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Can I buy cost overrun insurance?

The myths

  • You can buy UK insurance to cover trips for overseas treatment.
  • You cannot buy this anywhere.
  • Cost guarantees are always insured.
  • Cost overrun and medical negligence cover are the same thing.

The reality

  • There is no known specific cover in the UK for those planning to go overseas for treatment.
  • A handful of overseas agencies offer this cover with insurers not based in the UK.
  • Many so called insurances and guarantees are not actually insurance, but the equivalent of a lifetime guarantee when you buy a garden spade
  • Cost overrun cover protects the patient; traditional medical negligence policies protect the hospital against being sued by the patient.

The detail

Many agencies offering cost overrun cover are very reluctant to say who the insurer is, to provide details of what is covered or offer specimen policies. If they were UK based, they would be in breach of a whole range of financial regulations if they failed to advise who the insurer is, what the policy covers, offer a policy document to inspect on demand, offer product details and their connection to the 'insurer; on demand.

If based overseas, they are subject to EU, or local, or no restrictions at all. Simply stated, they do not have to tell you anything.

Few readily explain who the insurer is. The good ones provide details of cover, cost, exclusions and who the insurance company is.

Never ever buy insurance from someone who is not prepared to tell you who the insurer is, or makes unverifiable allegations of ' a reputable insurance company ' or ' insure at Lloyds’' A clue to problems is when they call it Lloyds or wrongly claim it is an insurance company.

Many overseas insurers are reputable, but if you have to claim, you may be dealing with people with a limited grasp of English.

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Why treatment abroad could be right for you

- Costs/NHS funding
- Choosing a clinic or surgeon
- What if something goes wrong?

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