How to get travel insurance with pre-existing conditions

Fact Checked

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.

Share this guide
Older couple on beach

Getting travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition can be trickier, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what you need to know.

Can you get cover with a pre-existing condition?

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:

  • Cancer

  • Heart conditions

  • Diabetes

  • Psychological issues, like depression or anxiety

  • Breathing problems (like asthma or emphysema)

  • Arthritis

  • 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. 

Is pregnancy classed as a pre-existing condition?

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. 

What can you claim for?

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

How to get cover if you have medical issues

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.

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 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.

What if I don’t declare all my conditions?

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. 

What happens after you have bought your policy?

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.

How much will it cost to cover your condition?

This will depend on several factors, including:

  • The medical conditions you have

  • Your age

  • 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.

Be careful, though, because this means you won’t 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 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.

Compare travel insurance with medical conditions.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get a quote through These conditions could include cancer, stroke, serious heart, respiratory and terminal conditions.
Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have a number of conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price. If you're unable to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has also set up a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions.
You can contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) or you can telephone 0800 138 7777.

Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.

About Matt Fernell

View Matt Fernell's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.