Dare to declare

Doctor and patient
Travel insurance

Comparetravelinsurance.com.au believes the travel insurance market has made great strides in reducing stigma attached to mental illness and advises travellers to always declare their pre-existing medical conditions, including mental illnesses. This is pertinent given that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK.

A study by the Australian travel insurance comparison site found that travellers have reservations about declaring anxiety to their travel insurer, with 76 per cent saying that they wouldn’t disclose this. Of these travellers, nearly 22 per cent said the reason for avoiding disclosure would be to keep their premiums down, while 54 per cent said that they didn’t think it was necessary to disclose.

However, according to insurers, travellers who fail to declare their pre-existing conditions risk invalidating their overseas medical coverage. Natalie Ball, Director of Comparetravelinsurance.com.au, said that, increasingly, insurers are evolving their policies to reflect a more modern approach to mental health. “In the past, most insurers wouldn’t cover conditions such as anxiety, placing blanket exclusions on all mental illnesses. However, the market is finally coming around to the vast number of the population living with mental health diseases. Seventy per cent of travel insurers now offer some sort of mental illness cover by assessment and travellers should take steps to research their options,” she said. “Insurers are increasingly recognising the need to overcome the stigma attached to mental illness. Cover is now easier to access for highly prevalent conditions like anxiety. By the same token, consumers should be forthcoming with their insurers, and feel comfortable doing so.”