Currently, the number of travel insurance claims being made in the UK amounts to roughly one every minute. 75% of people will take out travel insurance before going overseas because the benefits are clear – bills for issues that happen in other countries can be significant. For example, one British traveler in America recently incurred a medical bill of £760,000, which would take someone earning the average UK salary 25 years to repay. But how does travel insurance work and what recent changes are significant?
How does travel insurance work?
Travel insurance offers protection against any costs or losses that are incurred while outside of the UK. It can also be used to help cover issues that may arise relating to travel plans before departure, such as cancelled flights. Available for a single trip, multi trip or as an annual policy, it provides peace of mind for hundreds of thousands of people who are traveling every year.
Travel insurance comes in many different packages and can cover a wide range of different activities and events. Most policies will offer cover for possessions, medical treatment, legal costs – e.g. for a no fault accident – and disruption to a trip. There will also be options to add extra protection for particularly adventurous activities, such as skiing, or especially expensive items. The cost of travel insurance can be impacted by a range of different factors, including:
- The travel location – some destinations are more expensive than others
- Age – costs tend to rise towards old age
- Length of trip – travel insurance is often more expensive for longer trips
- Medical conditions – some medical conditions may make travel insurance more expensive.
Changes to the rules about medical conditions
The Financial Conduct Authority recently issued an update that related to anyone looking to obtain travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition. This is the result of feedback gathered by the FCA in 2017 with respect to the issues that people with cancer – or who have had cancer - have when it comes to obtaining travel insurance. This is an issue that affects millions of Britons, as more than 10 million people are living with cancer every year in the UK.
The FCA found that there was a lack of signposting for anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, meaning that they were frequently unable to find suitable insurance and may end up with the wrong type of insurance – or none at all. The FCA update identifies that signposting has been very effective in helping older people to find specialist insurers who can offer the right kind of travel insurance for their needs. It is suggested that a similar system be put in place so that, if an insurance firm can’t provide a quote to an individual as a result of a pre-existing medical condition, it should signpost that person to an insurer who can.
Travel insurance remains essential for anyone going overseas. The new FCA update on signposting could make finding the right policy easier for everyone, even those with a pre-existing medical condition.
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