MILLIONS of people could be stung with higher travel insurance premiums, because they suffer from pre-existing conditions such as depression or autism.
But if people fail to declare these conditions to avoid the price hike, they risk invalidating their insurance.
Research by Go Compare for the Mail on Sunday showed that declaring either depression or autism (living independently) forces up premiums with some insurers by 40 per cent.
This premium hike happens even if a pre-existing condition has never impacted travel plans in the past.
Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, according to mental health charity Mind.
That means the number of people facing higher insurance premiums are likely to be in the millions.
If you have had to cancel a holiday because of depression – your cover will more than double in cost.
When the Sun search for travel insurance cover for a 31 year old female travelling to France for a week, the cheapest cover available was for £4.59.
There were ten different policies available for £6 or less.
But when we added in depression as a pre-existing condition – the cheapest policy available jumped to £6.04.
The second cheapest cover on both was a Cedar Tree policy, providing £1,000 cancellation cover, £15million medical cover and £500 baggage cover.
With no pre-existing conditions the cover costs £5, but if you add in depression it jumps to £6.50 – an increase of 30 per cent.
This is despite stating that the depression had never caused a holiday cancellation, had not led to hospitalisation or medication in the past two years and had never resulted in a referral to a psychiatrist.
There were 101 quotes for a traveller with depression compared to 138 for someone who did not have the condition.
If we amended the criteria to say that the depression had led to a meeting with a doctor in the last two years, was medicated and had caused travel disruption in the past – the cheapest quote on offer was £17.71.
There were only three cover options at less than £20 for the week.
In total, there were only 93 quotes available.
How to get specialist travel cover if you've got a pre-existing condition
THERE are plenty of specialist providers that cover pre-existing conditions. Here's how to find one
- Use a specialist comparison site: All Clear Travel Insurance and Medical Travel Compare are both comparison sites that specialise in pre-existing conditions. They will search a range of providers to find ones that cover your pre-existing condition and enable you to pick the best price.
- Consider a specialist broker. It's also worth speaking to a broker, there are over 300 that specialise in pre-existing conditions. The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) can direct you to an insurance broker via the Find a broker service. Charities related to your specific condition may also have lists of brokers that will cover you.
- Choose your destination wisely. The nearer you are to the UK, the cheaper insurance will be, says BIBA’s Graeme Trudgill. Cruises can be particularly difficult to insure due to limited medical facilities onboard and the difficulty and cost of getting someone to a hospital in an emergency.
- Talk to your GP or specialist doctor. This can help to persuade an insurer to keep costs down.
- Allow plenty of time. Getting insurance for pre-existing conditions may require an interview, which will take even longer if you don’t have information to hand. So ensure that you are prepared with all the information about your condition and medication before phoning brokers and be prepared for it to take time.
It’s unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 for insurance providers to discriminate against someone based on a mental health condition.
But there are exemptions in the Act that allow an insurance company to make decisions based on your disability as long as they are made on the basis of relevant and reliable information and the insurance company act reasonably.
If you think you have been treated unfairly by an insurance provider because of your mental health, visit Mind’s website for more information on how to make a complaint or take legal action.
Stephen Heath a lawyer at Mind, said: “What’s really important is to read your insurance policy carefully, including the small print, to make sure you understand what you know what you’re covered for.
"If you buy a policy that doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, like depression, and you try to make a claim related to it, your claim could be invalidated and the provider will refuse to pay out.
"If you find that getting insurance from a large high-street provider is difficult or expensive because of your mental health problem, you may want to look into getting insurance from a specialist provider."
What should you look for in a good travel insurance policy?
TRAVEL insurance policies can vary a great deal, but here are some 'must have' features you should look out for from the Money Advice Service.
- Medical expenses – A good policy will give cover of £1million or more for travel in Europe and £2million or more for the USA
- Repatriation service – The costs of getitng you back to the UK for medical reasons should be covered automatically by your policy
- Cancellation and curtailment – A good policy will cover you for £2,000 or more if you have to cancel or shorten your holiday
- Missed departure – Covers additional accommodation costs and travel expenses up to £500 or more if you miss your flight due to circumstances out of your control
- Delay – You'll usually be covered for £250 or more if your travel plans are delayed due to circumstances out of your control
- Baggage cover – Covers you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen. Look for policies that have cover of £1,500 or more.
Matthew Sanders from GoCompare said: “If you don't declare to your insurer that you have a pre-existing medical issue, you won't be covered for that condition and your entire policy could be invalidated, so be honest and tell the insurer upfront.
"If you have an annual policy you must inform them about any changes, no matter how small. Don’t be tempted to leave anything out, as this may void your insurance.”
Best cheap travel insurance – how to cover your holiday from £9 a year and is a single or annual policy better?
Medical conditions you must declare when buying travel insurance including asthma and high blood pressure.
Martin Lewis explains the six ways you can protect your holiday before Brexit.
Source: Read Full Article