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What happens if you don’t declare medical conditions for travel insurance?

About 15 million people in England alone have a long-term medical condition. Not all health conditions are long term. Consequently, many people are not aware that they need to declare their pre-existing medical condition when buying Travel Insurance. Then again, many people just forget.

However, failure to disclose a pre-existing medical condition could have a devastating impact…

The consequences of not declaring your pre-existing medical conditions

If you don’t disclose you’re pre-existing medical conditions your Travel Insurance policy may become invalid. This could result in you having to pay extensive medical bills should the worse happen.

If your policy is invalid – you’ll have to personally pay the costs for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Medication
  • Consultation
  • Repatriation

To provide some perspective, with regards to the cost of medical bills abroad, the average cost of hospital stay for a stroke patient ranges from $20,396 to $43,652 in the USA. Given that 100,000 Brits have a stroke each year – it wouldn’t be unlikely for a Brit to suffer this misfortune while on holiday.

The GHIC scheme covers some medical costs without the need for Travel Insurance in EU countries. However, not all elements of medical treatment are covered. For example, the only way to cover the costs of repatriation is with comprehensive Travel Insurance.

Typical costs of repatriation

USA to UK air ambulance – £50,000
Caribbean to UK air ambulance – £60,000
South America to UK air ambulance – £70,000

What is classed as a pre-existing medical condition?
For the purposes of travel insurance, a pre-existing medical condition is any illness or injury you’ve experienced symptoms, treatment, investigations, surgery, or medical appointments within the last 5 years.

A few examples of common pre-existing medical conditions include:

You’ll also be asked a few questions about your condition when taking out Travel Insurance – such as:

  • How many medications do you take?
  • If you’re awaiting surgery?
  • Have you had any unplanned hospital admissions?

When buying Travel Insurance, it may be worth phoning your chosen Travel Insurance provider. That way they’ll be able to help guide you through the screening process.

What if you have an undiagnosed condition?

If you’re still awaiting a diagnosis, please read our guide to declaring undiagnosed conditions.

How AllClear can help you travel safely

AllClear is a specialist medical travel insurance provider. Therefore, we can offer cover for medical conditions that other providers can’t. So far we’ve covered 1300 different conditions and over 3.5 million people.

CEO of AllClear Travel Group, Chris Rolland, states: “Travel Insurance provides freedom but only if it’s valid. Declaring you’re pre-existing is essential. It’s good to ask if at any point you’re unsure with regards to what counts and what doesn’t. After all, safety is a top priority.

Benefits of AllClear Cover

Gold Gold Plus Platinum
Emergency medical expenses and Repatriation costs Up to £10m Up to £15m Unlimited
Cancellation* and Curtailment Up to £2k Up to £15k Up to £25k
Travel Delay Up to £300 Up to £1,500 Up to £1,500
Recuperation stay
Personal Belongings Up to £2k Up to £2.5k Up to £3k
Personal liability Up to £2m Up to £2m Up to £2m
Legal protection cover Up to £50k Up to £50k Up to £100k
* If you buy a policy which includes cancellation cover
All these figures are per person and per trip

Author notes

Written by Lydia Crispin, MA Content Creator at AllClear
Edited by Letitia Smith, M.Sc. Content Manager at AllClear

Written by: Lydia Crispin | Travel Insurance Expert
Last Updated: 26 February 2024

† Based on Trustpilot reviews of all companies in the Travel Insurance Company category that have over 70,000 reviews as of January 2024. AllClear Gold Plus achieved a Which? Best Buy.