Large numbers of British travellers are not taking out travel insurance because of high prices and unclear coverage.

Research by Medical Travel Compared surveyed 1,000 British citizens with pre-existing medical conditions and found 32% found it difficult to get travel insurance. A similar 34% said the cover was prohibitively expensive after including medical conditions.

As a result of these challenges a whole 21% of people surveyed said they did not travel. Perhaps more worringly, some 24% said they would occasionally not bother with travel insurance when travelling outside the UK. This could be a significant risk given that travellers without medical cover could be liable for hefty medical expenses abroad if something goes wrong.

“One in three of the UK population have a pre-existing medical condition,” warned Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director of Medical Travel Compared. “That meaning a significant number of travellers need be aware of the importance of choosing a travel insurance policy that fully protects them from the moment they book a trip.”

This will be an ongoing issue for the medical travel insurance industry. More of us living longer and healthier lives while also being wealthier than previous generations, as well as being able to take advantage of cheap flights. There are signs of improvement such as the insurance industry’s quick reaction to Diabetes over the last ten years as patient prognosis has improved significantly. At Emerald we were the first UK insurer to offer HIV travel insurance at no extra premium for the same reason.

As healthcare improves and big data allows for more accurate insights, it is fair to assume that medical travel insurance will be more fairly priced in the future. For now though it remains that travel insurance is important and arguably moreso if you have pre-existing medical conditions and this is the very reason that it is expensive. For insurers it is now are mission to make this cover as easy and as accessible as possible. Our current phone screening will soon be faced by a digital-first online process so that you can get the right cover straight away.


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