Are you insured? You may not be covered by your travel insurance if you haven’t been vaccinated!

06/12/14

You may not be covered by your travel insurance if you don't have your travel vaccinations.

When booking an exotic holiday, the cumbersome tasks of ensuring vaccinations are up to date and arranging appropriate travel insurance are often overlooked. It is common for travellers to leave such tasks to the last minute. Some vaccinations require a course to obtain the best level of immunity and this can take up to 6 weeks. However, being vaccinated late is still better than not being vaccinated at all. Many countries within Africa and South America are part of the yellow fever zone and affected countries may require proof of yellow fever vaccination to permit entry. Always plan to visit your travel health clinic at your earliest convenience to ensure you have time to receive relevant vaccinations for your trip. Book now!

If you choose to travel unvaccinated and get sick whilst abroad due to a vaccine preventable tropical disease, you may not be covered by your travel insurance. The Post Office specifically state in their travel insurance policies, that they will not insure you for ‘Expenses incurred as a result of a tropical disease when you have not had the recommended inoculations and/or taken the recommended medication.’

Some travel insurance brokers will not cover you if you visit certain destinations. Direct Travel for example, will not cover anyone visiting Afghanistan, Cuba, Liberia or Syria or anywhere that the FCO advises on all but essential travel on their website. The FCO website is updated regularly so it is vital to check the country advice page for your destination before you travel.

One of the most common forms of injury and death in travellers abroad is motorbike/scooter accidents. Ideally we advise to not even contemplate hiring one whilst abroad. However, if you do, make sure that your travel insurance will cover it. Many insurance companies will view scooter hire as a hazardous activity and you may need to inform them that you intend to do this before you travel.

Alcohol consumption can contribute to a large number of injuries abroad, especially in young people. Many standard travel insurance policies will not cover injuries sustained whilst under the influence of recreational drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is vital that you monitor your alcohol consumption, do not take recreational drugs and take extra care whilst abroad.

Remember, if you find yourself in a situation where you are sick or have been injured abroad, hospital bills can be extortionate so travel insurance is essential. Your travel insurance may refuse to cover your medical costs if you have not sought adequate prevention methods and pre-warned the insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions. Whilst the cheapest policies may seem appealing, many have high excesses and do not cover optional activities such as scuba diving, skiing and most other sports. Always read your policy terms and conditions thoroughly and amend your cover where necessary prior to travel.
NB: London Travel Clinic does not have an alliance with these particular insurers and have linked to them for illustrative purposes only

References:
http://www.direct-travel.co.uk/
http://www.postoffice.co.uk/dam/pdf/long-trip-and-explorer-travel-insurance-policy.pdf
contract of insurance, 1: Q. Medical emergency and associated expenses, hospital benefit and personal accident.

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