Thursday, 14 April 2011

Holiday insurance

The reason you haven’t had a blog from me for a while is because I’ve just come back from ten glorious if slightly tacky days in the Olu Deniz area of Turkey. I won’t bore you with too many details (I’ll leave that till the next blog) but it is a resort area on the south coast famous for its lagoon, with still warm waters and shallow pebble beaches helping make this trip very, very relaxing. The only thing slightly nagging at the back of my mind was the travel insurance.

I’m spending a few days in Italy in October so decided on a multi-trip cover for the year. I looked at moneysavingexpert.com as I always do for such matters to see who is the cheapest with the best cover. I was concerned to make sure I had swine flu cover, which many policies exempt (be sure to check). I was also concerned about the diabetes and what this means in terms of exemptions. I picked a company called OUL Direct and applied online. I kept wanting to tell them about my diabetes but there was no place to mention it. So I studied the legal mumbo jumbo and this bit in particular:

“Pre-existing medical conditions:
This policy will not pay for any claims arising from pre-existing medical conditions or if you or anybody insured by this policy are awaiting or undergoing treatment or you or anybody insured by this policy are undergoing or awaiting any medical investigations or consultation with a specialist or awaiting diagnosis or tests results or treatment.”

Fair enough, I thought, it won’t cover any problems relating to the diabetes but will cover anything else. I’m the fittest and healthiest I’ve probably ever been, since the ‘betes’ scared me straight. My bloods are in great shape, sticking around about the 5.4 to 6.8 mark and my recent eye test was fine (apart from one small question which I’m still waiting to see a specialist over but certainly isn’t an immediate concern). So I wasn’t in danger of going hyper or hypo, my circulation is fine and I can feel everything in my feet, my blood pressure is normal and so is my cholesterol. So what else could there be? I signed the policy and went ahead with packing.

However, my Mum being ever so more wise than I, wasn’t happy. She suggested I should tell them directly about the diabetes because there was no space to do so online. So I sent them an email explaining that I had diabetes and did this affect the standard policy I was on? They wrote back to me within 48 hours and sent me the following:

“Dear Andrew,

This email validates your OULDirect.com policy recently purchased through our web site.

Please read through the following policy information carefully to make sure all details are in order and the benefits provided meet your needs and requirements.

This policy will not pay for any claims arising from pre-existing medical conditions or if You (meaning anybody insured by this policy) or anyone on whom the holiday plans depend are awaiting or undergoing treatment or You or anyone on whom the holiday plans depend are undergoing or awaiting any medical investigations or consultation with a specialist or awaiting diagnosis or tests results or treatment.

Should you require any further advice regarding the policy wording please telephone OULDirect.com at email help@ouldirect.com to ensure you are covered.”

The only problem was that I got this whilst I was in Turkey and I hadn’t checked my email for a while, and truthfully it’s only whilst writing this that I noticed the first line. ‘This email validates your policy’.

So I was on holiday without cover and they gave me a phone number as an email address, thanks OUL! I have to say I’m very glad I didn’t read it properly because I might not have gone through with the paragliding, which involves running off a 3000ft high mountain before gliding down for over half an hour, the wind rushing through your hair accompanied by the exhilaration of floating effortlessly in the clear blue sky. I took the pictures that accompany this blog.

I don’t know where I am at with my insurance. I want to phone them but I can’t. I got lucky this time but I didn’t realise the complications that diabetes can bring, not just medically, which I am beginning to deal with, but legally. It’s just one more thing to worry about, one more complication in an otherwise generally more complicated life.

But I will deal with it. I’ll send them another email after finishing this blog and I’ll let you all know and hopefully be able to provide you with some helpful advice. On the flip side, if you have some advice to offer and have been through this process, please leave a comment below.

I miss the sun but I’m glad to be back blogging.

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