Tips on buying travel insurance for those with special needs

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Summer 2007 was undoubtedly one of the wettest and dreariest in UK history. It is therefore no surprise that record numbers of Britons have flocked to foreign holiday destinations in search of sun, sand and surf. Most holidaymakers are well aware of the need for travel insurance in order to protect themselves in case of an emergency. Those vacationers with special needs, however, require more than just basic travel insurance. Here are a few guidelines for travellers with special needs who wish to purchase holiday insurance.

Medical Conditions

These days, insurers are often willing to provide assistance and specialized packages to holidaymakers with chronic medical conditions. However, some insurers remain reluctant to provide travel insurance for people who suffer from heart conditions, epilepsy and cancer. If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, obtaining holiday insurance is often even harder.
Under these circumstances, it is best to contact support groups that provide help for individuals with your illness. These organizations often maintain lists of insurers who are willing to provide insurance for people suffering with certain medical conditions. In addition, specialist medical insurers will often be able to provide you with insurance at an affordable rate.
If you will be requiring continual treatment whilst on holiday (for example, dealing with kidney dialysis) then you will need to fill out form E112 which is available from the British Department of Health. (Telephone: 020 7210 4850). This form will ensure that you are provided with medical assistance if you are holidaying in an EEA country. However, your physician will need to authorize your use of this service.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women face many travel restrictions. For a start, many airlines do not allow expectant mothers to travel beyond a certain point in their pregnancy. British Airways allows women to travel until their 28th week. Travel beyond this date requires approval by a doctor.
Insurers are generally willing to provide cover for pregnant women up to the 28th week. But conditions vary, and it is likely that you will have to shop around for a decent deal. Pregnant women travelling within the EEA can qualify for maternity care. Check with your insurance provider for further details.

Elderly Travellers

Obtaining travel insurance as a senior citizen can sometimes be a complicated process. Many insurers are unwilling to provide cover for holidaymakers over the age of 70 as they are more susceptible to contracting an illness while on vacation. Specialist providers are generally your best bet, but don't expect specialist insurance from companies such as Saga and Age Concern to come cheap. If you already suffer from a chronic condition, then it is wiser to consider buying cover from a specialist medical insurer.
Even though obtaining holiday insurance can be a complicated process for those with special needs, it is strongly advised to only travel with some form of cover. Further information on the matter may be obtained for the Association of British insurers.


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