If you have experienced a heart attack and your doctor has given you the all-clear to travel, then there is little that should stand between you and a rejuvenating holiday. Of course, you may still have a number of questions relating to your condition – for example, whether any destinations or climates may be unsuitable, or which types of activity are safe to do. A good range of information is available on the British Heart Foundation website, which provides a number of FAQs on topics including travel.
It’s important also to understand the things you can do to promote good heart-health. We recently featured a study that suggests four out of five heart attacks in men could be prevented. The conclusion? Simple changes in your life, such as taking regular exercise and maintaining a good diet, can apparently make a world of difference.
Do you have to let your insurance company know if you have had a heart attack?
Absolutely! You will need to get specialist travel insurance for people who have had a heart attack. This means you will need to declare any medical conditions you may have, including the heart attack you experienced, regardless of how well you have recovered, or how strong you are feeling now. Failure to declare any and all pre-existing medical conditions with your insurer could invalidate any claim you may have to make, which would probably leave you facing very expensive medical bills.
Having declared your condition, the travel insurer may then need to ask you a number of questions relating to your health and lifestyle, before they offer you a quote. These could be questions such as: “Have you ever had a heart bypass, an angioplasty or a coronary stent?”
Your answers to these questions will be used to calculate a score, with higher scores indicating greater risk and therefore a higher premium. Certain insurers might refuse to offer cover at all.
How much does holiday insurance costs if you have had heart attack?
This varies widely between different people, depending on personal circumstances. However, insurers anticipate that the likelihood of a claim being made by someone who already suffers from a medical issue is much higher than for a healthy person, and so tend to charge more. Even if the medical condition in question is something from relatively long ago, and you have been living a healthy and active lifestyle for a good period of time since – it is almost certain you will face higher costs than you would had the condition never been present.
Why are insurance companies worried about providing travel insurance for heart attack victims?
Emergency medical treatment and repatriation (returning people to their home country, usually by flying) are two of the most significant costs that travel insurers face. The costs associated with both vary significantly, depending on the country you are in (or taken to) for treatment. For this reason it is always advisable to tell your insurer exactly where you are going. If you only declare general, non-specific information such as “Europe”, your insurer will assume the highest potential cost within that region. Some regions are particularly expensive – not least the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. Holidays on Cruise Ships are also seen as having a very high potential cost, because their on-board medical teams are not usually equipped to deal with more serious health problems, and so may have to airlift people to the nearest hospital.