Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Originally posted: 17th May 2024

In the face of unforeseen events - lost luggage, medical emergencies, or trip cancellations - travellers can find solace in knowing they have a fallback, travel insurance. Nonetheless, the real advantage of this protective layer comes from a deep understanding of the declaration process, when buying travel insurance or filing a claim.

This guide delves deep into the critical aspects of insurance declaration. It is designed to assist frequent travellers, travel insurance policyholders, and holidaymakers in navigating the complexities of insurance declarations. By understanding and adhering to policy requirements, and accurately disclosing all necessary information, travellers can avoid unwelcome surprises and ensure that their safety net remains intact. Through this guide, we aim to empower travellers with knowledge, helping them to fully comprehend the intricacies of their travel insurance policies and enjoy their travels with confidence and assurance.

Why Is Travel Insurance Important and What Needs to Be Declared?

Navigating the complex and often confusing world of travel insurance can be a daunting task for many travellers. The importance of securing travel insurance before embarking on a journey cannot be overstated. Travel insurance is a critical safeguard that offers protection against a wide array of unforeseen travel mishaps. These mishaps can range from medical emergencies that require immediate attention, the inconvenience of lost or delayed luggage, to the frustration of trip cancellations or interruptions due to unexpected circumstances.

However, the effectiveness and reliability of this protection heavily depend on the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by the traveller at the time of purchase and when filing a claim. It is essential for travellers to thoroughly review their policies to ensure they understand the scope of cover, including what is and isn't covered. Additionally, being honest and precise when declaring pre-existing medical conditions, trip details, and the value of personal belongings can significantly impact the processing and outcome of claims.

Whilst travel insurance can be your best ally in addressing the unpredictable elements of travelling, its ability to fully serve your needs is closely tied to the diligence exercised during the purchase process and the claims filing procedure.

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What Do I Need to Declare When Buying Travel Insurance?

Holiday Details

When purchasing travel insurance, the first information you will be asked to disclose is information about your holiday. When your holiday starts, when it ends and where you will be going. This information is necessary to calculate your premium and understand the level of protection needed. Typically, travel insurance cover begins from the moment you leave your house, to the instance you return home.

When disclosing where you will be going, you must make sure that you list every country that you will be visiting. This should not include any countries where you stop over mid-flight - you only need to disclose the countries where you will be leaving the airport or stepping off your cruise ship.

You will also be asked what kind of travel insurance policy you would like to buy - whether you are after a Single Trip or an Annual Multi-Trip policy.

READ MORE: Policy Types

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Travelling Companions

When purchasing travel insurance, it's crucial to include your travel companions in your policy. A travel companion is someone accompanying you on your trip and listed on the same policy. Instead of having separate insurance policies for each person, you should cover all individuals travelling with you. Travel companions can be partners, family members, friends, or business colleagues.

By including your travel companions on your policy, you not only ensure they are covered but also unlock additional benefits for the entire group. For instance, if your trip needs to be cancelled or cut short due to illness and you make a claim, your companions listed on the policy can also claim for cancellation or curtailment. Conversely, if they had separate policies, they would not be eligible to claim in such scenarios.

READ MORE: Group Travel Insurance

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

You will then be asked some medical disclosure questions. These questions are used to help the insurance provider determine if you need to provide more information regarding your medical conditions. Additionally, the questions will help you understand what you need to disclose.

READ MORE: Which Medical Conditions Do I Need to Declare?

Certain conditions must be disclosed—if you or your travelling companions have ever been diagnosed with or treated for any of the following:

  • Cancer.
  • Respiratory Conditions.
  • Heart or Circulatory Conditions.
  • Stroke or TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack).
  • Psychological Conditions

Additionally, you will need to declare any medical conditions, whereby you or your travelling companions have, in the last two years, received any of the following:

  • Been prescribed medication.
  • Received treatment.
  • Received a consultation (with a doctor or hospital specialist).

Finally, you will then need to advise if you or your travelling companions:

  • Are on a waiting list for treatment or investigation for a diagnosed condition.
  • Have been given a terminal prognosis.

You will then be asked to disclose the conditions, where you have answered 'yes' to any of these questions, where you will be asked further questions that are specific to the condition. This will help the insurance providers to identify the severity of the condition.

