International travel is gaining quick popularity among senior citizens in India. As per a recent media report, the number of senior travellers in the travel and tourism industry has grown by 15% in the last one decade. Moreover, by the end of year 2030, there will be over 7.3 million outbound senior travellers from India alone.
But, there is a dark reality – old age is a rather conflicting phase of life. Though one may have enough time than ever to do anything and everything in life, the body may not allow enjoying all the adventures. Adding to it is a recent report that claims only one in five people get the required travel insurance because of their pre-existing health problems. However, even if you have a disability or suffer from a pre-existing disease, it should be no bar to enjoying a trip abroad.
Thankfully, with numerous travel insurance plans available in the market, you can certainly ensure your parents’ well-being while they are travelling abroad. Moreover, having a pre-existing medical condition doesn’t mean that your travel insurance has to be expensive. Rather, it simply means that you need to dig a little deeper when doing your research.
So, what you need to learn is, if you or any of your family members suffer from a disability or pre-existing medical condition, there are a few things to be aware of when zeroing on travel insurance.
Pre-existing Disease Cover – All You Need to Know
Most of the travel insurance plans have an exclusion component for pre-existing medical conditions, which means you are not covered for a pre-existing disease when travelling outside the country. Usually, a pre-existing medical condition includes critical illness, injury, disease or any other medical condition that occurs prior to the travel dates.
However, in order to make sure that a pre-existing disease does not bars you from enjoy a trip abroad, many insurers have introduced dedicated plans that cover costs relative to pre-existing medical conditions. Under this cover, the insured is offered a waiver to the exclusion. In simpler words, having a pre-existing coverage in effect means that the medical coverage provided to you by your insurer remains completely active as the pre-existing exclusion is waived.
Know Your Medical History
The most important thing to learn before zeroing on a travel insurance that covers pre-existing diseases is that each insurer has different terms for covering pre-existing conditions. While some insurers may ask for last 10 years medical history, others may just ask for the past six months history. It is advised to read the terms and conditions of the insurer to check how much medical history one needs to disclose. Also, the conditions covered and additional costs that apply vary between different insurers and policies.
Tell Your Insurer
We all know that medical costs outside India can be very expensive and especially if you are on a holiday. To avoid getting trapped in a situation where you have to pay hefty hospital bills, you must let your travel insurer know of any pre-existing medical condition that you have. In case you fail to provide this information to your insurer before buying the policy, you may be left facing a massive medical bill when you make a claim. Most of the travel insurance providers have a long list of pre-existing medical conditions that they cover for free. However, if in case you have a pre-existing medical condition not listed with the insurer, you may be still able to get cover for an additional premium.
Typical Conditions That Need To Be Assessed
Some of the typical conditions that need to be assessed by the insurer before buying travel insurance include heart problems, related problems such as coronary angiography for checking if you have a pacemaker or if you have suffered from a stroke, epilepsy, deep vein thrombosis or related condition in the last two years. However, there are some conditions that insurers may not cover including terminal illness, awaiting surgery, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and congestive heart failure.
Know the Facts
First, not all travel insurances are created equally as each comes with a different set of benefits and terms. While some will have more generous wording around the medical part of the policy, others may mostly talk about the lost baggage or cancellation policy. Second, it is important for you to be completely honest about your medical history and disabilities, when filling your travel insurance medical declaration form. It may seem alluring to leave such information in order to secure a lower premium. Doing so gives insurers the prerogative of rejecting your claims or capping the pay outs. People above the age of 60 must learn that the cost of their travel insurance will be higher than people in their 30s.
Getting the Right Travel Insurance
People with some critical illness, such as cancer or heart disease, will find that their insurer charges extra premium for the cover or else they need to struggle to find the required travel insurance. It is always advised to contact the insurer for a special screening process and purchase a well-tailored insurance matching specific needs and requirements. With a medical screening, the insurers can easily understand the stability of a particular condition and whether there has been any deterioration or change in the recent past.
(Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer-General Insurance, Policybazaar.com)