Anaphylaxis: has your travel insurance got it covered?

By on March 26, 2014
Travel

Here’s a little story about travel insurance and me.

Back in February, I booked our first abroad holiday post peanut allergy diagnosis. Giddy with having found an airline (Monarch) that said they would not sell and would ask passengers not to eat nuts, I merrily went ahead with booking our flights online. Would I like to book my airport parking too? Oh, go on then. Travel insurance as well? Why not!

Well, turns out there was a very good reason “why not”: Monarch’s travel insurance doesn’t cover “Pre-existing Medical Conditions”. Their website explains that a “Pre-existing Medical Condition” includes:

Monarch pre existing medical condition 14.3.14

Although it’s been at the back of my mind (and on my travel to do list) to “check travel insurance would cover anaphylaxis”, I hadn’t got round to it. Then I saw a tweet from a fellow allergy mum that spurred me into action. She’d been quoted £140 for anaphylaxis cover for her little one…

I called the insurers with two questions:

  1. Would our policy cover my son if he suffered anaphylaxis, and
  2. If not, how much would it cost to amend the policy so that it did.

The answer to question 1 was straightforward: “no”. You’d think the answer to question 2 would be simple too. However, alas, as I had a “flight policy”, anaphylaxis cover could not simply be added. I would need to cancel my existing policy and take out a new policy. Okay, so let’s do that then… Not so fast, first I needed to be transferred to the sales team to arrange the new policy. There followed an excruciating conversation about what level of cover I required (no matter how many times I said it, it seems my answer of “the same as the one I’m cancelling, but with anaphylaxis covered” wasn’t the appropriate response). Once I’d agreed to “bronze” cover or “second level cover”, or whatever it was, it was back to the medical conditions team, to go through the health screening questions, before someone could tell me the increased price.

Long story short, after being transferred round the houses, they could insure my son and his allergies, eczema and asthma… for an additional £80. If I hadn’t heard about someone having a £140 quote, I might have fallen off my chair. Apparently, if I wanted to cancel the policy, I’d need to be transferred to yet another department who would arrange a pro rata refund, minus a £20 admin fee.

Allergy UK suggests the following in respect of travel insurance:

Allergy UK helpful insurers

So I told Monarch I’d think about it and gave Worldwide Travelplan a call. I spoke to a single person in respect of both the price and the health questions, there was no technical jargon and the uplift for allergy, eczema and asthma cover was around £15.

Then back to Monarch to arrange the cancellation of the first policy. They couldn’t confirm the amount of my refund. This information would follow. Can you guess what’s coming? Yes, a call two days later to say I wouldn’t be getting a refund as, although my holiday hadn’t yet started, I’d already had the benefit of “cancellation cover” for a month.

Moral of the story?

  • Check whether a travel insurance policy covers anaphylaxis before you buy.
  • Act quickly (within the 14 days cooling off period) if you realise allergies aren’t covered and you need to cancel.
  • Definitely consider getting a quote from Worldwide Travelplan!

If anyone has any recommendations for allergy friendly travel insurance companies, please do post a comment below – I’d love to hear from you (for next year!).

About Louise @ NutMums

City solicitor turned full time mum and food allergy blogger. Writes and tweets (@nutmums) about all things peanut and nut allergy, from a parent's perspective.

3 Comments

  1. Louise @ NutMums

    April 7, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Nutmums readers have also recommended Clubdirect.com, John Lewis, Halifax (provided not had reaction in last 12 months) and Holiday Safe – see the Nutmums Facebook page for details: https://www.facebook.com/nutmums/posts/10151951557475308

  2. julie kaya

    July 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Hi there, just wanted to say thanks so much for this posting! It saved me well over £100. I travel infrequently with my 14 year old son who is severely allergic to nuts and also has oral allergy syndrome. Aside from the difficulties of managing his diet as many of you understand travel abroad can be stressful. We are going for a summer holiday to Turkey. I spent hours yesterday with the usual companies i go to – Sainsburies, Post office, Barclays. Their quotes were all well over £100 some hitting £180! My son hasn’t had a reaction for 8 years. But he did see a specialist a couple of weeks ago for a diagnosis of oral allergy syndrome (pollen which affects many fruits and raw salads). The systems in the insurance companies did not make this distinction.

    Anyway I called Philip Salt at Media Travel Insurance services (www.worldwidetravelplan.co.uk) who got me a quote based on all the correct information for £29.76. Whew! So thanks NutMums for saving a hard working self employed mum a ton in difficult times. X

  3. Louise @ NutMums

    July 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Julie – you’re very welcome! Glad Worldwide Travelplan were able to help you too. Have a great holiday and hope all goes smoothly on the allergies front. Louise

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