Living with a Mechanical Heart Valve: Click.Tick.Thump. Love It!

Support Group for Mechanical & Artificial Heart Valve Surgery & Using Warfarin

I wanted to poll the forum for a bit of advice....

 

I currently have an annual travel insurance policy with Direct Line and they were OK to cover me for everything medical with the exception of my specific underlying aortic heart valve regurgitation and aneurysm.

 

I had the valve replaced in October as well as a graft to replace the aneurysm in the aorta but because it is a MHV I am on Warfarin which I know that some insurance companies don't cater for very well.

 

I need to renew the policy in the next month or so and was wondering if anyone had any experiences of good UK based "Anticoagulation Friendly" insurance companies for annual multi-trip cover. I will contact Direct Line to see what their policy is on Warfarin medicated travellers but wanted to see what else was out there and whether anyone had any good experiences.

Thanks

John

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This is a problem - I shopped around, but the options are limited, as I wanted my heart to be covered when I was travelling.

I ended up getting a NatWest Black Card, which costs £250 per year, but this includes family annual travel insurance, including pre-existing conditions.  All you need is a letter from your GP saying that you are fit to travel, before you do.

There are various other benefits, so it is actually quite good value - I am sure there are other options out there!!!

There are other companies listed on the British Heart Foundation website, but I found that NatWest was the best options for me.

 

Good luck

 

James

Thanks James - I will check around. My guess is that technically I can tick the NO box on medical conditions as now that my valve and aneurysm have been replaced I don't have a medical condition other than being on Warfarin.

My GP did suggest a specialist company called free-spirit.com that cover people with pre existing medical conditions - will check them out

I suspect ticking the "No" option is not really an option, as you are taking medication.  I have to admit, I think I am a lower risk, as I KNOW what my blood pressure is, my heart HAS been fixed.  And there are lots of people out there with very high blood pressure, damaged hearts who are travelling and claiming there is nothing wrong.  I have admit before finding NatWest I looked at a number of the so called specialist companies, and they all seem to use the same online screening system, and they were not very competitive (I had one quote of £800 for 7 days in the USA).  I could however get insurance at an affordable level from Barclays - as instead of online screening, you talk to a human!

All,

 

I have used / been using Manor Insurance for the last 5 years or so...they run a screening program and it was no big deal. As long as you tell the truth about your condition and the last time you saw a specialist they are ok. I have never had to put them to the test however.. and their is LOTS of wriggle room with any Insurance coy with their specialist lawyers.. so it's a bit of  punt whichever way you go. My doctor also agrees I DONT have a 'medical condition' and has signed various bits of paper to that effect. My medical condition is FIXED  - warfarin is not a medical condition as far as he is concerned it is a drug - full stop.  I would be interested how this goes as I have to renew my yearly travel insurance again shortly... it is/was about £155 for a year for myself and my wife.  

 

cheers

 

Graeme

 

 

Thanks James and Graeme - all useful information. It doesn't seem there is a straight answer as insurance companies can always try and wriggle off the hook if/when you try and claim.

 

I did speak to my existing insurance company (Direct Line) to remove the aortic aneurysm as a medical condition on my current annual travel policy (which expires in January) and the underwriters said they could not change the declined medical conditions until renewal time and then they would re-screen me based on my current medical situation.  I am obviously not worried about a problem with my aneurysm in the meantime as I don't have it any more but the wording in the policy about not being covered for "anything indirectly related" is a bit of a get out clause for them.

 

I did speak to their claims department to see if I could get a straight answer out of them of what does indirectly really mean and they couldn't really clarify, i.e. they would use the medical report at the time of the claim to assess if it was indirectly related to any pre-declared condition or not.  So other than the aneurysm that I don't have I am not really sure now what I would be covered for in the event of a claim.

 

I am sure this is the same with most insurance companies unless they specifically cover medical conditions and charge you a premium for that.

 

will keep the forum posted of any additional info I get.

Update:

I have just had my annual travel insurance renewal quote through from Direct Line - it was £125.56 for Worldwide Travel (including the USA) for my wife and I but excludes anything to do with the heart or circulatory system.  They accept that the aneurysm is resolved so is no longer a condition but the underwriters insist that having had heart surgery/mechanical heart valve increases their risk and therefore is either excluded (including the whole circulatory system) or can be included with an increase in premium.  So with Direct Line to be fully covered with no exclusions the cost increases to £314.59 - so more than double.

Based on Graeme's posting I did ring Manor Insurance brokers but because I have been an in-patient within the last 3 months they suggested I call back after the 11th January (when my 3 months are up) and they can provide a competitive quote - off the record they believed they could easily improve on the Direct Line increased premium.  Manor are insurance brokers so he was suggesting Tokio Marine (not a typo) as the underwriters who look very favourably on young(ish) people with medical conditions.

I will post an update when I get one.....

Good one John. Keep us posted!

 

cheers

 

Graeme

I also rang up a couple of companies that specialised in insurance for people with pre existing medical conditions to see what they charged. I got these off the British Heart Foundation site.

Freedom Insurance - refused to quote for annual travel insurance based on the medical information as it was outside their parameters.

Insurance Choice - Annual Travel Insurance with Worldwide Cover (inc USA) - £347 - so more expensive than Direct Line...

Its seems they consider having had heart surgery - even though this fully corrects the problem - is a major risk factor for travel insurance claims.

Will add another post when I get the quote from Manor Insurance underwritten by Tokio Marine.

I had an aortic dissection and aortic valve replacement last year and whilst shopping around for insurance quotes for myself and my husband ( who has had bypass surgery 2 years ago) I was quoted nearly £1000 for 2 weeks in America!!! We have always had an annual policy but I felt sure it would not cover pre existing conditions, so I was delighted to learn that as it was a group policy through the police service they covered all conditions and they weren't even interested in my condition which was great news and at £4 per month for both of us I certainly can't complain.

Regards

Elaine 

Final post from me on the insurance topic. Didn't manage to get anything a good values as Elaine but here is what I settled for in the end.

I went through Manor Insurance brokers and they got me a annual travel policy for my wife and I for worldwide excluding USA, Canada and Carribean. Covering all my previous medical conditions (MHV, Aorta root graft, recurring spontaneous pneumothorax) and with premier cover (e.g. £10m medical cover, £5000 cancellation cover, £1500 personal belongings, etc) - came in at £231.82. That was underwritten by Broker Direct rather than Tokio Marine which was the front runner before but they refused to cover me. The next best I got was Direct Line at £295 but that excluded the Americas not just
North Amercia and Carribean.

It does seems the length of time after surgery seems to make a difference as well. As I am only just over 3 months that does seem to push the premiums up.

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