People with long term illnesses are paying up to four times as much for insurance if they use price comparison websites, regulators have warned.
In a paper published yesterday the Financial Conduct Authority warned that up to 15 million people currently living with at least one long-term health condition may be struggling to find the best deals.
In one case a woman with cancer travelling to Dubai found the best deal she could find on comparison sites cost £2,800. She was considering travelling without cover until a friend recommended a specialist who offered cover at £800.
Long-term medical conditions can have a large impact on people’s finances and the way consumers are viewed by insurers in terms of risk.
Some 3 million consumers with particular characteristics, such as a disability or long-term illness, may find themselves classified as “non-standard risk” for the purposes of insurance.
The number of consumers who may find themselves in such categories is potentially large, including for example the 3 million people with disabilities who have been turned down or charged extra for insurance and the 2.5 million people living with or after cancer.
But as the algorithms used by many popular comparison sites to sell people insurance deals do not cover “non standard risk” policies, they are not included in searches.
A spokesman at the Association of British Insurers, which represents insurance firms, said: “Travel insurance is widely available for people who have long-term and serious health conditions, including people who have cancer. For customers that are struggling to find cover, we would advise approaching a specialist provider, who should be able to offer insurance based on their particular circumstances, including what type of illness they have.
“Insurers are always striving to find new ways to develop products that are affordable and accessible; regardless of circumstances. Travel insurers support and help thousands of travellers and their families should the worst happen, paying nearly 9 in 10 claims in 2016. We look forward to engaging with the FCA on this issue going forward.”