the UK population suffer with a pre-existing medical condition, so it’s imperative to know what you must declare when purchasing your travel insurance to make sure you have the correct level of cover.”

“The research demonstrates that there is a lot of confusion about what medical conditions to declare in order to ensure you are fully covered by your travel insurance policy.  At Medical Travel Compared, we aim to help travellers compare the cover offered by different providers, so they have a clear understanding on what they are buying and can choose the most comprehensive policy at the best price, and can ensure they are covered should the worst happen.”

To further illustrate, here are some common conditions which would need to be declared prior to purchasing travel insurance:

  • Diagnosed heart-related conditions (i.e. heart attack, mild heart attack) – if you have ever suffered from any diagnosed heart conditions
  • Type 2 diabetes – if you have received treatment within two years or have been diagnosed within two years
  • Diagnosed pregnancy complications – although pregnancy itself would not need to be declared, any complications relating to the pregnancy may need to be
  • Epilepsy – if you have had a seizure which resulted in a visit to a medical practitioner or treatment within the last two years
  • Asthma – if you have ever suffered from any diagnosed respiratory condition
  • Parkinson’s disease – if you have been diagnosed or treated for early-onset Parkinson’s within two years
  • Arthritis – if you have ever suffered any diagnosed circulatory conditions
  • High blood pressure – if you have ever suffered from any diagnosed circulatory condition
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression - if you have ever suffered from diagnosed psychiatric or psychological conditions
  • Irritable Bowel Disease – if you have received diagnosis or treatment within two years for any diagnosed medical condition
  • Cancer – if you have ever suffered from any diagnosed cancerous conditions

Medical Travel Compared works with over 40 specialist providers to help travellers compare the best deals from providers offering comprehensive cover for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

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