Travellers are risking bankruptcy by failing to declare medical issues.

Experts have issued a stern warning, that failure to withhold health information to insurers could have devastating financial implications.

Speaking in a debate on under declaration of medical conditions Dr Paul Beven, managing director of Healix Risk Rating, Said: “You wouldn’t want to have the warning ‘Failure to disclose a pre-existing condition puts your house at risk’ on every page, but it’s important to get the message across. Always make sure you completely declare your medical conditions. It’s easy and simple to do it. And you will get offered a price for your cover, almost without exception.”

ABTA, the travel association revealed that 27 per cent of British holidaymakers went abroad last year with no travel insurance or inappropriate cover. This has prompted the government to release an awareness campaign warning holidaymakers to take the issue seriously.

By not telling their insurance companies about pre-existing medical conditions or by taking part in activities not covered by policy, an estimated 9.9 million travellers risk the insurer turning down a claim.  Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive, told the Independent: “Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without sufficient travel insurance. While not declaring existing medical conditions or taking part in activities that aren’t covered are easy mistakes to make, they can be very costly, leaving holidaymakers and their families with expensive medical bills.”

The Foreign Office is running an awareness campaign emphasising that the government will not pay hospital bills for British travellers who fall ill abroad, nor organise medical evacuation. The average settlement in a travel insurance claim is £1,296, but in some serious cases the cost of medical treatment and repatriation can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Before travelling abroad, it is important to buy the right travel insurance. This guidance aims to help travellers choose the right travel insurance to meet their needs. For example:

  • The very high costs you might face for emergency medical treatment and help getting back to the UK if you are uninsured.
  • The importance of understanding what your insurance does and does not cover. This might include for example your destination, particular requirements for insurance to cover cruises, certain sports and a range of leisure activities, or other needs you may have. It is also very important to answer any questions from your insurer on existing medical conditions.
  • A wide range of help to find insurers, specialist advice and different policies are available to meet your needs, including any specific health requirements. You should shop around to get the best value for money, but the cheapest policy may not cover all your needs.
  • When you travel, make sure you carry details of your insurance including emergency telephone numbers to contact your insurer. Leave copies with family or friends.
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