Saturday, 15 December 2012

Travel Insurance for those with Dementia


Last year I got involved with a workshop at a conference, where we talked about travel insurance, and I was amazed at other people’s reactions, to the fact that we always admitted that I had Early Onset Lewy Body dementia when looking for a policy. Its seems that some people never admit to having this illness when planning a holiday abroad as the are penalised with high insurance premiums.

There are many companies who claim to specialise in travel insurance for people with pre existing medical conditions, until you start to look into this. All seems to go well until you mention the word dementia, and then there is a dreadful silence. Usually followed by the words, sorry but I will have to ask my supervisor about this.

I know of many people with medical conditions who like to travel and have a nice holiday, yet like me they are becoming members of the vast chain of people who are victimised by the travel insurance industry, because they have some form of illness. We are damned if we don’t say that we have an illness when applying for travel insurance, and damned if we do claim it when asked.

Many like myself have early onset dementia, and yet like everyone else we are within our rights to enjoy our lives as much as possible, and if that includes having a holiday so be it. Like it or not it is everyone’s right to have a holiday if they can afford it.

It is my own personal view that if company say’s that they will insure someone with dementia, cancer or any other long term illness; they should really mean what they say.

Of cause many companies will insure us for a vastly over rated fee, which in many cases costs more than the cost of the holiday, and we tend to get to the position where you really don’t want to go anywhere and that is very sad. I have been charged £30 for a weekend in North Ireland and £110 for 7 days in Malta simply because of my illness.

All seems to go well until the word dementia is mentioned and then the questions get harder or sometimes sillier.   Many companies simply do not under stand or know what the illness is, and those that have heard think that there is only one form of this illness and that is senile dementia.

I have Lewy Body dementia, which differs from other forms of the illness, but there again each dementia is different, and each person struggles in different ways, yet we are all lumped together, and treated with a total lack of dignity and respect. Some firms simply can not spell the word dementia, or they say they have never heard of it.

When my wife has tried to explain what Lewy Body Dementia is, she is treated as if I am a Martian, but I have to ask why this happens, in this day and age.

I don’t think anyone with dementia would travel long distances on their own, they may in the very early stages, but not after that, as we could become confused and get lost.

Most people who have the early stages of this illness and those who care for them, are safety conscious and cut down the risks, but sadly these insurance companies can not see this. It’s not as if we are going to die suddenly with this illness, and if we are travelling with a spouse I see no reason for hiked up prices. If we were so ill we would not be going anywhere.

So why do so many companies claim that they will insure us when it is obviously untrue.

We have trawled the Internet looking at companies who claim they will cover me, then the premium goes higher and higher, or they say sorry but we simply can not insure you.

I have come to the conclusion that many companies claim that they will insure us, because it’s a quick way to make money at someone else’s expense. This is a way of making money, which knowing full well that those of us who are honest will pay up front, to ensure that we are covered.

Yet there is now a growing band of people around the world, who will not confess to having this illness because they feel as if they are being victimised or stigmatised by travel insurance companies.

I have seen many people while I have been on holiday, and I am sure that a lot of these are travelling without the proper insure, simply because they can not afford it.

I now think that it is time that companies specialising in holidays for the elderly etc, look at this and come up with a travel insurance that is relevant and cost effective.

One year a very high profile company did insure for a year to travel around Europe, and then when it came to renew the policy, the price had more than doubled. When my wife asked why this had happened she was told that it was all down to the computer and not their fault?

While some companies claim to insure people like myself, they do so at a vastly high premium rate, and do so because they simply do not understand that many people are cash strapped, to start with without needing to pay vast sums of money in travel insurance.

So please look into this and do something positive to help those, who have enough problems medically without the stress of trying to find cost effective insurance.

Lets be very honest we are not likely to get involved with dangerous sports or activities, so please remember we are just as entitled to travel as anyone else, so if your company sells insurance for those with medical conditions, makes sure it is what it says it is, and really covers us for travel insurance.

 

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