While travel insurance covering various medical conditions is available through specialist providers, knowing what to buy can sometimes be complex. What may appear to be relatively good value medical travel insurance on the surface may exclude some medical expenses or have other restrictions. This is an area where the Medical Travel Compared website can help.
Medical Travel Compared should not be confused with going abroad to seek medical attention, such as cosmetic surgery or otherwise. It's for people who need to cover issues they already have. When you use Medical Travel Compared, you can access several insurers. As these insurers are constantly changing their terms - and insurers are added and removed from Medical Travel Compared - you might find the website a helpful alternative to one of the better-known comparison sites, explicitly focusing on insurers that can cover pre-existing conditions.
We go into those pre-existing medical conditions here whilst also identifying other vital factors when considering travel insurance policies using the website to aid comparison.
Travel insurance quotes
You can request an online quote when you visit the Medical Travel Compared website. This is where you enter your personal details with any pre-existing medical conditions and your trip requirements. What’s excellent about Medical Travel Compared is that it searches against insurance providers who work with some of the largest insurance companies in the world - many of them are medical travel insurance specialists, providing cover for a range of medical conditions.
It is essential to be honest and upfront when filling out the form; otherwise, your policy may be terminated further down the line. Many assume that a pre-existing medical condition will somehow stop you from taking out travel insurance with medical cover - but that’s generally not true. While you won't need to undergo a medical, the website will ask you to provide accurate medical history details.
Common pre-existing medical conditions
This is one of the areas which can vary from insurer to insurer, which is why it is vital to be upfront about any pre-existing conditions when getting a quote through Medical Travel Compared. You should thoroughly check the terms and conditions of your potential policy before purchasing through the site.
Many people may be surprised to learn that medical travel insurance can, and often does, cover several serious medical conditions. Here is a selection of conditions that Medical Travel Compared focuses on:
- High blood pressure
- Crohn’s disease
- Heart conditions
- Cystic fibrosis
- Back pain/joint problems
- Psychological conditions
Even if a pre-existing condition is not usually covered, there may be the option to negotiate a premium which includes cover, or you could exclude any related cover - either through Medical Travel Compared or going directly to one of the insurers you found through the site.
Different types of medical travel insurance cover
You will likely encounter many policies when checking out travel insurance coverage for the over 50s through Medical Travel Compared. Before getting your quote, determine which of the below most suits your needs.
Single-trip travel insurance
For those who travel overseas infrequently, single-trip travel insurance is the best place to start. The premiums charged will depend upon several factors, which include:
- Trip duration
- Pre-existing medical conditions
While a company may appear to offer insurance across the board, you may find that, for example, those over 70 have a reduced maximum stay compared to younger travellers - Medical Travel Compared will be able to highlight any restrictions which may impact your coverage.
Like all types of travel insurance, this policy will cover several common expenses. However, most medical travel insurance companies will have different insurance levels, such as Bronze, Silver and Gold. While they will likely offer the same type of cover, the more expensive packages usually provide more financial cover.
Annual multi-trip travel insurance
A report by Which? magazine found that those who travel overseas at least twice a year will likely see more value with annual multi-trip travel insurance. This is because the premiums will cover multiple trips overseas over 12 months. Therefore the more often you travel, the more cost-effective your medical travel insurance.
Age and pre-existing medical conditions are the main factors impacting annual multi-trip travel insurance premiums. You may also find that different parts of the world attract different premiums, and your maximum stay per trip may be limited. Therefore, it is essential when researching potential providers with Medical Travel Compared to looking at the detail of an annual multi-trip travel insurance offer - don’t assume anything!
Long-stay travel insurance
Those looking for relatively short trips, multiple times a year, up to 45 or 60 days, may be better off with annual multi-trip travel insurance. Those looking at significantly longer durations may find it more cost-effective to look at a long-stay insurance policy. This is an area where Medical Travel Compared can be very beneficial. You can use the site to find a policy moulded around your scenario.
The long-stay travel insurance market for the over 50s was a by-product of the annual multi-trip travel insurance sector. It soon became apparent that many people were planning extended stays overseas, more than the maximum yearly multi-trip cover. Even though some annual multi-trip policies offer the chance to extend your stay for an additional premium, that’s not always a suitable option.
Other insurance policies
While these are the three central medical travel insurance policies, Medical Travel Compared also searches for companies that offer insurance for winter sports, cruises and other activities. If you are looking for travel insurance coverage of a specialist nature, researching the best options is crucial to getting the best policy for you. Some medical travel insurance companies won’t always cover more specialist areas.
