A series of changes in the travel insurance industry will now make coverage for travelers with health problems easier and less expensive.
The British Financial Conduct Authority announced today (February 5) the introduction of new advice that will help people with pre-existing medical conditions navigate the market.
The addition of a series of new rules and guidelines was launched in an attempt to reduce the number of uninsured travelers and the number of customers who significantly pay for coverage.
As part of the changes, all travel insurance companies will now have to report customers with pre-existing conditions to a list of specialist suppliers who can offer coverage.
Firms that refuse to provide customers with healthy conditions or offer coverage that excludes the condition will also be required to inform them if and how exclusions can be removed.
And now, insurers will also need to assess the risk from medical conditions and calculate premiums using reliable information.
This is to guarantee customers a fair premium that adequately covers their circumstances and needs.
The move comes after a consultation of the FCA with travel insurance customers with existing health conditions.
They found that many have trouble finding economic coverage and that many have been refused, or have only offered coverage that excluded their terms, or offered coverage with a high premium.
Gareth Shaw, Head of Money, Which ?, said: “This much-needed action by the FCA could save vacationers with large medical conditions by directing them to the most convenient policies that best meet their needs. For too long we have heard of consumers having difficulty finding adequate coverage, so this is a crucial intervention.
“The FCA must now apply rigorous criteria to ensure that only companies that offer adequate travel insurance appear on the list and to review its effectiveness in providing the convenient and adequate policies that people with medical conditions desperately need. “.
It is estimated that one in five people request insurance that provides coverage for an existing condition, which in many cases is much more expensive.
And that’s if you’re even offered coverage in the first place.
And many will travel with a standard travel insurance policy as they consider their conditions too mild to disclose.
But travelers who don’t purchase the correct insurance for their trip, otherwise, could cancel insurance coverage – something that could leave travelers accountable for the costs should the worst happen.
For people with pre-existing medical conditions, coverage works the same way as insurance for typical travelers.
The only exception is that it also covers the cost of treatment for any medical conditions that you may have had in the past or currently suffer from – which is what increases the costs compared to standard coverage.
Pre-existing travel insurance premiums vary significantly depending on the conditions and age of the individual and each insurer will have their own list of conditions which they consider serious.
Common conditions such as asthma, allergies and hypertension also need to be declared or risk canceling the policy and the customer is forced to cover the costs.
Firms offering retail travel insurance must apply the new requirements by November 5, 2020.
The FCA is also planning to produce information on pre-existing medical conditions and the implications of the trip without proper coverage.