Applying for Travel Insurance? Get Your Doctor’s Help.

Know what’s in your medical record when applying for travel insurance.  It’s your responsibility to provide accurate, complete information about your health—even if your doctor doesn’t always tell you everything. Pleading ignorance won’t prevent a claim denial.

Medical applications can be daunting. Some are long. Most use legal or medical jargon (or a combination of both), and they all require accurate complete information about your health, perhaps going back several years.  There’s no way around it, without knowing your health status, insurers can’t really make a sound decision about taking a chance on insuring you. This is not like betting on a horse race.

Travel insurance is not a substitute for your government health insurance. It’s for emergencies only: it has a lot of limitations and exclusions. But without it, you wouldn’t be able to travel the world as easily and securely as you do.

If you any kind of a chronic condition, or symptoms for which you regularly see a physician, or for which you take medication, or for which you have been referred for specialists’ care or tests, it’s best to ask your doctor for help when completing a medical application for insurance. Get the doctor to level with you and tell you everything that’s in your medical record. Too many doctors only harm their patients by withholding information—perhaps they don’t want to worry them, or they don’t want to interfere with their winter vacation, or they don’t have the time to explain the details of certain findings. This can lead to catastrophic financial results if you encounter a claim for emergency services while travelling and your insurer later finds out that you failed to accurately or completely disclose your medical history—even though you did so innocently, unaware of what was in your doctor’s medical records.

Discuss your application with your physician.  Discuss the terms of coverage, the limitations, exclusions and definitions.  Make your family doctor  aware that the questionnaire relies on facts and not necessarily on your doctor’s opinion of whether or not you should be travelling.  Doctors can play a critical role in securing your travel insurance benefits. But they have to know what that role is, and it may be up to you to educate them.

Medical applications and eligibility requirements are not mere formalities. Insurers take them seriously.

So must you.

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