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Travel insurance for pre-existing conditions can cover you on your next trip

Travel insurance can help your holiday run as smoothly as possible – if something goes wrong. But if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll need to ensure your policy provides cover while you’re abroad.

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Last updated
October 25th, 2023

What is travel insurance with medical conditions?

You must declare any medical conditions you have when applying for a travel insurance policy. But, as not all insurers cover certain medical conditions and those that do will charge you more for cover, it might be tempting to ‘forget’ about an ailment. The problem with this approach is if you don’t declare a condition you’ve been tested for it diagnosed with your policy could be invalid. Given travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement, this would mean you’ve wasted any money paid for the policy.

The good news is some travel insurers will still cover you for pre-existing conditions, however, you might not have as much choice as others. This cover might cost a few pounds more, because there’s an increased chance of you needing treatment during your holiday. But it would be money well spent if you did fall ill far from home.

Not all insurers will cover certain medical conditions."

What medical conditions do I have to declare?

Insurers insist you tell them about conditions like:

  • Cancer

  • Heart conditions; including angina

  • Diabetes

  • Stomach and intestinal problems; like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease

  • Psychological issues; like depression or anxiety

  • Breathing problems; like asthma or emphysema

  • Arthritis

However, you should mention any medical conditions you have, even if you do not think they are serious.

How to declare conditions to get travel insurance

You need to complete a medical screening questionnaire, either online or over the phone. You’ll be asked questions like:

What medication do you take for your condition?

If you take regular prescribed medication, pack enough to last the entirety of your trip, plus a few days to allow for any delays. Discuss your travel plans with your GP so that they can advise on any possible arrangements you might need to make.

Have you been admitted into hospital for your condition?

If you've previously been admitted for your condition, make sure you carry your medical history with you. Also, pack details of your last hospital visit, details such as medication prescribed and your next of kin information.

Are you, or have you ever been, a smoker?

Smoking is a lifestyle choice that will be considered as a risk to your health. As such, smokers typically pay more for cover compared to non-smokers.

What travel insurance with medical conditions cover is available?

Once you have completed the medical questionnaire the insurer will offer you:

  • Cover, with no additional cost

  • Cover for your condition, with an extra charge

  • Cover that does not include claims relating to your condition

  • No cover at all

What you’re offered will depend on how serious your conditions are, which conditions your insurer will cover, where you’re travelling to and for how long.

If you’re not offered cover for your condition try another insurer. There will be companies that can cover your condition so it is important to shop around and get as many quotes as possible.

How to find the best cover with medical conditions

Look for insurance that can cover your conditions for the best price, but make sure the whole policy suits your needs.

This guide explains what a travel insurance policy should protect you against, as well as what levels of cover you should look out for.

For the cheapest possible cover, try these 8 ways to cut your travel insurance costs.

What happens if I can’t get cover?

You can still get a quote through if you have a pre-existing condition, including cancer or severe heart or respiratory complaints. People who have had strokes or are terminally ill can also get a quote.

Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a severe medical disorder or a number of conditions, and others may only offer insurance at a much higher price. 

If you’re unable to find suitable cover, contact MoneyHelper.  It has a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions. 

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association should also be able to help.

People who have had strokes or are terminally ill can also get a quote."


What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition can be any illness or injury you’ve had treatment for or been diagnosed with. Some insurers only count conditions you’ve had in the last few years, so check each policy you’re considering.

Can I get travel insurance if I have diabetes?

Yes, but you will need to declare your condition when you apply, and it may cost more.

Do I have to declare my medical conditions?

Yes. If you don’t declare them, your cover could be invalid and any medical claims will be rejected.

Do I legally need to have travel insurance?

No, but you should never travel without it because medical treatment abroad can cost tens of thousands of pounds or more.

How can I get cheaper travel insurance?

The best way to get the cheapest deal is to shop around for quotes. You can also try these 8 ways to cut your travel insurance costs.

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About the author

Lucinda O'Brien
Lucinda O'Brien has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles. She applies her industry knowledge to ensure readers can make confident financial decisions.

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