A guide to getting travel insurance with a medical condition

Advice on finding the right cover for you.

Wondering if you can still get travel insurance with a medical condition, such as cancer or heart disease? The answer is yes. But you may need to get specialist insurance, as not all standard policies cover existing conditions. 

If you’re concerned about getting travel insurance for pre-existing conditions, read on to find out what you need to know. 

Can I still get travel insurance with a medical condition?

Yes, you can get travel insurance even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. You’ll just need to share as much information as you can about your condition when you take out your policy.

When you look for any kind of travel insurance deal, it’s perfectly normal that you’ll be asked about your current health. Insurers use this information to work out how likely it is that you’ll need to make a claim. 

If you have a particular condition, it might mean you’re more likely to need to see a doctor while you’re travelling. Or it could mean that your medical bills are likely to be higher. Travel insurers need to know this information so that they can properly prepare for these costs.

That’s why not all insurance companies will offer travel insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Instead, you’ll likely have to use an insurer that specialises in this type of cover. 

But this shouldn’t put you off getting insured. If you travel without cover and you do need treatment when you’re away, you’ll likely need to pay for any costs yourself. These expenses could be cripplingly expensive so it’s best to have the right protection.

What health conditions do I have to declare for travel insurance?

When you take out a travel insurance policy, it’s important that you tell insurers about any pre-existing conditions you may have, or any medication that you’re taking. 

You will also need to let your insurer know if you have had or are waiting for an operation, or if you’re expecting results from recent tests.

Here are some examples of conditions that will affect your insurance: 

  • Respiratory illnesses, including asthma
  • Heart conditions and cardiovascular diseases, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Chronic illnesses, such as cancer or Crohn’s disease
  • Mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression
  • Diabetes, either type 1 or 2 
  • Joint and bone conditions, including arthritis
  • Terminal conditions

This is not an exhaustive list of conditions or circumstances you might need to declare. The sort of information you need to provide will differ from insurer to insurer. 

But if in doubt, let your insurer know. If you do need treatment when you’re away and you didn’t declare a health problem, it can make your policy invalid.

What pre-existing conditions don’t need to be declared? 

Something that you don’t necessarily need to tell your insurer about is if you’re pregnant. 

Most insurance policies will include cover for pregnancies as standard. And you won’t need to use a specialist insurer if you’re expecting. (This can change if you’re experiencing any pregnancy-related conditions or if your pregnancy is considered high-risk. In these instances, be sure to chat to your insurer.)

It’s also worth bearing in mind that many travel insurance policies will only cover you up to 37 weeks of pregnancy. If you’re beyond that, let your insurance provider know.

The same goes for contraceptive treatment. If you’re taking the pill, for example, your insurer won’t need to know. 

Read more: What to know about travel insurance when pregnant 

Does taking statins affect travel insurance?

If you’re taking statins for controlling cholesterol levels, let your insurer know before you take out a policy. Even though they’re a very common medication, they can still affect how likely you are to make a claim. 

Your best bet is to declare any medication you’re on, apart from contraceptive treatment. If you don’t, you can risk invalidating your insurance. 

How to get travel insurance with a medical condition

It’s pretty straightforward to get travel insurance even if you do have a medical condition. Just remember to be as honest as possible about your health.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Get a quote

Get in touch with an insurance provider, or a broker like Howden, and provide them with all the information you can about:

  • Your trip. Where are you going, how long are you staying, and what will you do when you’re there?
  • What you want to be covered for. For instance, do you want to be covered for travel cancellations, as well as lost luggage and health expenses?
  • Your health. Do you have any of the conditions mentioned above? Similarly, are you waiting for an operation or tests, or have you recently visited the doctor? 

Based on the information you’ve provided, an insurer will tell you whether they have a policy that’s right for you and how much you can expect to pay. 

While all these questions may seem intrusive, it’s important that you answer them honestly and completely. If you do come to make a claim, your insurer will have access to your medical records, so they’ll see if any of the information you’ve provided isn’t accurate. 

2. Shop around

It helps to compare deals from a range of insurers. Premiums can differ between deals and insurers, but so can the details of your cover. 

For instance, some deals might have a higher excess, meaning the cost you will have to pay for any insurance claim. 

Speaking to a travel insurance broker is the best way to access the deals that are right for you. Brokers connect you directly with specialist insurers to help you get the best price. 

3. Apply 

Once you have found a specific travel insurance, you’ll need to purchase that deal. At this point, you should confirm the health details that you’ve provided. 

This may involve filling out a health questionnaire about your condition, symptoms, and medication. Depending on your condition, sometimes, insurers may ask to speak directly to your GP.

4. Wait for approval

In most cases, insurers will approve your application for travel insurance. But depending on your circumstances, they can offer you a different kind of deal, or a deal with conditions attached. 

For example, they may do any of the following:

  • Offer you a standard deal, despite your condition
  • Offer you a more expensive deal, or one with a higher excess
  • Insure you for any problems that arise while you’re away, but not for your existing health condition
  • Refuse to insure you at all 

This last option is unlikely, but it can happen. And it’s important to know what to do if it does. 

What should I do if I can’t get travel insurance?

While in the majority of cases it’s pretty straightforward to get travel insurance for medical conditions, some people may struggle to find cover. This is most likely in cases where you’re currently waiting for a diagnosis or an operation. 

If you’re currently unable to find cover, there are some things you can do that could help: 

  • Speak to a broker, if you haven’t already. Insurance brokers like Howden can make it much easier for you to find specialist cover. They’re experts in the insurance market and can connect you with insurers that can offer the right deals for you.
  • Change your travel plans. No one wants to hear they can’t go on their dream trip. But you may get a better deal if you stay closer to home. Plus, it might help to look for a single-trip policy, rather than a multi-trip policy.
  • Contact a charity associated with your medical condition. In some cases, they may have advice or an arrangement with a specialist insurer. 

If you’re just looking for a cheaper deal, there are some other things you can do to help.

For instance, you could consider annual cover. If you’re going away more than once a year, annual cover can often work out cheaper. 

Alternatively, you could agree to pay a higher excess. That means if you do need to make a claim, you’ll contribute more to the cost. But your premium will be cheaper. 

To sum up: Getting travel insurance with a medical condition

You can get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. However, you might need to talk to a specialist insurer, and your premium will likely be a little higher. 

If you’re looking for a cheaper deal, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare deals. An insurance broker like Howden can take some of this effort off your shoulders. 

We’ll look at your individual circumstances and find the best insurer and deal for you. Get started here.

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