A British traveller was left with a £30,000 medical bill after getting diagnosed with a kidney tumour whilst on holiday. The lady was enjoying a holiday in Cape Verde in January 2018 when the tumour was found, she was airlifted to Tenerife for surgery and needed two blood transfusions. Her was insured with Coverwise but whilst in intensive care, the underwriter AXA agreed to pay a third of her medical costs due to not declaring her medical history fully.
Whilst purchasing the policy online the women clicked no to a question asking whether you have taken prescribed medication in the last five years altering the options in the results. The missing medical condition, insomnia where a single prescription of sleeping tablets had been issued in the past led her to say:
“It never occurred to me to mention occasional bouts of insomnia, I bought a policy that promised to cover me for ‘unforeseen accidents and illnesses’ while abroad and the tumour was totally unforeseen. I am appalled to discover that insurance companies can refuse claims when a pre-existing medical condition bears absolutely no relation to the reason for the claim. £30,000 is my life savings, my pension, everything.”
Travellers who feel that they have been treated unfairly can forward the issue to The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). In the last twelve months it has upheld thirty six percent of complaints. The FOS does advise that travel insurance can be one of the most complex financial products purchased by an individual due to the massive range of risks possible.