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Archive for the ‘Medical Travel Insurance’ Category

EHIC does not replace travel insurance

Friday, August 6th, 2010

With around 25% of people travelling abroad without travel insurance, it is worth asking why?   One reason is a view that the EHIC, short for European Health Insurance Card, will provide cover in case of needing medical treatment abroad.   Yes, up to a point, so do you actually need to take out travel insurance?   Well, simply put, you need both if you are planning to travel abroad.   One does not replace the other.

First of all what is EHIC?  The EHIC has replaced the old E111 form which is no longer valid.   Do make sure you get your EHIC before you travel.   Application forms are readily available from Post Offices and you can also apply online through the Department of Health website.   EHIC is valid throughout the EU and a number of other countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechenstein.   Should you be suddenly taken ill or have an accident in any of these countries, then the EHIC will entitle you, in most cases, to free, or at a reduced cost, necessary medical treatment.

Do remember, however, that an EHIC does not cover you for all the medical costs that you can incur or for your repatriation; it is not an alternative to medical insurance and to go abroad without appropriate medical cover, as provided by most travel insurance policies, is probably as close to playing ‘Russian Roulette’ as you can get.

Furthermore, an EHIC does not cover you outside the areas described and although the UK has mutual agreements with many countries, these arrangements don’t cover all expenses you can incur.   You may have to pay thousands of pounds in medical costs, a prime example is the USA and Canada where medical treatment is expensive and, increasingly, there are many other countries that fall into this category.   So we do recommend that before you travel that you always arrange travel insurance with health cover that is adequate for your destination.

The Foreign Office advises that the level of cover should be at least £1 million for Europe or £2 million for the rest of the world but most travel insurance policies now offer cover beyond these figures and £5 million is becoming quite standard and even higher figures are commonplace.   As with all insurances where health cover is required, there may be restrictions because of a particular medical condition for example, which may result in a higher premium to be paid.   At the end of the day though, what you are paying for is ‘peace of mind’ and that is why it is so important to make sure you get cover before you go.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specilaist in ethical travel insurance.

Travel home need not cost an arm and leg!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Arm and leg, what are they on about, we hear you say? Well, not literally but you could lose your shirt if you are not adequately covered whilst abroad and it all goes wrong. Shirt, come on stop the riddles – you’ve already lost me!

Sorry to lose you but the latest air ambulance and repatriation costs are a timely reminder on why it is essential to have the correct travel insurance when on holiday. An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive. If you need to be returned to the UK it could cost you thousands of pounds, unless you are adequately insured. Repatriation is generally covered in the medical cover section on these policies but it is important to check the small print very carefully to see if any exclusions apply.

For example, average repatriation costs to the UK are:

£35-45,000 – air ambulance from USA’s East coast.

£12-16,000 – air ambulance from the Canary Islands.

£15-20,000 – scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort from Australia.

So to return to the point of this article, repatriation is costly and at a time when the number one priority is to get home, you do not want to be sat in a far flung destination wondering why you didn’t get the cover before you left. What is more, when you take out a policy that has the benefit of a 24-hour emergency service, serious accidents or illnesses will all be managed by the assistance company who will make any necessary arrangements, such as repatriation, and provide help and advice at a time when it is most needed.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Why declare medical conditions?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Most people taking out a new travel insurance policy are confused by the term pre-existing medical condition and it is an area that the insurance industry is currently trying to address and simplify. After all, medical conditions tend to be technically expressed, not always explained well and, if the condition is cured or controlled, often forgotten about over time.

So why do insurers make such a song and dance about it? Well put simply, insurers argue that the medical cover provided by a travel insurance policy is there for emergency cover and is not a substitute for private medical insurance. There are specialist products on the market for private health care and all that travel insurance is covering for is the unforeseen medical emergency that might occur whilst on holiday and provide for hospital care in country and repatriation if required. Once back in the UK, patients can then use the NHS or individual private health care plan they may have in place.

This allows travel insurance policies to have lower premiums than their private medical insurance equivalent though these premiums do vary considerably by area visited and the much higher medical costs in the USA will see North American destinations more costly than elsewhere. What travel insurance medical cover does have in its favour though is the wide network of specialist medical assistance companies to call in when an emergency does occur.

