Where to Look for the Best Travel Insurance for a Medical Condition
Travel insurance provides vital protections for all travellers. It covers you for the cost of cancellations, missed departures, lost luggage, lost passports, stolen items and more besides.
If you have a medical condition, the financial protection offered by travel insurance becomes even more important. That’s because travel cover also includes the cost of medical treatment while you are abroad, which foreign visitors invariably have to pay for.
Depending on what condition you have and its severity, the chances of you falling ill and needing medical assistance while you are on holiday will be higher. That’s all the more reason to protect yourself with travel insurance.
Yet that greater need for cover also comes at a cost. Travel insurance companies recognise the greater likelihood of people with medical conditions needing to make a claim. They, therefore, put up their prices.
Whereas standard travel policies provide cover for medical emergencies and accidents, medical travel insurance is a special category designed to cover medical interventions for specific illnesses and conditions. For many conditions, you will need this special type of policy to be able to make a claim. If you just buy ordinary travel insurance and then fall ill, any claim for costs you make will more than likely be denied.
Travel insurers charge more for specialist medical policies in line with the perceived higher risk. But how much more they charge varies dramatically. Some big-name providers charge eye-watering premiums for a wide range of common medical conditions. Other more niche companies are able to offer more affordable deals, depending on your condition and your state of health.
The best travel insurance for medical conditions will combine a robust level of cover suited to your medical needs with a fair price. So where should you look to find these policies?
Looking beyond the comparison sites
Half of all insurance policies across the board are sold through aggregator sites these days, better known as comparison sites. The reason why is obvious – they make buying insurance, travel insurance included, simple, and they focus on finding the best deals. Market analysis shows you can expect to save 40% to 50% on a travel policy by going through a comparison site rather than directly to an insurance company.
But this isn’t necessarily the case if you have a medical condition. Comparison sites are set up to find the best deals, and that means their focus is very much on standard policies, particularly at the budget end of the market. Comparison sites don’t provide universal coverage of all travel insurance providers, either. You won’t be able to find policies from many niche providers, including those specialising in medical travel cover.
It’s still worth using a comparison site as a starting point, especially if your condition is only mild or is well controlled. Comparison sites will ask for details of any medical conditions. You may find providers happy to cover you under the terms of a standard policy.
Alternatively, there are now some comparison sites dedicated to medical travel policies, such as Medical Travel Compared. However, don’t assume that these are the only or best deals you can find, as again coverage of specialist medical insurance providers isn’t universal. Use even specialist comparison sites to gauge an initial idea of price. And then see if you can find a better deal.
Going straight to the specialists
The appeal of comparison sites is they do the hard work of shopping around different providers for you. But when you can’t guarantee they will show up the best deals, it is still well worth putting in some leg work of your own. This is very much the case when looking for travel insurance for a medical condition.
Here are two great tips for finding the best possible deal. First of all, Google is still just about the most powerful tool out there for finding anything you want on the internet, medical travel insurance included. Type a simple search for something like ‘travel insurance for medical conditions’. That will bring up pages of results.
It’s a good idea here to cross reference Google results with what you have found on a comparison site. You will see a lot of the same names featuring high up in the results – often big names you might already recognise. That’s not necessarily a sign that they are the best provider, more that they have the marketing spend to appear high up in search results and have commercial relationships with comparison sites.
Look for the names in your search results that aren’t on the comparison sites. These are the ones to go to directly. They are likely to be smaller, niche providers and may cater specifically for your condition. These are certainly often the best option if you have a more severe medical condition.
The second tip is to call providers directly, or at least make use of any live chat facility if they offer that on their website. The initial screening questions you get when you first apply for a policy online can be pretty basic. By talking to an agent directly, you can go into much more detail about your specific circumstances and state of health. With the right provider, that will lead to a better deal and possibly also a more bespoke policy tailored to your needs.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
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