If you have a medical problem, you may find it harder and more expensive to get travel insurance. Here is how to get cover even if you have a pre-existing condition.
Getting travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition can be trickier, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what you need to know.
The simple answer is yes. However, it is important to note that not every insurer will cover you, and those that do will charge you more. This is because having a pre-existing medical condition means you are statistically more likely to make a 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.
Pregnancy is not usually classed as a pre-existing medical condition by insurers, providing you haven’t had any prior complications. However, many policies only provide cover up to around 37 weeks - this limit is usually lower if you’re having twins or triplets.
If you take out a travel insurance policy that covers pre-existing conditions, 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
To find cover that includes pre-existing medical conditions, take the following steps:
Shop around for 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 other essentials such as holiday cancellation and your personal possessions. This guide explains what a good travel insurance policy should cover.
When you get a travel insurance quote, you will be asked a series of questions about your condition, this is known as a '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 will be based on the severity of your condition, which conditions your insurer is willing to cover and where you are travelling to.
If you don’t declare your pre-existing medical conditions, you are likely to invalidate your cover. This means that if you need to claim on your travel insurance policy when you’re away, your insurer is likely to reject your claim.
If you fall ill after buying your travel insurance policy, you must declare the condition to your insurer straight away if it is not a condition you have already covered.
This will depend on several factors, including:
The medical 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.
If it costs too much to cover your medical conditions, you may be able to exclude them from your policy.
Be careful, though, because this means you won’t be covered for claims resulting from that condition.
You should get as many quotes as you can to compare the cost of covering your medical conditions while abroad.
Even if you have a serious terminal illness, there are policies available for you. Compare travel insurance companies that cover medical conditions here.