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Travel Insurance Explained


Many people choose to travel for one of three reasons; to escape reality, to discover new things or to find themselves. Whilst the journey can be exhilarating, the planning can be anything but – particularly if you have a medical condition or disability. The travel insurance industry as a whole has recognised the need for clearer signposting for people who have a medical condition or impairment and are already taking steps to tackle the problem. For example, many conditions, once considered to be uninsurable, are now being accepted, often at lower than expected premiums.

Specialist travel insurance providers are now using technology to enable them to assess the potential risks that might be posed by a traveller with a medical condition or disability. Some insures use a rating tool that looks at the medications a person is taking, while others use one that analysis the actual medical condition. There are pro’s and con’s to both systems. However, applicants often find that the medication led system, which allows a customer to complete an in-depth declaration and confirm how their condition affects them as an individual often produces more economical outcomes that the system that purely concentrates on the name of the condition.

The most appropriate cover and premiums are generally offered by specialist insurance providers, rather than household-named providers, which can make finding the best provider for your particular circumstance difficult. This issue is being addressed by the Financial Conduct Authority and their Access to Travel Insurance campaign.

Disability can come in a number of forms and more often than not the condition will affect an individual in different ways. Take MS for example, one person may be able to independently complete everyday tasks whereas another might require a certain amount of support.

Many people ask if the way their medical condition might affect their personal circumstances, is taken into account when applying for travel insurance? The answer is; it depends who you buy your travel insurance from. It may seem like an interrogation having to answer numerous questions about your disability or medical condition, however the more the travel insurance provider understands about your condition and the way it affects your everyday life, the more they are able to assess the individual risk of travelling on holiday.

The important point is that your travel insurance provider looks at the short-term holiday risk rather than the long-term lifetime risk of your disability or condition. Some conditions are life limiting, but that doesn’t mean your condition is not stable enough to allow you to travel and have access to travel insurance at and appropriate premium.

The good news is that cover is available and at an appropriate premium, we just need to help people find it. Travel Insurance Explained is working with the travel insurance industry and charities to produce comprehensive guides to help consumers with disabilities and medical conditions understand what cover is available to them, and how best to access it.

The travel industry has taken huge steps forward in recent years, and this will continue to develop so people with non-standard needs i.e. disabilities and medical conditions have easy access to travel insurance. However, there is no getting away from the fact that some people with medical conditions and disabilities are faced with increased costs when purchasing travel insurance and they might feel they are being discriminated against when compared with the premium paid by someone who doesn’t have a disability or medical condition.

But insurance is based on risk, and the insurer has to rate every customer based on their age, length of trip and trip destination, along with the likelihood of that person claiming on the policy, especially with regards to cancellation or needing emergency medical treatment.

However, any additional premium charged must be fair and reasonable, and proportionate to the increased risk that the disability or medical condition poses.

The Access to Travel Insurance initiative is committed to making sure that people are able find the providers who offer fair and reasonable premiums for those who have disabilities or medical conditions. The difficulty at the moment is that there is no ‘one stop shop’ that provides this information in one easily accessible place and this is what the travel insurance industry is working on, how to help people quickly and easily find the most suitable policy for them at the most appropriate price.

Please don’t think the way around all this is to not bother declaring your disability or medical condition, we have more information here on tips for declaring your condition and the risks of not doing so.

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