When it comes to travel insurance there is all kinds of jargon used to define your policy that you might not understand. However failure to make sense of important aspects of your policy could be the thing that makes or breaks a valid policy and ultimately a successful claim. One of these terms is ‘medically underwritten’; many people require their policy to be medically underwritten, but what exactly does this mean?

What is medical underwriting?

Medical underwriting is a term that is used to refer to the use of medical or health information in the evaluation of an applicant for insurance coverage, typically health, life or travel insurance policies.  This is usually used either in a customers favour, or against them, when deciding if they should be granted a policy, how much coverage they get and the premium rate of the policy.

The insurer will examine factors such as your age  health history, any medication you are on, and the risk associated with providing any medical insurance for you. They may decline an offer, charge you a higher fee or limit the amount of coverage you get.

Why is this important for travel insurers?

Having a medically underwritten policy is particularly useful for travellers who may have a pre-existing medical condition, or a health history, that would possibly hinder their chances of getting coverage. While standard travel insurance might not cover them, being individually assessed by a professional means that a price can be set to fit your exact needs.

Travel insurers want to protect themselves against any potential risks, and if you are someone with a long medical history or a pre-existing condition, you pose a heightened risk. As you might imagine, if you have any health issues, an insurer deems you as more likely to file a claim, and thus you will probably have to pay a higher premium.

How does an insurer underwrite a policy?

Usually when determining a travel insurance policy an insurer will want to gather information from you about things including your age, any pre-existing medical conditions, the length and destination of your trip, and they will also require you to let them know if you are planning on including any extreme sports in your trip. Now, if you are someone that needs a little extra coverage because of factors relating to health, then there are a couple of additional things your insurer may require from you.

Medical underwriting can be done over the phone or by completing a medical questionnaire. By answering questions on your health, the insurer will, create a policy unique to your history and conditions. Any pre-existing condition that is declared will be covered and will have no stability clause.

The most important thing during this process is that you are honest with your insurer, even if it means you end up with a higher premium. If you are found out to have been dishonest on your application, this could void your insurance completely.