Most people go on holidays without batting an eye on whether they have enough medical travel insurance.
Many push through with their plans with no travel insurance at all (unless it’s a requirement for entry). After all, no one goes on a holiday expecting that they might fall ill or that something bad might happen to them. But what if it does?
Think about it — what are you going to do if you fall ill or get injured while travelling to a foreign country? If you’re in a remote location, like, say, trekking in the Himalayas, it can cost a small fortune to evacuate you to the nearest medical facility for treatment. What about the cost of repatriation back to the UK? Without medical insurance, you can very well end up paying for these emergency services out-of-pocket.
There’s an old saying that goes — If you think that you can’t afford to get enough travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel. While the vast majority of Brits travelling overseas for the holiday return to the UK unscathed, you’ll also find plenty of stories getting into financial troubles that could have easily been avoided had they obtained sufficient travel insurance.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for most people to obtain good travel insurance, especially for the under-represented members of the community — single parents, members of the LGBTQ+ community, illegitimate children, and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
We at Emerald Life are well aware of these challenges, which is why we’ve worked so hard to make travel insurance accessible to all UK citizens, especially those who often find it difficult to get travel insurance due to pre-existing conditions and old age.
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What is the best medical travel insurance?
As one of the most reputable regulated travel insurance companies in the UK, we at Emerald Life cannot claim to be the best, nor can we guarantee anything. That said, we are proud of the travel insurance policies that we offer.
Our goal is to make obtaining travel insurance easier and accessible to underrepresented members of the UK community. To that end, our travel insurance policies (single trip or annual travel insurance policy) carry no age limits and can be obtained by people with pre-existing medical conditions.
As you may already know, travel insurance with pre-existing health conditions is difficult to come by. The few travel insurance companies that do offer them tend to charge hefty fees with minimal coverage. You will find that is not the case with Emerald Life.
Note that a travel insurance policy is always subject to terms and conditions. If you’re looking to get one for an upcoming trip, it pays to always read the fine print. Only then can you get peace of mind knowing that you have your travel insurance policy to fall back on should anything unfortunate happens.
We urge you to read on to find answers to some frequently asked questions about travel medical insurance.
What medical conditions are covered by travel insurance?
Again, the terms and conditions of medical travel insurance policies vary from one provider to another. The same goes for the range of medical conditions covered by a medical travel policy.
Here at Emerald Life, the list of medical conditions that we cover include the following:
- Heart conditions
- Mental health conditions
- and many more!
How does medical travel insurance work?
If it’s your first time travelling overseas, then obtaining medical travel insurance might seem like a daunting task from application to the process on how to make a claim. However, it’s not as complicated as it might seem, although it’s essential to understand how an insurance medical travel policy differs from standard insurance and health plans in the UK.
Simply put, travel insurance is a type of cover provided so that in the event you get sick or injured while travelling overseas, your insurer pays for all (or at least a significant part) of your medical-related expenses. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your insurer has your back should anything unfortunate happen during your trip.
Unlike standard insurance, travel insurance coverage is only temporary and starts when you depart for your travel overseas. The same is true even if your travel cover is scheduled to begin before your departure. It only starts to go into effect the moment you leave the border. Hence, it’s important to note that you can’t make a claim for any illness or injury sustained inside the UK before your departure.
Likewise, the policy ends the moment you enter UK’s border and return to your home country. The same is generally true, even if you decide to cut your trip short and return earlier than the date stated in your contract.
You can make a claim on any illness or injury suffered from the moment you depart until your return to the UK. That is for as long as the incident falls within the dates stipulated in your insurance coverage and you’ve disclosed all pre existing medical conditions.
What is considered a pre-existing medical condition?
Pre existing medical conditions refer to any health condition that a person might have before enrolling for medical travel insurance.
Some insurers like Emerald Life offer cover for thousands of conditions, many at no extra cost. Often this will involve a quick medical screening survey as part of your quote which just requires you to answer a few simple questions.
Pre-existing medical conditions can be mild (seasonal allergies or skin problems) and require simple medical treatments. However, there are also pre-existing medical conditions that are pretty serious (heart disease, HIV, diabetes, or cancer) and may require costly unforeseen medical treatments overseas.
For this reason, insurers are often hesitant to grant travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions that are serious in nature. That is not the case with Emerald Life (subject to terms and conditions) as we have a basic level of medical cover in our standard policy as well as extended cover in our medical product tailored to more serious conditions.