READ MORE: Medical Screening Process

Disclosing pre-existing medical conditions when applying for insurance is crucial. Insurance providers rely on this information to accurately assess the risk associated with insuring an individual, which helps them determine the appropriate premium and cover for your policy. Without full disclosure, insurers might set premiums that do not accurately reflect the level of risk.

Moreover, failure to disclose such conditions can lead to serious consequences for policyholders, including the denial of claims related to these conditions. This could leave individuals facing significant out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment and services that they thought were covered. It's therefore essential for individuals to be transparent about their medical history to ensure they receive the protection they need and avoid potential disputes with insurance providers.

Cruise and Winter Sports Cover

If you're planning a holiday that includes thrilling activities like skiing, snowboarding, or any other winter sports, it's crucial to mention these when buying travel insurance. Typically, these high-risk activities are not covered under standard insurance policies due to the increased chance of injury. Consequently, they necessitate additional cover to ensure you're fully protected in case of any accidents or injuries on the slopes.

Likewise, if your holiday plans involve embarking on a cruise, it's imperative to inform your insurance provider about it. Cruising presents unique risks and challenges, such as medical emergencies while at sea, which might not be adequately covered under a regular insurance policy. By declaring this, you can secure a policy that specifically addresses and covers the potential risks associated with cruise travel, from minor mishaps to major medical situations, ensuring your peace of mind throughout your voyage.

READ MORE: Cruise Travel Insurance | Winter Sports Travel Insurance

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How Can I Avoid Common Mistakes When Declaring My Information?

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience when purchasing travel insurance, it's important to avoid common mistakes that travellers often make when disclosing their information. Here are some tips to help you navigate through this process successfully:

Be Honest and Accurate. When declaring your information, it's crucial to be truthful and precise. This includes providing accurate details about your trip, such as your destinations, length of stay, and purpose of travel. Additionally, it's important to be thorough and honest about your medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, medications you are taking, and recent health concerns. Being meticulous in these declarations not only ensures your safety but also helps in receiving appropriate assistance if needed.

Review Your Medical History. Consult your doctor, if necessary, to ensure all conditions are accurately reported and properly documented. It’s important to have a thorough discussion about any health issues that might affect your travel plans. Remember to take your time when answering the medical history questions, paying close attention to the details to ensure you answer them correctly for both you and your travelling companions. This diligence helps ensure you receive the most appropriate travel insurance for your upcoming adventure.

Understand Policy Definitions. Insurers often have specific definitions for "risky activities" or "pre-existing conditions." Make sure your declarations align with these definitions to avoid potential issues in the future. If you are uncertain about any aspect, it's a good idea to review your policy documents in detail. Additionally, don't hesitate to give your provider a call or send them an email for clarification. They have trained professionals who are more than willing to help you understand the terms and ensure that your policy meets your needs. Taking these steps can save you a lot of hassle and ensure you are adequately protected.

Update Your Insurer. If circumstances change after purchasing your policy (e.g., your medical health decreases, or you change your holiday duration/destination, or there are any significant changes in your travel plans), make sure you update your provider immediately. Failing to inform your provider about such changes could potentially affect your cover and claims. Always keep your insurance details current to ensure you are adequately protected.

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Accurately declaring all necessary information on your travel insurance is critical to ensure you are fully protected. By taking the time to carefully consider what needs to be disclosed, consulting with your insurer, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can enjoy your travels knowing that you're well-prepared for any eventualities. Always keep the mantra of travel insurance tips in mind: "When in doubt, declare it".

Following this guide will not only enhance your understanding of what to declare on your travel insurance but also ensure a smoother, worry-free travel experience. Whether you're a seasoned traveller or planning your first international getaway, remember that transparency with your travel insurance provider is your best policy.

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Single Trip insurance is for one-off, individual trips and will cover your specified travel dates. This is usually up to 45 days; however, some insurance providers can cover up to 94 days. If you’re not a frequent traveller, single trip cover is a great option and will likely be cheaper than an annual multi-trip cover.

If you travel 2 or more times a year, annual trip cover may very well save you money. The maximum duration of any trip will always be specified and will vary by provider. But don't worry, when you get a quote, we'll ask you what your maximum trip length is and only show you quotes that match!

A pre-existing is any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before applying for a travel insurance policy. For some conditions, we'll need to know if they have ever been present, whilst for others if they occurred within a certain period.

A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!

Yes. It’s important to declare any past or present medical conditions. Failing to do so could invalidate your travel insurance policy and you may not be covered in the event of a claim.
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