People who are coping with depression should never feel like they are ‘alone’. Because depression is actually very common, with an estimated 5% - 10% percent of the population affected by some form of the condition at any one time (while some reports suggest the figure may be even higher than this).
If you’re planning to get away for a while, it’s highly recommended that you take out suitable travel insurance. And when you do, be aware that you have a responsibility to declare your depression to the travel insurance company: failure to do so could invalidate any claims you later have to make (see more information on this below).
Depression and Travel Insurance
Unfortunately, there are many companies out there who will not provide travel insurance for people with depression. And there are others who will provide insurance, but at an excessive cost.
We think the situation can and needs to be improved, which is why we formed our Travel Insurance for People with Depression group. The remainder of this article explores why the situation exists today and how insurers approach the issue, as well as offering some useful advice to help you get the most out of the holiday itself and the travel insurance you need.
Travelling with Depression
Holidays cannot provide a magical cure for depression, but the effects of a good break can often be very beneficial. There is some useful information on holidays and depression provided by Disabled Travel Advice, while organisations such as Mind and Rethink can offer good general help and support.
When applying for travel insurance, do I need to declare my depression?
Yes, this is important. Travel Insurers recognise depression as a mental illness: it must therefore be declared as a ‘pre-existing medical condition’, and failure to so could invalidate any claim you may later have to make. It would seem many people are not aware of this – internet forums are filled with angry stories by those who have had claims turned down, because they did not declare their depression when applying for the travel insurance.
See this article for more information on the importance of declaring medical conditions.
Why does travel insurance with cover for depression cost more?
The reason is simple, though not necessarily fair: insurers anticipate that the likelihood of a claim being made by someone who suffers from depression is much higher than for a healthy person. And the more likely they believe you are to make a claim, the higher the cost of the insurance.
Insurers are typically concerned about claims for cancelled holidays or for medical treatment whilst abroad.
What questions will the insurance company ask me?
Once you have declared your depression, your insurer will probably need to ask you some questions, to find out more about your condition. These might include:
• Have you ever had a compulsory admission to hospital for treatment of depression?
• Have you currently been advised to take any medication for this illness?
• Have you been referred to or treated by a psychiatrist for depression?
• Has depression ever caused you to cancel or cut short a planned trip?
While some of these questions may seem quite ‘personal’, try not to see them as invasive – they are simply a necessary part of the process that insurance companies must undertake, before they can offer travel insurance to cover your condition.
Will my choice of holiday destination affect the price of insurance?
It’s always a good idea 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. (When it comes to medication and treatment, the costs vary significantly between different European countries).
Also, be aware that some regions outside Europe 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 the more serious health problems, and so may have to airlift people to the nearest hospital.