All other insurers require someone who is HIV+ to declare it as a pre-existing medical condition. This involves answering a number of questions about your CD4 count, viral load level, sometimes also lifestyle questions. This information then forms part of your travel insurance documentation from them and therefore indicates your HIV status to anyone who reads the document. This risks including people you might rather not know you are HIV+, for example, some friends, family and port of entry officials when entering other countries, some of which have negative reactions to someone who is HIV+.
Unlike other insurers, we don't require you to declare that you are HIV+. The policy has been specially designed by the Director, Kevin Waite, in collaboration with the underwriter, to take into account that you're HIV+ and, by default, automatically covers HIV-related claims. Kevin Waite has worked for over 30 years in the HIV sector. He joined London Lighthouse in 1987 as a volunteer and went on to work there full-time and found its Welfare Service.
Instead of making you declare your HIV and asking you questions about it, we have what we call a Health Warranty. This asks questions about other aspects of your medical situation, for example, about whether you have other medical conditions that you need to have covered and whether you are waiting for the results of any tests or investigations. The questions can be seen in our policy wording.
Depending on your answers to these questions, you might need to contact our medical screening service, who will let you know whether we can extend our usual cover to include claims related to what you have declared to them. Sometimes, it's necessary to speak with a qualified nurse. Using their years of experience, this provides a more tailored and sometimes more flexible assessment of your medical circumstances.
If you meet the Health Warranty, you can proceed to book your policy with us without any further medical screening.
If you have needed to speak with the medical screening service, when it comes to buying another policy, you will need to answer the questions in the Health Warranty again. We have to obtain accurate and up to date information about your medical circumstances, or we could get into trouble from our regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority. Even if your situation hasn't changed since the last time you spoke with our medical screening service, if our system asks you to contact them, it's important to do so, otherwise your cover could be invalid, which could have serious implications if you need to make a claim.