The UK financial regulator is planning new rules to help holidaymakers with pre-existing medical conditions to buy suitable travel insurance.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation on its plans, which include a new rule requiring travel insurance firms to flag up other providers which may be able to cover a traveller with a pre-existing medical condition (PEMC).

Christopher Woolard, strategy and competition executive director at the FCA, said: “We want to reduce the numbers of consumers who are currently faced with a choice of not travelling or travelling without insurance, and running the risk of incurring significant costs, including medical bills abroad.

“The changes proposed today will be an important step in helping people to navigate the market more easily and also in reducing the number of customers who are over-paying significantly for travel insurance.”

The FCA estimates there are more than 14 million consumers with a PEMC that look to purchase travel insurance each year.

About 0.7% were declined cover, and 11% purchased a policy with an exclusion for their PEMC.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at consumer organisation Which?, said: “Our research has shown that those with pre-existing medical conditions routinely face inflated premiums and confusing clauses, with some only able to find policies that exclude all claims related to their condition in the mainstream market.

“Any new rules must ensure that all those with pre-existing conditions receive clear information on how to easily find policies that cover their needs at the best price available, to ensure people no longer feel forced to cancel trips or travel without insurance.”

The FCA is consulting on the draft rules until September 15.

MoreMillions at risk by not taking out travel insurance, Abta warns

Comment: Affordable insurance is an age-old issue