Medical screening is generally very straightforward and simply entails declaring any existing medical conditions you have to an insurer.
Some insurers have their customers declare their medical conditions after they sign up, though if you’re looking for a competitive travel insurance policy to protect yourself whilst travelling overseas, you should avoid insurers that operate like this because this is misleading and there’s a good chance the premiums you were originally quoted won’t be the premiums you pay.
Basically, medical screening must take place before you’re quoted premiums so you can compare one insurer’s premiums with those of another.
How is Medical Screening Conducted?
Most insurers make medical screening very straightforward for those interested in their travel insurance policies and medical screening usually entails a series of multiple-choice questions. These questions, although of a personal nature, should be answered correctly and honestly as they help the insurer to gauge the risk of insuring you and adjust their premiums accordingly.
Most insurers now conduct medical screening online, providing their customers with added privacy, though some still conduct medical screening over the phone. The majority of people prefer the online method, for in addition to added confidentiality, it also makes the process easier and there’s a lot less room for error, plus errors, whether accidental or intentional, could render your travel insurance policy void.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need to declare all your medical conditions, only those that the insurer asks you to declare; however, you need to declare each and every medical condition on their list, since failure to do so could see you wasting your insurance premiums, for if you were to fall ill and it came to light that you hadn’t declared an existing medical condition, one that was on the insurer’s list, they’re within their rights not to cover you.
This is an important consideration to bear in mind, because some people have declared only the medical conditions they want covered and have failed to declare the rest, usually in an attempt to reduce insurance premiums, though insurers are legally able to refuse you cover if it comes to light that you haven’t abided by the medical declaration.
It’s important to understand that insurers will often cover existing medical conditions at no extra charge if they don’t believe the condition will increase the risk of covering you, so be honest and abide by the medical declaration and if you’re not impressed with an insurer’s premiums, go through the process with another and you might find they offer you more competitive rates.
Potential Medical Screening Outcomes
There are a few potential outcomes after medical screening because not everyone receives a travel insurance quote as a result of undergoing medical screening.
If the insurer believes you’re a risk, they could offer you a standard travel insurance policy at a higher, often much higher, rate or the same rate but with special terms, for instance, higher excess payments.
Additionally, they might offer you a standard policy at the same rate with exclusions, i.e. you mightn’t be covered for your existing medical conditions, or they might consider you to be too much of a risk to insure and refuse to offer you insurance at all.
There are other factors to take into account here that could also influence the response you receive from an insurer when finding travel insurance after a heart attack or another severe medical condition, most notably, the destination to which you’re travelling.
Some countries and regions, particularly the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Cyprus, all of which are very popular tourist destinations, have very expensive medical care fees and insurers are naturally going to see your intended destination as greater potential risk in insuring you. As a result, you could find that you’re unable to take out travel insurance because of your intended destination and that you might have to look at travelling elsewhere.
Travel insurance is very much like the American Express ads of yesteryear in that they’re something you shouldn’t leave home without; moreover, although declaring existing medical conditions could push your premiums higher, failing to declare them could push your medical expenses higher still, so play it safe and abide by the medical declaration.