Wednesday, 30 June 2010

the travel insurance saga

If you dip into the blog from time to time, you will know that Steve's mesothelioma has been stable on his last three assessments and that we have been out and about over the last year, traveling extensively in the UK on short breaks and visiting family and friends. 

You will also know that in spite of the cobweb of meso cancer cells lining his right lung like a thin rind, Steve is fit enough to jog around the park and walk into town and back. In fact, in that respect, he probably compares well with men a lot younger in years, especially those who smoke or are seriously overweight.  Currently he's not on medication, doesn't need a mobility aid or use oxygen.

How ironic therefore that when we decide to take a week's holiday abroad, getting travel insurance with his pre-existing medical condition is proving to be an uphill struggle.  So, for everyone out there with mesothelioma who wants to go overseas for a short break, here's a list of insurance companies who will decline cover, even though most of them are listed on the Macmillan website as businesses who specialize in providing insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions, including cancer. 

Save yourself the time, frustration and the cost of phoning the following companies if you want travel insurance which takes your mesothelioma into account - you will be turned away:

  • Saga
  • Age Concern
  • Freedom Insure
  • Travel Insured
  • Able2Travel
  • It's so easy
You WILL probably be able to get insurance which covers your mesothelioma from the following companies, but at a cost...In our case the price quoted by one company for one week's cover in an EU country exceeds the cost of our entire holiday (flights and accommodation for two!) and the other is more than the cost of Steve's flight.  It's like having to pay for Leo as the uninvited guest!
  • All Clear (£653.00 for Steve)
  • Free Spirit (£205.49 for Steve)
  • Insure Cancer ("in the hundreds" subject to written confirmation by Steve's oncologist that he is fit to fly)
As I write, we are still waiting to hear back from JD Travel Insurance who are brokers, but I'm not holding my breath.  

I think we will take the pragmatic approach and take out an insurance policy which waives any claim directly or indirectly related to Steve's medical condition, but which covers him for all the other usual stuff like delays, loss of luggage, theft etc.  

Having spent most of yesterday and part of this morning on this task I have had enough of answering more questions than the Spanish Inquisition, then being put on hold and having to listen to some horrible muzac only to be told that cover has been declined. Life's too short. And it brings home the horrible reality of being diagnosed with this disease. The financial implications of traveling abroad from now on are likely to get worse rather than better. Hardly surprising that people in Steve's circumstances pursue compensation claims for damages.

We'll need a holiday to recover from this less than joyous experience......

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