Simon Bentley
Author: Simon Bentley, Head Of Customer Interaction

Simon has over 15 years experience in the insurance industry and looks after our website, making sure our customers have the best experience possible!

Originally posted: 15th Jan 2019

How does destination impact the cost of travel insurance?

The destination in which you intend to travel will be reflected in the price of your travel insurance, and when you live with pre-existing medical conditions there are certain areas which can be more costly and even difficult to obtain cover for. This page provides information and things to consider when choosing your travel destination and applying for medical travel insurance.

It’s standard for travel insurance companies to base their prices from low to high according to the order of the following geographical categories:

1: UK
2: Europe
3: Worldwide Excluding USA, Canada and the Caribbean
4: Worldwide Including USA, Canada and the Caribbean

Of course there are other factors that impact on the cost of travel insurance apart from destination, such as length of time away and age, but typically UK and European destinations generate cheaper travel insurance premiums than the rest of the world.  With countries in Europe being closer to the UK, often flights and travel costs are lower, so if you need to claim for say cancellation, it will be a lesser amount than if you’re cancelling a flight to Australia, and therefore insurers charge less. 

Travel destinations and medical conditions

Even though destinations are grouped and priced based on the geographical categories shown above, the additional premium to cover pre-existing medical conditions is determined by your current health status and the type of health care system operated in the country you intend to visit. If a country operates a high level of privatised healthcare, it will cost more to receive medical treatment.

Insurers take the potential costs of treating your specific medical conditions into account, so you may find for instance, some countries in Europe may be more expensive than others to get cover for.

Below we detail how certain areas can affect the cost of your insurance if you have pre-existing medical conditions.

Spain, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Malta, Greece, Cyprus

These areas operate a high level of privatised healthcare so travel insurance tends to cost more to cover pre-existing medical conditions than other areas of Europe. That’s not to say you will not be able to access NHS equivalent treatment in these places, but if it’s an emergency you may not be given the choice. It’s also worth knowing that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cannot be used in private hospitals and treatment centres, making medical travel insurance essential!  If you have pre-existing medical conditions and have been declined cover for any of the above areas, try getting a quote for another area of Europe and you may have better success in being accepted for cover.

USA, Canada, Caribbean, China and Hong Kong

For people living with pre-existing medical conditions and those over the age of 60, these areas can be particularly tricky to get cover for. We at Medical Travel Compared urge people who want to travel to these areas to get quotes before booking a trip to avoid disappointment.  The reasons why travel insurance can be difficult and costly is all to do with the potential risk of claiming to receive expensive medical treatment whilst there.  The USA is notorious for its expensive medical bills! And although medical services in the Caribbean Islands may be cheaper, there is a strong possibility you will be flown to the USA should you become unwell and require advanced treatment. Repatriation back to the UK is extremely costly from these areas which also contributes to the higher insurance premiums. 

Travel insurance for Australia

You will be pleased to learn that a reciprocal healthcare agreement exists between Australia and the UK. This entitles British Citizens travelling on a UK passport to subsidised medical treatment from Medicare Australia. However, it doesn’t cover non urgent treatment or pre-existing medical conditions, which is why having adequate travel insurance in place when travelling to Australia is important. Travel insurance quotes for Australia tend to be more reasonable than USA, Canada, Caribbean, China and Hong Kong, and easier to get accepted for cover when you have pre-existing medical conditions, but be aware if you’re travelling to Australia and stopping via any of the higher rated areas mentioned, you will need to tell your insurer, which may increase your premium. Stopping  in areas such as Dubai or Singapore could keep your costs down!

Which Countries Do I Need Travel Insurance for?

Travel insurance is not compulsory everywhere – however there are some countries that do require you to be covered by a travel insurance policy in order to enter at the border, such as Belarus, Cuba, Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, & Switzerland.

Note: this information is subject to change in light of any sudden amendments to legislation concerning travel. Therefore, you should always check the Foreign Travel Advice sections on the GOV.UK website – or the tourist bureau for the country concerned.

Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to add each country that you are visiting. If you are on a flight stopover this will include any countries where you leave the airport. If you are on a cruise it includes any countries where your ship will be docking at.
Depending on whether you select European or Worldwide cover, your insurance provider will cover most countries within that area. However, there may be some countries that your insurance provider will be unable to cover you cover for, including any countries which the Foreign & Commonwealth Office have advised it is unsafe to travel to. Always check your policy wording if you are unsure if your country will be covered.
Single trip cover usually can cover you for up to 45 days, but a few providers may be able to cover you for up to 94 days. If you are getting annual trip cover, there will be a maximum amount of days that you are covered for any one trip, but we'll let you know what this is for your quote!
Most insurance providers will cover you for up to 45 days, however, there are a few who may be able to cover you for up to 94 days.
If you are taking out single trip cover, and have cancellation cover included, you'll be covered for cancellation from the moment you buy your policy. However, if you are taking out annual trip cover, and have cancellation cover included, you'll be covered from the start date of your policy. Consider starting your annual trip cover as soon as possible, especially if you have already booked your trip!
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!
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