Do you declare you're a coeliac on Holiday Insurance applications

Its that time of the year again when I need to take out holiday insurance. I'm wondering if I have to declare the fact that I am a coeliac. Would anyone else? Have they? Did the insurance company increase the premium? What about high blood pressure (kept down by medication) and osteoporosis? Do they have to be declared? Will the insurance company bump the premium up for those things?

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  • Good question Phil. I'm a fairly 'cautious annie' so I declared it when I was shopping around for a break 6 mths after I was diagnosed with CD. What I found was that the advertised companies recommended by many coeliac societies were actually more expensive than the normal bods. So I just browsed online and I chose Columbus Travel insurance (I think you can do an online quote without signing your life away so you can get a good representation of what the price is by declaring or not declaring).

    However, the general rule about travel insurance is that if there's any pre-existing condition that you've not declared they can argue they won't cover you when your desperate for help abroad. They often ask questions in the screening process like 'Have you attended hospital in the last year and why' which for many Coeliacs who have annual check ups they should declare. So I thought to myself 'Hmm what if we end up in a crash on our driving holiday and I break a leg. Do I really want them having any wiggle room not to pay my medical bills?'. I think like most things in life 'honesty is the best policy'. Plus when I shopped around I found that most insurers didn't bat an eyelid as CD is a lifelong condition and it shouldn't require expensive medical treatment even if you get glutened abroad. Ref the high blood pressure etc. That'll all be in the fine print of what insurers consider 'medical conditions' you have to declare. They see some as more high risk than others. Hopefully if you do need to declare the high blood pressure which is managed by medication that makes you lower risk than say someone who has had a heart bypass!

    My top tip is shop online and do consider getting annual cover as that's often cheaper. Plus if you are due to travel in a month's time or are embarking on a long haul trip consider starting the insurance from when you purchase it vs when you travel. That way you may qualify for a refund if you discover you can't travel ahead of your actual travel date. The consumer finance site 'Martin's Money Saving Expert' may well have a lot more travel insurance tips. Whilst not Coeliac specific I am sure there's some great tips on his site as he's very passionate about sharing the best deals with consumers: moneysavingexpert.com/

    I think that this is an under discussed topic in the Coeliac community so I'm keen to see what everyone else's experience has been and who they've booked with to get a good deal.

  • Thanks Fiona.

    I'm convinced that honesty is the best policy and I will shop around. Shame about the recommended insurance companies charging us coeliacs more.

    Just the kind of friends we don't really need aren't they.

    I know that on the 'Insure and Go' site I can declare medical conditions and their robot will tell me how much the premium is increased by.

    I'll get a couple of quotes and report back.

  • Great Phil, it's always handy to get some up to date info. Look forward to the update!

  • I've been trying to get quotes all afternoon. Some of these sites drive you around the bend!

    Eventually I took the 'silver' level from insure & go.

    For Insure and Go annual world cover, two people, 56 and 61, they charge the following additional premiums for me:

    osteoporosis (no broken bones as yet ) £10.86

    Coeliac £4.35

    Hypersension (2 medications, same for last 6 months) £10.86

    total add-ons for 3 conditions = £26.07

    I also looked at what Columbus would add on for each condition.

    Coeliac: £23.40

    Hypertension: £31:20

    Osteoporosis: £37.30

    But if you declared all three they only added on £35.14 for all 3 conditions.

    Also got a phone quote from Virgin Insurance on a like for like basis:

    They would add on £30.67 for the 3 conditions.

    There isn't very much between all of these add-on costs, except that Columbus work out their total differently. I think they use the same medical screening software - they all ask the same questions - and I got fed up with repeating the answers.

    Interestingly I am covered for winter sports holidays but can't be covered for medical treatment for broken bones. Looks like if I want to go skiiing it could cost an arm and a leg!

  • Wow Phil I know your pain as I recall doing this a while ago. Kinda makes staycations in the UK seem worthwhile after all doesn't it?! At least the add on prices are relatively cheap. I think you're best off avoiding ski-ing (or just doing that in Scotland, less far to be trained back to good health!) all that cold and falling over? Soak up some sun and vitamin D. Don't forget to ask for travel tips. We might have a few people who are from where you are travelling too.

  • I don't like holidays in the UK, and sympathise with anyone who can't get abroad. Only yesterday I was in Great Yarmouth, hungry, with nothing to eat. (looking for cheap fast food for four of us rather than an expensive restaurant where I would have to confront the staff/manager/chef etc..). Found a beachfront cafe where they could fry up some chips in a pan that was only used for chips because an increasing number of people with particular religious requirements were asking for them in the UK (not coeliacs).

    We now go for 'all inclusive' holidays abroad because they have self service buffets and there is always something I can eat. 24 hour all inclusive usually means that snacks are pasta or pizza, so no good for me in one way, but healthier because I don't have snacks.

    Anyone been to Cuba? I understand they eat a lot of rice and maize.

  • Thanks for the info Phil. Have you checked Co Op for travel insurance?

    I would be honest about everything if I were you. Because if you ever have to make a claim the insurance company will do everything they can to not have to pay out and when their people check your medical records they'll be looking for anything that you haven't declared and won't pay you a penny in compensation. Shame but there you go, that's insurance companies for you.

    PS: I've never been to Cuba but I hear it's a wonderful place to visit and so much good GF food.

  • Cheers Moon. Insurance sorted.

    Just got an email from the public relations officer at the hotel in Cuba saying not to worry about gluten free because they are familiar with the problem and have dealt with it many times before.

    They have a letter in Spanish, explaining coeliac, ready prepared, for me to show at the restaurants in the hotel, and I will get to meet the head chef on arrival. How cool is that?

    Now looking forward to the holiday.

  • I have my insurance through my bank account (Barclays), and I ring them faithfully every time I go away to tell them about my chronic asthma, severe nut allergy and coeliac, and they couldn't care less!

    Having said that, I have heard others saying they struggle, so I wonder if this is a case of ill informed staff, or if I'm just lucky.

    Have a lovely holiday!

  • Thanks ThatPandaGirl!

    There are some insurance companies that have a list of pre-existing medical conditions that are already covered in their basic policy, so they don't need to charge extra for them because their basic premium cost is higher than that other companies.

    I suspect the risk calculators at Barclays know exactly what chances they are taking when they sell their policies, and the odds are always loaded so that they continue to make billions in profit when everyone else is losing money.

    I bank with Barclays because I can't be bothered to keep moving my account around and have been with them for nearly 40 years. Customer loyalty isn't one of their selling points.

    Did you shop around for the best insurance deal or just take the first that came along? Sometimes its worth paying extra to avoid wasting time searching for the best price only to find you've saved yourself a couple of pounds. I would do the same when buying a holiday, and would proudly say so to any of the 'should have gone to' brigade.

    It hadn't occured to me that Barclays did travel insurance. I will look into it when it comes up for renewal.

    Meanwhile, I just can't wait to get away from all of this hassle!

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