Travel insurance and anticoagulants - AF Association

AF Association

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Travel insurance and anticoagulants

DK81 profile image

I have discovered that a higher premium may be required if one is taking an anticoagulant after having had a stroke (and possibly without a stroke experience). Thus, although anticoagulation is considered to reduce the risk of a serious medical episode, it may increase the likelihood of a major travel insurance claim in the eyes of the underwriter.

I made this discovery by accident. One of the medical questions originally asked upon application was: "Are you on medication to thin the blood (excluding aspirin and clopidogrel)?" For reasons unknown the answer "No" appeared in the subsequent insurance documentation. When I reported that I was taking Apixaban, I was advised that a significantly higher premium was payable, without which the insurance would be invalid.

So beware!

20 Replies

Yes beware but always answer fully and truthfully or the consequences could be extremely costly.

I would recommend keying in your details and see what a site such as Moneysupermarket comes up with for starters. The differing rates can be quite alarming.

BobD profile image

The correct answer to that question is NO. Anticoagulants do NOT thin blood! Stupid irriates.

Yorkie1 profile image
Yorkie1 in reply to BobD

I understand your point but the number of people calling them blood thinners is only likely to rise if the NHS calls them blood thinners. I have my admissions letter for my ablation together with a booklet about the ablation and throughout they call them blood thinners (anti-coagulants).

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to Yorkie1

Of course but I would hope everybody knows I am being facetious ! If it ever came up on an applicataion I would of course correct them . I think one should also challenge any excess and ask if they would rather you had a stroke . I can see no justification whatsoever for loading a policy for taking prophylcatic medication and would shop around till I found a company that understands medical matters. Aspirin and clopidogrel are actually more likely to cause harm than most anticoagulants as most should know.

DK81 profile image
DK81 in reply to BobD

You seem to be the only respondent who has properly understood the issue I raised! It was not really about the term blood thinners, nor about the cost of, or need for, travel insurance, but about the underwriter's (underwriters' maybe) perception of risk. Thank you!

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to DK81

Actually I think we did get that - which is why it is better to go to insurer’s who specialise in providing insurance for medical conditions. Many companies load their prices simply because they don’t want to take on people with medical conditions,

The trouble is that we all know what they mean, whatever you might want them to be called, and I would MUCH rather pay a little more than not be covered. I declare 3 serious conditions and the difference in premium for Europe including Spain was £20 for an 18 day stay. Are you really going to risk not being insured for £20 or so difference? From memory - it was £18 difference.

Age is as significant as conditions in calculating premiums, including destination and sports and whether single premium or annual. I can no longer get annual policy because I am considered too high a risk but short term cover in Europe is not a problem. Longer haul & US is now not an option though. I think my last quote for cover in the US was £1k plus for 3 week trip!

Stay with the specialist medical insurers and it’s not too big an issue for most of us.

Pacific profile image
Pacific in reply to CDreamer

My multi trip international policy ( family overseas) was £300 and my husband’s £200 with All Clear. Otherwise we run the risk of bankruptcy, by not being sufficiently covered.

I’ve had nurses called anticoagulants blood thinners. Perhaps they think they are dumbing it down for the patients, and mean to be helpful, but it is irritating...

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to Pacific

I agree it is irritating but I think it is now just habit which continues to be replicated. I don’t think people who use this expression realise how irritating it is or how very misleading and worrying it can be for people newly diagnosed and coming to anticoagulants for the first time as it gives the impression that are blood is being thinned and will somehow leak out more.

in reply to Pacific

I think you're right about the ' dumbing down 'bit! Like you I pay heavy travel ins premiums for peace of mind and to avoid bankruptcy !

in reply to CDreamer

I have had a quote for 3k for transatlantic cruise....2 weeks ! Since found one a bit cheaper but still over 2k!

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to

That is totally ridiculous. I paid £89 in 2017 for 10 days cruising in Iceland. I have to say that travel company who specialise in cruises for older people withdrew my insurance 3 days before we were supposed to leave which I was absolutely furious about - think I posted about it. Travelinsurance4you - came to the rescue and were £10 cheaper anyway - they are part of the World First group. BUT I couldn’t even get a quote online - I rang them, went through a much more personalised question process and even though I was at that time waiting for a procedure - no problem.

Age though is an issue though and getting any type of insurance for my husband who will be 85 in January is a lot more problematic.

in reply to CDreamer

I have made a note of this company and will try it first before I make a booking in the new year. I prefer to speak and discuss my conditions as several are not as bad as they sound. For example, I have to put Angina on my form simply because the condition was mentioned on my GPs notes. I had uncomfortable feeling in chest prior to going into AF several years ago. GP said prob angina but nothing else since BUT was told I have to declare it as it was mentioned in my notes. I have had no treat ment, or angiogram. There are times when it is best to keep out of docs surgery and rely on doc Google !!

I am covered for all of my conditions under my union’s policy, I am out of trade (retired) but kept my union card mainly for the free annual multi trip policy.

I don’t have to tell them about anything but cannot use it if I have been advised not to travel or any of my conditions have been diagnosed as terminal. Given I have a blood cancer, chronic kidney stage3, AF, cerebral Vascular Disease, Hypothyroidism and a few other things I thought no it’s a good deal that many overlook

in reply to Yorkie1

Yorkie, that's interesting because I've just been talking about travel insurance to a friend ....she has annual travel ins included in her house ins policy and does not have to declare anything unless her GP has advised against travel ( Direct line). Sounds a bit too good to be true to me but that's the way it appears. Feel I ought to look into that myself!

Yorkie1 profile image
Yorkie1 in reply to

Have a look at it but obviously check what you have to tell them. I’ve used it on numerous holidays and cruises all over the world so it has probably saved me a fair bit.

They even do it with just blood pressure tablets

seasider18 profile image
seasider18 in reply to Morzine

BP medication I found was OK with two tablets but when increased to three added £60 to the annual premium. The next year I told them that I had a then very small aortic aneurysm (3.1 cm) and they did not want to insure me so I asked them to exclude it from the policy.

We have travel insurance through our Nationwide Flexplus bank account until we are 75. The account now costs £13 a month, but has free world-wide travel insurance which I topped up to include trips of 90 days, my husband's off-road biking and my AFib. We were much better off even after paying a lump sum (about £180 annually) to top-up. Their bank card doesn't charge for withdrawals abroad, and their credit card has no surcharge on purchases either, so it really works for us.

Insurance is not mainly about risk, that is only one aspect, it's mainly about exploiting any opportunity to increase the premium. That way having never had an accident since 1983, I had a sub 5 mph bump at a road junction last year, and despite having protected no claims my premium Increased this year!

Go on compare the market or similar and get the cheapest with any decent defacto rating.

I was a saga devotee for quite a while for travel insurance ( being over qualifying age) but I got a really crap quote on their website either last year or the year before, so went on a comparison site and got a much better quote ( nor sure exactly now but i think 60% ish) good defacto, score from..... saga!!! Do not show loyalty! You do not get it back.

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