Is pregnancy a pre-existing medical condition?
Pregnancy is not a pre-existing medical condition, so you don’t necessarily have to declare it when enrolling for medical travel insurance. That said, we recommend letting us know so that your travel cover can be adjusted to account for related complications.
For example, pregnant women are prone to high blood pressure and a range of other health problems like anaemia, gestational diabetes, infections and preterm labour. If left undisclosed, you may not get coverage for health problems that may arise due to your pregnancy.
Do I need to undergo a medical exam to get cover?
The short answer is “yes”, you should undergo a medical exam before enrolling for a travel cover. As mentioned earlier, insurers offer free screening for thousands of medical conditions as a requirement for travel insurance. The more you know about your state of health, the easier it will be to ensure that you get coverage for any medical problems that may arise during your travel.
Again, it’s not uncommon for people to sign up for a travel cover with an undiagnosed medical condition. If left undisclosed, those conditions will not be included in your travel insurance for pre existing condition. Hence, you will not be able to file a claim on any medical expense related to treating said health problems.
Some people choose to forgo cover for pre existing medical conditions thinking that leaving it out will allow them to get lower prices for their travel cover. While that may be true, these people find that they end up paying a much higher price should they require medical treatment overseas due to their undisclosed medical condition.
Single trip vs multi-trip cover
As the name implies, a single trip cover is only valid for one instance of departure and return to the UK. A multi-trip cover remains valid even after you return to the UK (usually up to a year) and can be used for multiple departures until the cover expires.
A single trip travel cover is designed for people who travel overseas once or twice a year. A multi-trip cover may seem much more expensive than a single trip policy, but it provides coverage for as many trips as you can arrange in a year. That said, you would want to double check the restrictions stated on the terms and conditions. As with any contract, make sure to read the fine print before enrolling for medical travel insurance.
Tips for travelling with a pre-existing condition
The rule of thumb for any person travelling with a pre-existing medical condition (severe ones like cancer, heart disease or diabetes) is to consult with their doctor. Only a physician can adequately assess your current health and decide whether you’re fit to push ahead with your travel plans.
Once your doctor has cleared you for an upcoming trip overseas, you would do well to keep in mind the following precautions:
Always bring your medicine with you and then some in case your trip is extended for any reason
If there’s one thing seasoned travellers can all agree on, it’s that travelling can be unpredictable, and there’s no guarantee that everything about your trip will go as planned. Hence, it would be best if you always assumed that there’s a possibility that your medication will run out and carry extra ones with you (about a month’s worth). That way, you won’t have to worry about where to get some more should you need to extend your travel for any reason.
Keep your medication in your carry on luggage along with your doctor’s note and prescription. That way, there’s no risk of losing access to your medication should the airline lose track of your check-in luggage. Also, you’ll be able to present proof that you need those medicines to treat an underlying health condition. This is important, mainly if the medication that you carry is heavily regulated in your destination country.
Always bring medical identification wherever you go
If you have an underlying health condition, you would want to carry something with you to alert medical personnel about the said condition. This is in case you’re not able to communicate this fact to responding medical staff (you’re unconscious, unable to speak or become disorientated). Such identification can come in the form of a bracelet, tag or certificate/card that you can carry with you at all times.
It can also be helpful to include a card that contains your basic medical information like your doctor’s name and contact information, insurance details, the medicines you take and prescribed dosage, a list of allergies and illnesses, etc. You can tuck this inside your bag or wallet for medical personnel to find as they try to identify you.
Find out the best place to get medical care for your underlying health condition
People travelling overseas with pre-existing medical condition must carefully plan the details of their trip before departure. One of them is knowing where to go should you require emergency medical treatment. This can be difficult, especially in an unfamiliar country where the locals speak a different language.
Fortunately, you can always ask your travel insurance company to provide you with recommendations on the matter. If necessary, they can also arrange for translation services that may help your trip progress smoothly.
As you may have already realized, precautions for travelling with a pre-existing medical condition is all about having a backup plan. Carrying your doctor’s note and prescription on the medicines you’ve been taking will make it that much easier to replace in case you lose them for any reason. Bringing medical identification cards or bracelets will alert emergency personnel on the best ways to help, even if you’re unconscious or unable to speak because of an illness or an accident.