I actually co-own a travel insurance company (and am currently dealing with tonsil cancer).
You'll find with most travel insurances, the approach is straight forward.
Do you have a pre-existing medical condition ? OK, you can take a policy, but claims relating to it are excluded.
So unless you have a terminal prognosis with limited life expectancy, you can just jump online and buy a normal policy, but you have to be aware that claims arising from your past medical history are out.
(But anyone can slip and fall on cruise-ship stairs, anyone can get food poisoning and need a helicopter to medivac them to the nearest land-based hospital - and flights home from there - all that is normal for travel insurance).
There are providers out there that say they "specialise" in past medical problems .. you can send in a form (co-completed by your doctor) and seek ad-hoc approval for your medical history, and if granted you pay more .. but claims arising from it are covered.
But I can confidently say that these days, none will cover cancer.
(Sorry to be so straight about it .. that comes from more than a decade in the industry)
Example of claims excluded v claims covered:
- taxi crashes into a tree on the way to board the ship and you miss the boat: covered for a 'cancellation claim' (where you get compensated for all pre-paid stuff)
- the week before the cruise you get tummy cramps, and it's discovered that the cancer has grown and the doctor recommends more chemo: clearly excluded
- while away you get tummy cramps: provisionally covered, the insurer starts paying for choppers, hospital stay, etc, pending diagnosis; and:
a) they find out it's food poisoning: no worries, entire claim covered, medical transport home, all that
b) they find out the cancer has grown and is causing the pain: the insurer will help get you home as cheaply as possible, but at that point they'll declare they are not liable for ongoing costs (and may or may not try and recover money they already shelled out .. normal ones won't, they absorb it, but you never can tell)
The above is just anecdotal viewpoint of me - not representing the company or anything - just giving a broad consumer's overview of how this stuff works.
If you look seriously at any product, you need to read the PDS (a document called the "Product Disclosure Statement" which outlines all the terms & conditions etc etc)
What you didn't mention was whether one MUST declare their cancer diagnosis to get insurance to travel. If you do, they want to charge you the earth, but if you don't the price is reasonable but what are the consequences of not revealing it given you said no plan covers cancer? All I wanted (now overseas) was to ensure my bags were protected under insurance should they go astray and I need to buy a few clothes, and should I be in an accident when overseas (your taxi analogy) but once I said I'd had a cancer diagnosis, despite the treatment being only surgery to remove the tumor and no follow up radiation or chemo required, I became a leper in their responses to the cost for coverage! In the end, I just tagged on insurance to my flight without revealing my condition!
That's not exactly how it works.
Here's the rough thrust of how insurance (specifically travel insurance) approaches cancer.
1) it is a "pre-existing medical condition"
2) you are actually NOT specifically required to disclose a pre-existing condition (you can just buy a "normal" policy that excludes all claims arising from a pre-existing condition), the insurers cant stop you from doing this
3) you do have a thing called a DUTY OF DISCLOSURE
4) this duty requires you disclose any circumstance that might change an insurer's mind about covering you
5) specifically: this means terminal conditions or any condition that is likely to arise in a claim (so controlled cancer, clearly defined and excluded, normally doesnt trigger this duty, however, if you have immune-compromise issues or a terminal diagnosis, it can)
6) (informal) it's better to apologise than ask permission, although yes the insurer can contest claims based on the Duty of Disclosure
7) Number 6 meaning - the insurance industry recognises that consumers don't read the Product Disclosure Statements, so the ombudsman and regulator uses a "what's fair" litmus test when resolving disputes. (Under the General Code of Practice" all insurers licensed in Australia agree to be bound by the regulator (ASIC)'s decisions regarding disputes .. so consumers can be pretty confident about getting a fair tug). If you buy a normal policy and later go through a disputed claim, youre much better off than if you travel uninsured or self-insured.
I represent a company called Simply Travel Insurance (www.simplytravelinsurance.com.au), this is my business .. but please understand the above advice is given as a general member of the public, and it's not binding or specific to the STI (or any other) policy. It's just a bloke talking about how he understands the system works (but yeah, I do have a special understanding).
DISCLAIMER: The info above is informal and may be inaccurate, you can't use it against me or an insurer in any future claim or legal scenario. (Think of it as just me, bull**bleep**tin'). For the real, formal information, you need to go direct to the insurance company or their agent/vendor.
That makes a lot of sense. I think I'll ask for forgiveness later as my cancer isn't terminal and I'm not receiving nor have had to receive "active treatment" other than the initial surgery to remove the tumours. Thank you!
In a nutshell, mate - that's how it works.
So when you travel, you know that claims arising from your cancer are excluded - if something goes wrong relating to your cancer, the policy thinks of it as "at your own risk and cost"
But you can have peace of mind that all of the normal travel scenarios are fine.
In my original post, I covered some "grey" areas and how they work .. (the food poisoning example), that's where the dispute process comes into play. Quite often the insurer pays out preliminary medical claims - initial treatment and investigation of stuff like nausea .. on the basis that it happens to everyone.
But if they find out it arises from the cancer, they "pull the plug" so to speak (on paying costs I mean), and firmly point you back to the policy. If they feel you travelled with a severe problem (terminal prognosis, autoimmune compromise, that stuff), they can potentially even come at you with a "we paid claims we didn't have to because you did not disclose to us". (But they never/seldom do that, it's just more expensive and bad PR - but it CAN happen).
But all the normal holiday claims unrelated to cancer .. you're fine. In those scenarios I wouldnt even mention the cancer .. it just muddies the waters, especially if you're dealing with junior case officers. If your taxi hit a tree on the way to the airport and you missed your flight connecting to your cruise departing from Fiji and you're now out $20,000 .. just make your cancellation claim. The cancer is irrelevant in that regard.
Again, just a public citizen bull**bleep**tin', so don't quote me or send the dogs after me if something goes wrong .. disclaimers happen left, right & centre in insurance, heh.
I am having trouble getting even basic travel cover as my last surgeries were 26/3/18 and 4/7/18. As soon as it's known it's within the past year even a basic policy will be declined . What if I fall and break my leg???? No sorry we can't insure you you've had cancer in past 12 months . My husband can't get insurance either as he's travelling with me . Any help????? Thanks all x
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