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Why it’s vital to declare mental health conditions on your travel insurance

Mental health conditions are extremely common. In fact, if you haven’t experienced a condition such as depression or anxiety yourself, chances are you know someone who has – approximately 25 per cent of the UK population will deal with a mental health problem each year, according to the charity Mind.

The pace and pressure of life today can make experiencing a mental health condition more likely, but as awareness of this fact is increasing, so too are the chances that people with these conditions will feel able to talk about them. Generally speaking, we are now more open about mental health than ever before, although unfortunately, this isn’t the case within all age groups.

New research published by the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal has found that only 10 per cent of those aged 55 to 64 tell their travel insurance providers about any mental health conditions they may have, compared with 17 per cent of those under 55 years of age. For older travellers, the stats are even more concerning; the report shows that only five per cent of 65 to 74-year olds and only two per cent of those aged 75 or over declare their mental health issues.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 22 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women aged 65 and over are living with depression, so there seems to be a disconnect between the two sets of figures. There are undoubtedly far more older people with mental health conditions than are declaring them on their travel insurance, which is leaving many at risk of travelling uninsured.

Here’s why it’s so important to let your travel insurance provider know about any mental health conditions you may have.

Declaring mental health conditions needn’t be a challenge

For lots of different reasons, many of us may find it more difficult to talk about our mental wellbeing than other aspects of our health. Perhaps because there are no obvious physical symptoms associated with conditions like depression and anxiety, some may choose not to talk about them, preferring to keep them from others or to deny that they’re finding things hard.

It might be that traditionally-held values of stoicism and ‘stiff-upper-lip’ make you feel that you’d rather stay silent about your mental health, but talking about it can be extremely therapeutic. When it comes to travel insurance, it’s essential that you let your provider know if you have any mental health conditions and how they affect you.

The importance of declaring mental health conditions

While the hope is that travel will be a relaxing and restorative experience, in reality, holidays can come with their fair share of trials and tribulations, not least when it comes to actually getting to your destination. In other cases, the run-up to a departure date can make the symptoms of a mental health condition worse. Sadly, there are no rules to how and when a mental health condition can affect you, which is why insuring them for travel is so important.

Sometimes, it’s all too easy for a trip away to exacerbate mental health problems like depression or anxiety but, without travel insurance that covers these conditions, you could be left out of pocket if you had to cancel your trip or receive care while overseas.

As we’ve highlighted before, overseas medical care can be very expensive, including emergency or non-emergency treatment for mental health conditions. If you were to need care for an undeclared mental health issue while abroad, you wouldn’t have the reassurance of travel insurance to fall back on, even if you had a policy that covered you for another type of medical condition. Travel insurance providers need to know about all the medical conditions you have, physical and mental, in order to cover you for them.

Seek medical travel insurance for mental health conditions

As specialists, we insure people of any age who may have pre-existing medical conditions, we at Free Spirit are well-placed to cover your mental health, too. While some standard travel insurance providers may refuse to cover you for mental health conditions, we are proud to be different, doing all we can to offer travel cover that suits your unique health requirements.

So, no matter your age, be sure to let us know if you have a mental condition you need to be covered for your next holiday – we’re ready and waiting to offer the insurance you need. Simply contact us to find out more about our medical travel insurance for mental health conditions, or apply for a quote online.

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