Different elements of travel insurance cover
If a particular medical travel insurance policy catches your eye on Medical Travel Compared, it is essential to compare and contrast the details. There are many different issues to consider, such as:
Some insurance companies may charge more for older customers in certain circumstances or refuse to offer cover. You tend to find that specialist over 50s travel insurance companies understand older travellers more.
The medical travel insurance companies suggested by this search site help you swiftly find policies for your age. Some companies may have restrictions for those over 70, while others will cover insurance for those over 90.
While maximum trip duration, excluding long-stay cover, tends to be between 45 and 60 days, it can vary. You will also notice that some companies offer extended coverage free of charge for certain circumstances. It is essential to compare and contrast the value for money with a single trip, multi-trip and extended stay cover, depending on your situation.
Some travel insurance companies will limit the areas of the world in which they offer coverage. For example, they may exclude travel to Asia, Africa or South America. Looking at the broader picture, all travel insurance companies base their offerings on the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). If your preferred destination is on the “do not travel list”, you won’t be able to obtain cover.
Emergency medical/repatriation costs
These are key figures, often quoted in millions of pounds. Medical expenses could be huge if you were struck down with a long-term medical condition overseas and need to look at the cost of repatriation, which can vary significantly between countries. You must be aware of the pre-existing conditions covered by your policy.
Whether you have a family crisis, one of your travel partners has been struck down by coronavirus, or your destination has been moved to the FCDO banned list, the cancellation/curtailment cover level is essential. Cancellation coverage can vary dramatically with the different levels of travel insurance available with individual companies.
As discussed above, if you want to extend your holiday or have a medical emergency requiring an extension of your coverage, many insurance companies offer a free buffer. Even though using extended cover for medical purposes can be frightening, you must be realistic when arranging medical insurance protection.
Covid related expenses
After the first wave of Covid, many insurance companies thought it would be a case of returning to regular business. Unfortunately, many customers, especially those over 50, were concerned about being stranded overseas due to Covid. Most insurance companies introduced Covid coverage as a standard, injecting confidence into the sector.
You can check the terms of your Covid coverage to see if they also cover your friend's/relative's expenses.
If you are travelling overseas, you are likely to experience travel delays. In some situations, this may see you incurring additional expenses through no fault of your own. Therefore, it is no surprise that many travel insurance policies - even cheaper travel insurance - offer a degree of cover/compensation for costs related to travel delays.
Whether a pre-existing medical condition or another medical emergency has flared up, you may be forced to extend your stay overseas. Referred to as a "recuperation stay", this is an essential element of your travel insurance policy. It ensures that when you finally travel home, you are in better health and, more importantly, fit to travel.
You may be forced to replace certain personal belongings through theft, damage, or other issues. Medical travel insurance policies tend to offer a broad range of compensation figures, which are ultimately dependent upon the type of policy. This can vary from just a couple thousand pounds, with the maximum level often negotiable.
If you are involved in an accident overseas, potentially causing injury to a third party, you may be forced to pay compensation. Whilst this type of incident may be straightforward to settle at home, there could be a very different legal framework overseas. Consequently, you will find that most travel insurance policies offer personal liability protection in the millions of pounds. This does not suggest that every claim will result in such a huge payout, but it provides security and peace of mind.
Travelling to a foreign country means being subject to a different legal system and foreign laws. Understanding and navigating these systems can be challenging in the event of a legal issue. The legal expenses clause ensures access to legal support and guidance specific to the country you are visiting.
Having legal expenses cover in your medical travel insurance offers peace of mind. It ensures that if you face legal challenges while travelling, you have the necessary financial protection to address them. This can alleviate stress and potential financial burdens arising from unexpected legal issues.
Looking at the detail
As with any insurance policy, you will find that the devil is in the detail, which could change your opinion from the initial headline-grabbing offer. There are many different issues to consider that can have a material impact on your premiums and your level of coverage. Unfortunately, although much of the information is available online, many people still make dangerous assumptions concerning travel insurance policies -something that searching with Medical Travel Compared can help minimise.
As previously stated, you must be upfront with your situation and any pre-existing medical conditions. There is no point hiding any conditions as the majority will already be covered as standard, but your insurance company needs to be aware of your situation. Failure to be transparent and open with the initial application could lead to high personal costs if the insurance company refuses to pay out further down the line.
It is very easy to get drawn into the policy details, level of cover, and premiums. While these are all very important, you also need to factor in the standard of customer service. For example, how promptly will your insurance company payout on expenses? Are they available to give advice and guidance 24/7? Check this once you have found a potential provider through Medical Travel Compared.
Unravelling the mystery of medical travel insurance
On the surface, most medical travel insurance companies tend to provide similar services, but it is still vital that you check. Researching through Medical Travel Compared can help you consider precisely what is on offer and whether the cost and the depth of services match your requirements.