Travellers with health problems sometimes inadvertently, or even deliberately, neglect to declare pre-existing medical conditions when purchasing travel insurance. For those who are new to travel insurance it is a very important matter and worth taking the time to research and understand.
When you purchase travel insurance, which is often done online these days, you will be asked to declare any pre-existing medical problems. Obviously, serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer have to be declared. However, it may or may not be obvious that pre-existing medical problems also include many more common ailments and conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, as well as any recent investigations, diagnosis or hospital stay.
Younger people heading off on gap-year adventures or round the world trips may not think that this section applies to them because they are young and in good health. However, no matter what age the traveller the rules are the same. Declaring pre-existing medical conditions applies to everyone, no matter how healthy they may be at the time they book travel and purchase insurance. A good basic backpacker policy should also include cover for medical expenses, air ambulance and medical repatriation - but all pre-existing conditions must be declared.
The bottom line is that if you fail to declare a medical condition and then experience a medical problem related to that condition while overseas your insurance provider is very likely to refuse to cover your claim - and this could become very costly indeed. Some people may decide not to declare a condition when they purchase insurance because they fear it will make the premium too expensive, but this is false economy.
In some cases there may be an increase in the premium to purchase travel insurance to cover a pre-existing medical condition, but it is better to be honest and pay a bit more than face having to pay for hospital treatment abroad if the worst should happen. Paying a bit more for your policy and having the peace of mind of knowing you are covered is crucial, and could save you a bundle if you experience a problem. Wouldn't it also be nice to know that with insurance you have a lifeline to call if disaster strikes, and a helpful voice to reassure and guide you.