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New consumer awareness campaign launches to provide clarity when taking out travel insurance

The ABI is supporting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) campaign launched this week to help travellers stay safe and healthy abroad. The work builds on the existing 'Know Before You Go' campaign, and focusses on alerting consumers who have medical conditions about their travel insurance needs before they buy travel insurance.

Aidan Kerr, Head of Travel Insurance at the ABI, said:

"The main role of travel insurance is to protect travellers from the potentially very high cost of needing emergency medical treatment abroad, although many people still think a travel policy is mainly for lost baggage and cancellations. The average medical claim on a travel policy is £930, but medical bills often run into tens of thousands of pounds. If you have an existing medical condition, it is particularly important to make sure that you shop around for the right policy before booking the trip to ensure you are fully covered. You should discuss any questions or concerns with your insurer, and update them of any changes to your condition. Some complicated medical conditions may require a specialist insurance broker to find the right policy."

Sher Houston, from the 'Know Before You Go' team at the FCO, comments:

"We encourage all British nationals travelling overseas to prepare fully before departing. Taking out travel insurance, making sure it is the right insurance for you and taking the time to read your policy are the most important steps to take. A medical emergency abroad can be extremely expensive if you are not adequately insured, including for any pre-existing conditions, so investing in travel insurance and understanding what you are covered for can make all the difference.

"The FCO travel insurance page is a good place to start for advice and information."

The ABI and FCO's tips for travellers with existing medical conditions:

  • Make sure you answer questions about your medical history fully and honestly with the insurer. Contact your insurer to discuss any changes to your health condition before you travel. Ensure that you read policy documents carefully so that you understand what the policy will and won't cover you for.
  • Travellers with existing medical conditions can think about:
    • Using specialist insurers or brokers.
    • A single trip policy as opposed to an annual policy.
    • Travelling to another destination as the price of medical care can vary from country to country.
    • The quality of the local medical facilities in your destination
  • Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will entitle you to emergency state healthcare in the European Economic Area. However, this will not pay for travel back to the UK and the level of healthcare can vary between countries
  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-insurance for more advice, including buying travel insurance and what your insurance policy should cover.

For more on this announcement, read Aidan Kerr's blog.

Last updated 01/07/2016