The big question will always be “will I be covered if I have a medical history and what does that mean exactly?” All policies have similar interpretations but you should read the medical section of a policy before taking out that travel insurance. A medical history of heart, kidney, respiratory conditions or cancer should be always declared and this may very well be expanded to the medical history of close family members and travelling companions. The reason for this is to allow the insurance company to see what the potential risk is of you cancelling or curtailing your trip or falling ill whilst abroad. An insurance provider may well decline you insurance at this point or may offer to cover you for an additional premium or may even insure you but void any subsequent claims if related to the declared condition.

Certainly you will not be covered if you travel against the medical advice of your doctor and there will be strict rules on when you can travel if pregnant. So do you need to declare? Yes, you do though not all declarations will result in a higher premium but provided you have done so and the insurer has provided you cover, then it will greatly simplify the process if you ever have to make a claim.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Travel cover for holidays at home

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

With the Summer holidays now in full swing, more of us have decided to take our break in the UK this year. Not surprising when financial concerns are still uppermost in people’s minds and thinking twice about spending hard-earned wages on expensive overseas holidays. But those opting to stay at home face the same risks as they would abroad. A domestic flight can be as easily cancelled or delayed as an international flight, and UK holidaymakers are similarly vulnerable to theft or damage to belongings.

According to claims data from insurer AXA, cancellation, baggage and cutting short a holiday once started are the most common claims made on domestic holidays. Cancellation accounts for half of all AXA’s claims, with the average amount claimed close to £400.

But there could be other issues. Anyone travelling to the Channel Islands, for example, will not be covered for medical treatment by their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) nor the NHS as there is no longer a reciprocal agreement in place between mainland UK and the Channel Islands, so falling ill could be costly without medical cover.

So the message here is that the 12 million Britons hoping to cut costs by holidaying at home this summer could find themselves out of pocket if they haven’t taken out the right travel cover. Therefore it could be well worth taking out travel insurance this summer as accidents do happen and bags go missing, just as they do abroad.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Do declare pre-existing medical conditions

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Most people taking out a new travel insurance policy are confused by the term pre-existing medical condition.  And it’s not surprising when medical conditions tend to be technically expressed, not always explained well and, if the condition is cured or controlled, often forgotten about over time. But this is just the area where holidaymakers get caught out because all policies will have clauses on whether certain medical conditions need to be declared before cover can be given.  This is so easily overlooked at the time of purchase, more so for those who have free annual insurance through premium bank accounts.

Travel insurance companies argue that the medical cover provided by a travel insurance policy is there for emergency cover and is not a substitute for private medical insurance and all that travel insurance is covering for is the unforeseen medical emergency that might occur whilst on holiday and provide for hospital care in country and repatriation if required. Once back in the UK, patients can then use the NHS or individual private health care plan they may have in place. This allows travel insurance policies to have lower premiums than their private medical insurance equivalent though these premiums do vary considerably by area visited and the much higher medical costs in the USA will see North American destinations more costly than elsewhere. What travel insurance medical cover does have in its favour though is the wide network of specialist medical assistance companies to call in when an emergency does occur.

The big question will always be “will I be covered if I have a medical history and what does that mean exactly?” All policies have similar interpretations but you should read the medical section of a policy before taking out that travel insurance. A medical history of heart, kidney, respiratory conditions or cancer should be always declared and this may very well be expanded to the medical history of close family members and travelling companions. The reason for this is to allow the insurance company to see what the potential risk is of you cancelling or curtailing your trip or falling ill whilst abroad. An insurance provider may well decline you insurance at this point or may offer to cover you for an additional premium or may even insure you but void any subsequent claims if related to the declared condition.

Certainly you will not be covered if you travel against the medical advice of your doctor. So do you need to declare? Yes you do, though not all declarations will result in a higher premium but, provided you have done so and the insurer has provided you cover, then it will greatly simplify the process if you ever have to make a claim.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

EHIC expiry scare

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Britons are being advised to check the validity of their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) after the Department of Health warned that millions of cards have expired or are due to expire, thereby invalidating some holidaymakers’ travel insurance. By the end of March 2009 more than 3.3 million of the European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will have expired,  ministers have said. “It is vital that UK residents holidaying in Europe carry their EHIC and take out adequate travel insurance to avoid having to pay out unnecessarily for medical costs that could be covered by a valid EHIC. Anyone travelling with an expired EHIC is putting themselves at risk, they will not be covered for basic medical care.”

