Can you get cover with a pre-existing condition?
Yes, but not every insurer will cover you and those that do will charge you more because you are more likely to claim. Compare policies that could cover you here.
You will only be covered for your condition if you declare it when you apply for your insurance policy. Most insurers insist that you declare certain health issues, including:
Psychological issues; like depression or anxiety
Breathing problems (like asthma or emphysema)
Stomach and bowel problems; like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease
You will also need to declare if you have been treated by, or referred to, a hospital doctor or surgeon within the last 12 months for any reason.
If you do not tell your insurer about your medical conditions it could invalidate your policy and you will not be covered at all.
A pre-existing medical condition can be any illness, disease or injury you have had treatment for or been diagnosed with.
When you get a travel insurance quote, the insurer usually asks whether you have had any of these issues within a certain time, such as 2 years.
You may not need to declare your conditions if they occurred outside of the set time frame.
What can you claim for?
You will be covered for any claims that result directly or indirectly from the conditions you have declared. For example, you will be covered if:
You suffer from breathing problems and get a chest infection that requires medical attention abroad.
You suffer from high blood pressure and you have a heart attack or stroke on holiday.
If you do not declare your conditions they will not be covered.
How to get cover if you have medical issues
This is what you need to do to find cover that includes pre-existing medical conditions:
Find a policy; compare travel insurance with medical conditions here
Get a quote online and declare any pre-existing medical conditions
Complete any medical screening questions about your conditions
Find out if you can have cover that includes your condition, or if you have to pay extra
Make sure the policy you find also provides the cover you need for things like cancellation and personal possessions. This guide explains what a travel insurance policy should cover.
How do you declare your conditions?
When you get a travel insurance quote you will be asked a series of questions about your condition, this is known as 'medical screening'.
Some insurers will provide an online form for you to complete, or they may ask you to call them to discuss your condition in more depth.
For example, if you suffer from angina, you may be asked to confirm:
If you have had surgery
If you have ever been a smoker
If you have ever had a heart attack
Details of any prescribed medication, even if you do not use them
You must answer all of these questions as honestly and accurately as possible. Any incorrect information you give could result in your claim being rejected.
Once you have confirmed the details of your condition the insurer will either:
Offer a standard policy with no increase in cost
Offer cover with an additional cost to cover your condition(s)
Offer a standard policy excluding any cover for your condition
Add extra terms to your policy; for example, a higher excess when you claim
Refuse to insure you at all
The decision you get is based on the severity of your condition, which conditions your insurer is willing to cover and where you are travelling to.
What happens after you have bought your policy?
If you fall ill after buying your insurance you must declare it to your insurer straight away if it is not a condition you have already covered.
Find out more about adding medical conditions to an existing travel insurance policy here.
How much will it cost to cover your condition?
This will depend on several factors including:
What conditions you have
How long your trip will be
Where you are travelling to
If you are travelling to a country with expensive medical care, like the United States, insurers could charge you more or even refuse to cover you altogether.
You can find out more about the healthcare of the country you are visiting on the GOV.UK Foreign Travel Advice page.
What if it costs too much?
If it costs too much to cover your medical conditions you may be able to exclude them from your policy.
Beware: you will not be covered for claims resulting from that condition.
How to find cover at the best price
You should get as many quotes as you can to compare the cost of covering your conditions while abroad.
Even if you have a serious terminal illness there are polices available for you. Compare travel insurance companies that cover medical conditions here.