The EHIC was introduced three years ago to replace the E111 and covers the holder for medical treatment within the European Economic Area (EEA). Some travel insurance policies are invalid without an EHIC. With around 25% of people travelling abroad without travel insurance, it is worth asking why?  One reason is a view that the EHIC will provide all the cover you need in case of requiring medical treatment abroad. Yes, up to a point, so do you actually need to take out travel insurance? Well, simply put, you need both if you are planning to travel abroad. One does not replace the other. First of all what is EHIC? The EHIC replaced the old E111 form in 2006 which is no longer valid. Do make sure you get your EHIC before you travel. Application forms are readily available from Post Offices and you can also apply online through the Department of Health website or by telephoning 0845 606 2030. EHIC is valid throughout the EU and a number of other countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechenstein. Should you be suddenly taken ill or have an accident in any of these countries, then the EHIC will entitle you, in most cases, to free, or at a reduced cost, necessary medical treatment. Do remember, however, that an EHIC does not cover you for all the medical costs that you can incur or for your repatriation – it is not an alternative to medical insurance and to go abroad without appropriate medical cover, as provided by most travel insurance policies, is probably as close to playing ‘Russian Roulette’ as you can get.

Furthermore, an EHIC does not cover you outside the areas described and although the UK has mutual agreements with many countries, these arrangements don’t cover all expenses you can incur. You may have to pay thousands of pounds in medical costs, a prime example is the USA and Canada where medical treatment is expensive and, increasingly, there are many other countries that fall into this category. So we do recommend that before you travel that you always arrange travel insurance with health cover that is adequate for your destination. The FCO advises that the level of cover should be at least £1 million for Europe or £2 million for the rest of the world but most travel insurance policies now offer cover beyond these figures and £5 million is becoming quite standard and even higher figures are commonplace. As with all insurances where health cover is required, there may be restrictions because of a particular medical condition for example, which may result in a higher premium to be paid. At the end of the day though, what you are paying for is ‘peace of mind’ and that is why it is so important to make sure you get cover before you go.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Medical cover cut in Channel Islands

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

It’s not that surprising to find that the Channel Islands have doubled in popularity with tourists due to the weakness of the pound. More than 550,000 Britons travelled to the Channel Islands in 2008 and that figure is expected to rise in 2009. With enquiries up over 100%, the islands could be in for a bumper summer.  But beware. Britons travelling to the Channel Islands will no longer be covered for medical treatment should they become ill or injured, after a decision by the Government to end the reciprocal health agreement between the UK and the islands.

The Department of Health is warning Britons travelling to the islands, which include Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, that from1st  April 2009, they must ensure that they have adequate travel insurance. The islands, which are Crown Dependencies of the UK, are outside the EU and are therefore not covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which covers the holder for medical treatment within the European Economic Area (EEA).

This article is brought to you by www.travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Accidents do happen

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

The ski season is in full swing with record amounts of snow, so nothing can go wrong?  Think again.  Accidents do happen. Now this is a true story and shows what can happen when you least expect it. Picture the scene, Mr X is on his ski holiday and is waiting in the lift queue when someone careers into him from behind. The next thing he remembers is being stretchered off the mountain by an air ambulance and ends up in traction in the clinic. Luckily for Mr X he was covered by his travel insurance and is now claiming back for damaged ski equipment, rescue costs, medical expenses, the unused portion of his lift pass and is considering taking out a third party claim against the reckless skier who hit him, which again his travel insurance should cover the legal expenses to do so. This is not an isolated event and resorts in Switzerland and Austria now have speed patrols to take action against the ‘boy racers’ and ‘speed merchants’ who endanger others by their actions. Other countries, including France, the mainstay of British winter sports holidays, will be following suit as this trend increases.

But alarm bells should be ringing here, not just against the rise in the accident rate on the slopes but that recent surveys still show a high number of people going abroad without any travel insurance at all. Whether this is just forgetfulness or a desire to live dangerously, it is shows that many people view travel insurance as an extra expense which can be added or deleted depending on the holiday budget. But with price of travel insurance premiums, particularly on the internet, being relatively cheap – you can find a week’s Winter Sports cover to Europe for under £10, it does seem to be an unnecessary risk to take. It is not necessary to pay through the nose these days and if you are prepared to surf the net then there some excellent deals to be had.

So to go back to Mr X for a moment. Although he has had to come to terms with having his holiday cut short, he does now have the backing of his insurance company to recover most of his costs and maybe some compensation from his assailant. But picture the scene again if, like an increasing number of travellers these days, he had decided to overlook travel insurance. He would be facing hefty medical and rescue bills including the potential of being repatriated home at own cost. So the next time you are undecided about taking out travel insurance, do remember Mr X, unless of course you are one of that increasing band who do want to live dangerously!

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Medical cover for travel abroad.

Monday, January 19th, 2009

With over 25% of holiday makers not taking out any travel insurance, then one reason often quoted is why do I need it when I already have a European Health Insurance Card, better known as EHIC? Simply put, you need both if you are planning to travel abroad. One does not replace the other. First of all what is EHIC? The EHIC replaced the old E111 form in 2006 which is no longer valid. Do make sure you get your EHIC before you travel. Application forms are readily available from Post Offices and you can also apply online through the NHS website. EHIC is valid throughout the EU and a number of other countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechenstein. Should you be suddenly taken ill or have an accident in any of these countries, then the EHIC will entitle you, in most cases, to free, or at a reduced cost, necessary medical treatment. Do remember, however, that an EHIC does not cover you for all the medical costs that you can incur or for your repatriation. It is not an alternative to medical insurance and to go abroad without appropriate medical cover, as provided by most travel insurance policies, is probably as close to playing ‘Russian Roulette’ as you can get. As the NHS website points out, “the EHIC is NOT an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property”. Furthermore, an EHIC does not cover you outside the areas described and, although the UK has mutual agreements with many countries, these arrangements don’t cover all expenses you can incur. You may have to pay thousands of pounds in medical costs, a prime example is the USA and Canada where medical treatment is expensive and, increasingly, there are many other countries that fall into this category. So we do recommend that before you travel that you always arrange travel insurance with health cover that is adequate for your destination. The FCO advises that the level of cover should be at least £1million for Europe or £2million for the rest of the world but most travel insurance policies now offer cover beyond these figures and £5million is becoming quite standard and even higher figures are common. As with all insurances where health cover is required, there may be restrictions because of a particular medical condition for example, which may result in a higher premium to be paid. At the end of the day though, what you are paying for is ‘peace of mind’ and that is why it is so important to make sure you get cover before you go.  This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

If in doubt, declare it

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Most people taking out a new travel insurance policy are confused by the term pre-existing medical condition and it is an area that the insurance industry is currently trying to address and simplify. After all, medical conditions tend to be technically expressed, not always explained well and, if the condition is cured or controlled, often forgotten about over time. So why do insurers make such a song and dance about it? Well put simply, insurers argue that the medical cover provided by a travel insurance policy is there for emergency cover and is not a substitute for private medical insurance. There are specialist products on the market for private health care and all that travel insurance is covering for is the unforeseen medical emergency that might occur whilst on holiday and provide for hospital care in country and repatriation if required. Once back in the UK, patients can then use the NHS or individual private health care plan they may have in place. This allows travel insurance policies to have lower premiums than their private medical insurance equivalent though these premiums do vary considerably by area visited and the much higher medical costs in the USA will see North American destinations more costly than elsewhere. What travel insurance medical cover does have in its favour though is the wide network of specialist medical assistance companies to call in when an emergency does occur. The big question will always be “will I be covered if I have a medical history and what does that mean exactly?” All policies have similar interpretations but you should read the medical section of a policy before taking out that travel insurance. A medical history of heart, kidney, respiratory conditions or cancer should be always declared and this may very well be expanded to the medical history of close family members and travelling companions. The reason for this is to allow the insurance company to see what the potential risk is of you cancelling or curtailing your trip or falling ill whilst abroad. An insurance provider may well decline you insurance at this point or may offer to cover you for an additional premium or may even insure you but void any subsequent claims if related to the declared condition. Certainly you will not be covered if you travel against the medical advice of your doctor and there will be strict rules on when you can travel if pregnant. So do you need to declare? Yes, you do though not all declarations will result in a higher premium but provided you have done so and the insurer has provided you cover, then it will greatly simplify the process if you ever have to make a claim. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.